Award-winning Facebook page acts as ‘Med Student Survival Guide’
Social media campaign takes top honors in 2013 PR News awards
By Veronica Short and Steve Cisowski Posted on 3 May 2013
As a Senior Marketing Manager,Veronica Shortmanages the Customer Marketing group responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies for eBooks, medical education, first editions and residents.
Steve Cisowski (@SteveCizzle) Social Media Marketing Manager, manages the Global Clinical Reference group’s social media platforms and supports the Marketing Team in the planning and execution of its social media marketing efforts.
The Elsevier Health Sciences Customer Marketing Team was recognized recently for their medical student Facebook page —Med Student Survival Guide— winning the 2013 Social Media Icon Award for Facebook Marketing Campaign (Budget Over 10K category) at thePR News Social Media Icon Awardsin New York. The competition spotlights the best B2B and B2C advertising and marketing campaigns in the United States.
In their article, Senior Marketing Manager Veronica Short and Social Media Marketing Manager Steve Cisowski take you behind the scenes of the campaign. [divider]
As a marketing team, we’re always looking for ways to get the word out about our products and services while meeting the needs of the people who would benefit from them. In this case, it was medical students.
We created the Med Student Survival Guide to facilitate brand interaction, maintain brand loyalty and create a supportive social environment that correlates Elsevier’s educational content with milestones in the medical student lifecycle. By researching the medical student market extensively, we’ve been able to identify the major pain points throughout the medical education experience. The Facebook page allows us to suggest resources and study tools for students when they need Elsevier the most. We hope it can function as comprehensive, daily guide to “survival” with “tools” students can use to succeed the tumultuous and challenging cycles of medical school.
By helping students get to know Elsevier and its collection of medical and clinical reference books, we hope to build a relationship that will continue as students continue their medical education and eventually become doctors. [pullquote align="right"]First- and second-year students are looking for more than just a discount coupon for a textbook, but for insight into what to expect and how to survive.[/pullquote]
The idea for a social media campaign trumped the alternatives of direct marketing and “one-way communication” because it would enable Elsevier’s team to respond more fully to customers’ needs. “Understanding the needs of the customer determines not only what to say when, but how to deliver that message and ultimately connect — and stay engaged — with the customer,” said Marketing Director Kevin Lawrence. “First- and second-year students are looking for more than just a discount coupon for a textbook, but for insight into what to expect and how to survive.”
How it works
[note color="#f1f9fc" position="right" width=400 margin=10]
- Total fans: 61,046
- Total reach (unique users): 39,934,004
- Total friends of fans (potential reach): 29,459,428
- Total impressions: 186,630,147
*YTD since page launch in February 2012*[/note] Because each year of medical school brings a different set of obstacles and goals, students’ concerns and priorities change each year of their medical education. Therefore, the Med Student Survival Guide has four separate resource pages:
- 1st Year: Sink or Swim
- 2nd Year: USMLE Boot Camp
- 3rd Year: Rock Your Rotations
- 4th Year: Meet Your Match.
Each resource page recommends textbooks that help students achieve that year’s most pressing milestone. For example, the 2nd-year (M2) page provides an online discount for titles like the “Rapid Review” series to help students pass the mandatory US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE Step 1), while the 3rd-year (M3) page offers discounts on titles in the “Secrets” series to help get through their rotations as stress-free as possible.
Connecting in person
The social media campaign has been reinforced by various in-person activities. In March 2012, two members of our team (Associate Brand ManagerCourtney D’Avellaand Veronica Short) attended the annualMedical Student Association of America (AMSA)conference in Houston, Texas. The team, with the help of the marketing and brand identification firm2e Creative, had developed an engaging and informative booth experience called “Passport to Your Future” that walked students through products as they relate to the stage of their student life cycle. Students played an iPad game that incorporated Elsevier content as it applies to each year of medical school.
- Year one — keeping your cool. In this speed memory game, the screen flashes one of three images from Gray’s Anatomy or Netter Anatomy for only 15 seconds. The student is then quizzed about the illustration that they just saw with a series of five multiple choice questions. The resolution screen commends them on a job well (or not well) done and makes recommendations of two or three specific Elsevier products that can help them through year one and into year two. Those who completed the game were registered for the year one prize: two free eBooks.
- Year two – ‘Don’t sweat it.” This round featureded a Pop MD.Trivia Game — a lighthearted game with questions related to pop-culture MDs (TV shows, music, etc) that are easy and fun to get through — the opposite of the UMSLE (US Medical Licensing Examination)! At the end of the game students are taken to a screen that makes recommendations for Elsevier products and points them to the “March Madness” USMLEConsult test for real preparation. Those who completed the game were registered for the year two prize: two free eBooks.
- Year three – under pressure. This game challenges the student to use their “right and left brain” to solve problems involving images and analysis. The resolution screen commends them on a job well (or not well) done and makes recommendations of two or three specific Elsevier products that can help them through year three and into year four. Those who completed the game were registered for the year three prize: two free eBooks.
- Year four – imagine. As each student arrived at the Elsevier booth, they were given a “Passport to Your Future” brochure, which included an empty space for a photo along with promotional information and a unique 5-digit code. The students were asked “What type of doctor will you be?” and then posed for a passport photo that was given to a caricaturist, who sketched each student as their “future self” onto a digital canvas. The digital sketches were later uploaded to the new Med Student Survival Guide Facebook page. Students were encouraged to go to www.facebook.com/SurviveMedSchool to receive their caricature.
Of the 500 medical students in attendance, we met with over 200 students, 162 students visited our Facebook page, and some students even tagged themselves or made the caricature their profile picture.
Once students completed their registration for Year 4 — which included email, name, and unique code — they were entered into the grand prize pool. The grand prize: 10 free eBooks.
For this part of the campaign, Elsevier Health Sciences Customer Marketing Team and 2e Creative were recognized at the 2012 Targeted Advertising and Marketing (TAM) Awards, a competition that spotlights the best business-to-business advertising and marketing campaigns in the St. Louis region. The Health Sciences 2012 AMSA “Passport to Your Future” iPad App won for Mobile Applications, and the tradeshow promotion won for Trade Show Promotions and Attractions.
An interactive calendarAll the Med Student Survival Guide’s daily posts were managed by Social Media Marketing Manager Steve Cisowski and organized by a daily content calendar prepared one month in advance. To ensure a balance in the type of posts, the calendar was structured to address different kinds of valuable information in line with five weekday themes. (See Exhibit I)
- Manic Monday: This day acknowledges that because Mondays are the hardest days of the week for medical students, the Med Student Survival Guide posts a link to an exclusive online sale visible for Facebook fans, featuring 20%-25% off discounts on titles pertaining to each of the four years of US medical schools.
- Trivia Tuesday: On a weekly basis, the Med Student Survival Guide tests the knowledge of its fans by posting trivia questions directly from the review sections of new Elsevier textbooks.
- Wisdom Wednesday: On this day, the Med Student Survival Guide posts links to articles, both from Elsevier and external media sources, that provide helpful information to students.
- Feedback Thursday: The Med Student Survival Guide takes this day as an opportunity to hear directly from its fans by asking med students open-ended questions and seeing what’s on their minds.
- Fun Friday: For a dose of humor and excitement, posts on this day usually include funny, visual, and viral content that is meant to lift the spirits of fans and provide a healthy dose of laughter.[/note]