Like any Facebook user, the Mayo Clinic’s page allows the not-for-profit organization to post information about itself, link to its three websites (for patients, consumers, and research and education), display “wall post” messages and photos, offer video and audio podcasts, provide updates on news and events, and connect with friends. Beyond that, Aase says, “what we really hope to have it be is all about people telling their own stories—describing what their experience was like here and connecting in that way.”
The opportunity for patients to directly tell their stories online is an important word-of-mouth component for Mayo Clinic. “Social networking sites like Facebook are one means by which people stay in touch and share experiences,” says Ed Keller, CEO of the word-of-mouth research and consulting firm Keller Fay Group. “Allowing people to express themselves—telling their stories in their own voice to their friends, family, and other members of their social network—is proving to be a powerful way for brands and organizations to join the consumer conversation and to help improve their own brand position as a result.” Consumer self-expression brings authenticity and impact, Keller adds. “If consumers are happy with their experience with the Mayo Clinic, and they tell others, it will undoubtedly help Mayo to grow its reputation and market presence.”
That’s certainly Aase’s hope. “When [patients] are telling their stories, their friends will see that and may be likely to check [us] out,” he says. “That’s like the word of mouth that happens over the back fence.”
Update: The Rochester Post-Bulletin picked up this blog alert and published a story today.