Mayo Clinic’s social media chief on creating nimble content & choosing social media outlets

A health system like Mayo Clinic has plenty of advanced equipment to put together high-quality videos for its website and social media outlets. But interestingly, it doesn’t use that equipment for as many as two-thirds of the videos it posts to its YouTube account.

“If we were to produce everything like that, we wouldn’t be able to produce everything we needed to produce,” said Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic’s head of social media, in a one-on-one discussion at Content Market World Health Summit. “What you need to do is drive down the cost of producing video so that it’s OK to have a video that only gets 500 views, because they’re the right 500 views.”

For many of those videos of physicians, researchers and patients, the Mayo Clinic uses the now-dead Flip Cam. It’s a quick way to turn patients’ stories and physicians’ opinions and expertise into valuable content without having to spend much extra time. “It’s the type of nimble content creation that we couldn’t do if we had to have a $25,000 camera and another person to go do it,” Aase said.


Of course that’s not all Mayo does in the way of digital media. It also has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, runs three distinct websites and maintains several blogs. But more social media isn’t always better, Aase noted. “It’s about how you mix and match these tools to accomplish what you need to do,” he said.

So how does Mayo decide which social media outlets to join and how to use those outlets? “One of the key things we’re trying to decide is, is there a critical mass of users there already?” he said.

In some of the newer outlets, Mayo has proceeded quickly in claiming its name, but slower in devoting significant time and resource to that outlet before it demonstrates real sticking power. “We saw with Pinterest an awful lot of our content was already being pinned so we figured…we should be in there helping to manage how we’re appearing,” he said. “When you see a platform that’s starting to get some traction, we really should be there to at least claim our space so that others won’t hijack our brand.”

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