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Examining Revolution Health’s Social Media Communications Strategy
This week marked the official launch of Revolution Health, the brainchild of Steve Case, co-founder of AOL.  To date, Case’s company has received significant coverage in the mainstream media, with the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and other publications focusing on the company and Revolution’s plans to streamline how people seek and consume healthcare information.

What’s been most interesting to me from a communications perspective is how Revolution has integrated social media into its marketing efforts.  For example, when I contacted the company and asked for permission to share details about its preview Website with my readers, they readily complied with my request. In addition, as this post from a “Mommy blogger” indicates, its willingness to engage people in the healthcare blogosphere and beyond has continued.  

Clearly, as an Internet company it makes sense that Revolution is heavily focused on reaching out to social media.  However, I also think that the company is fully embracing the “Engage and Encourage” communications strategy to achieve the following objectives:

-Grow Its User Base: Because Revolution Health is relying on healthcare consumers to provide its users with relevant content, it is very important that it quickly build a community of people who are willing to try out and share information about its services.  One of the fastest ways to do this is to reach out to the “one percenters” – those individuals who are creating and consuming the bulk of online content.  These folks will populate its bulletin boards, blogs and other online forums and breathe life into Revolution’s community.  

-Tap Into A Cheap Source Of Market Research:  Like any online company, Revolution Health is going to face problems as it ramps up its services.  Some people will be unable to find the information they need, while others may be dissatisfied with its new telephone consulting services.  If they vent about it on Revolution’s online forums or blogs, the company can respond to their needs and quickly correct the problem.  In addition, because Revolution is clearly monitoring the blogosphere for commentary about the company, they can also (appropriately) engage people talking about it online.  

-Build Good Will:  Based on my informal audit of blogosphere chatter about Revolution Health over the past few days, the company has generated a lot of good will online.  Most recently, Case participated in a conference call with Mommy bloggers to talk about his company.  This was a good move.  First, as Case noted recently on his blog, moms are the “Chief Medical Officers” for their families.  Second, this group of bloggers is very influential.  One conference call helped to generate excitement for Revolution Health among a group of important influencers and guaranteed that people searching online for information about the company would be likely to find content developed by these bloggers.

Revolution Health is not the only health-focused online company to recognize the benefits of the Engage and Encourage communications strategy.  Vimo, Sermo, OrganizedWisdom, Trusted.MD and other Internet start ups are actively engaging social media and sparking dialogue via their own blogs, podcasts and other “Web 2.0” technologies.  Anyone looking for case studies focusing on how social media communications can be integrated into a traditional marketing strategy should study the efforts of these companies.  

2 Comments/Trackbacks

It is very educational and interesting.
Thanks for sharing it.

Like you, I have been impressed by the responsiveness of the Revolution Health team to respond to the social media chatter by posting comments on blogs. I received a number of comments from the Revolution Health team after I wrote a post focused on my initial tour of the Revolution Health. Also, in a follow up post on Steve Case's Blog I received a comment by Mr. Case himself. Check out the comments and discussion on this post, Steve's Blog at Revolution Health and Wisdom of Crowd.

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