Following are tips from AAHPM staff and members for using social networks:
• It’s not enough to have a social network page. You have to get the word out that you have one.
• Don’t talk in the abstract; demonstrate value. Do something not overly risky, see how it works, then take the
information to your board.
• Take the time to educate and train your members.
• Don’t use social media solely for marketing.
• Be realistic. One way of communicating won’t suit everyone.
• Be thick-skinned. Not every post or comment will be glowing.
• Commit resources to the timely, thoughtful maintenance of your accounts/sites.
• If done well, social networks are not about your organization, but about promoting conversation and
participation. That said, always provide a link back to your group.
our members be effective,” says Furhman, who “tweets,” the
act of sending a Twitter message, at least daily for AAHPM,
follows up to 10 blogs at a time, and monitors the number
of individuals viewing academy feeds. “I just wish there were
more hours in the day. The potential to provide all this infor-
mation is endless. But in as few as a couple of hours of my
day, I’m confident I have shared beneficial information with
Creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account merely is
hanging up a blank canvas. What comes next — and whether
it keeps coming — sends a message about your association,
says Sheri Jacobs, president of Avenue M Group, a strategic
marketing firm catering to associations.
“One thing that impresses me about the academy that
others could learn from is that their social media strategy is
about making the story bigger than themselves. That’s differ-
ent from just tweeting about your own conference — they are
getting members engaged with really relevant information and
gaining momentum,” Jacobs says. “They are ahead of the
Although concerns about image and medical privacy have
kept some associations from exploring social media. Jacobs
has seen a drop in “we-don’t-want-to-go-there” attitudes
about social media, but also some attempts at involvement
that do more harm than good.
“Look at the date of an association’s last posting. If it’s
older than five days — or months old — that sends a clear
message,” she says. “People won’t bother coming back.”
Laura Davis, AAHPM director of marketing and member-
ship, remembers initial thoughts about opening up the acad-
emy to scrutiny. “You always are concerned when you’re not
controlling the message. But you have to remember, if some-
one tweets that there’s cold coffee at your conference, that
information will be passed around one way or another,” she
says. “You are going to hear more and you are going to have
the chance to do more.”
Last year, the AAHPM had the chance to do much more.
An Important Test
On April 1, 2009, someone somewhere placed a dose of
high-concentration morphine on his or her tongue, a legal
and immediate measure for relieving the staggering pain that
accompanies end-stage cancer, heart failure or emphysema.