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Smashing Social Media Strategy at UAB Medicine

From what I’ve seen in the past, medical facilities aren’t known for their social media prowess. In fact healthcare organizations are lagging behind when it comes to adaptation of social media content.

So when you come across a facility such as UAB Medicine (Birmingham, Alabama) that has not only fully embraced social media, but is actually a stellar example of social media done right, it’s time to take a closer look and investigate how they have become so successful!

UAB Community page

UAB invites visitors to join their social media communities


The fact that they also have a social media commenting policy (below the fold) in which the rules of engagement are clearly stated is awesome because it supports, protects and enhances high-quality engagement.

UAB Website

Generally speaking, website content should do two things – engage visitors and/or convert them into customers! I love that the question, ‘What would you like to do today?’ is the first thing you see above the fold on their home page.

This does a couple of things: It pulls the visitor into the website encouraging them to answer the question (and thereby digging deeper into the website), and it keeps things relevant because a visitor will proceed to the exact page that he or she is searching for and that means little chance of bouncing around from page to page.

[Caution: UAB should be careful to ensure that there are no broken links on their site as this could easily undermine their credibility with Internet savvy patients].

UAB Blog

UAB Medicine has a blog called ‘Your Fight Cancer Blog‘ which resides in a different domain from the main site. We’ve seen that having a blog residing within the organization’s website is good for SEO since search engines tend to favor web pages that are frequently updated.

However UAB has a very dynamic blog that contains interesting articles, videos, recipes for cancer patients and other compelling content. The blog is updated about twice a week, receives occassional comments, and  is integrated to their social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and Google+). The articles on the blog are extremely valuable and usually end with a strong call to action that should steer readers back to the original website.

UAB Facebook

UAB has an engaged community of over 5,500 Facebook fans. A quick look at their Wall shows that they post mostly educational content, some pictures, and stories about how they’ve been able to help patients at their hospital.

Most of their content is ‘Liked’ but lively discussions happen when they post something about the UAB Women and Infants Services. It’s not a surprise that this topic generates more engagement since Facebook is known to be a mostly female environment.

UAB Twitter

On Twitter where they have over 2,200 followers UAB is focused on educational content, webinars and video. Their Twitter page doesn’t show a lot of engagement with followers but it does indicate that they update their page often with useful information that is being re-tweeted by their followers.

UAB YouTube

UAB’s YouTube channel is perhaps their most impressive social network as far as engagement and appeal. They have 248 subscribers and some of their videos have been viewed thousands of times! The video quality is stunning, the stories are compelling and subscribers are responding with positive comments and discussions.

Well done UAB!

UAB’s social media content is really a breath of fresh air. They appear to have a solid social media content strategy that demonstrates thought leadership, relevance, clarity, and engagement particularly in their YouTube and Blog channels. Their Twitter and Facebook networks could benefit from more conversational discussions and there shouldn’t be broken links on their website at any time. It might be helpful if UAB performed a content analysis of their site from time to time especially since they update their content regularly.

Over to you: What do you think of UAB’s social media strategy based on this brief evaluation? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.


  1. I just made the flip over into healthcare and adoption of social is so varied, it’s wild. In a clinical capacity, I worked for health systems some 6 years ago that were on board with social…in a marketing capacity, I’ve worked for systems 6 years later that are still terrified of it.

    Feeling pretty lucky to work where I do now. Everyone seems to “get it”…good group of smart folks.

    Anything you can do to keep highlighting successful use of social in healthcare will go a long way in showing folks the light. Good stuff, as always.

    • Thanks for your input Dave.

      You’re certainly in a good place where everyone ‘gets it’. But as you point out, it’s a struggle within the industry and part of what I’m trying to do here is to show that it need not be. I hope that you and I can collaborate in doing some cool stuff together for the benefit of both content marketing and healthcare organizations.

      Always great to hear from you Dave!

  2. Excellent article Patricia! We are working with some medical practices and find that the adoption of best marketing practices is rather woeful, which presents us with some good opportunities as marketers. It’s always great to look to the thought leaders in any industry and learn from them for all that they are doing well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely Namita. And especially in healthcare where social media adoption rates have been so very low, it’s pretty cool to see folks like UAB blazing the trail and experimenting (very successfully I might add) with new platforms. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

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