Children’s National Medical Center wins Best Google+ site

Find out how the hospital connects to nearly 270,000 Google+ followers and delivers engaging content.

Children’s National Medical Center jumped on Google+ the first day that brand pages were allowed.

And since Nov. 7, 2011, it has gained a large following, built its presence, and dominated the Google+ scene. The site has reached nearly 270,000 followers. Because of all the effort and strategic thinking the hospital has put into Google+, we award them top honors in the Best Google+ Site category in PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).

Creating a Google+ site has been beneficial for the hospital.

“The growth has expanded our visibility among health leaders, parents, prospective donors, and other opinion leaders; has improved our search rankings (especially Google’s personalized searches); and has increased visits to our website,” says Mark Miller, associate vice president for communications at Children’s National Medical Center.

To get started on Google+, Miller created his own personal account in July 2011. According to the application submission, “he used hangouts, organized circles, and created an extensive network of health and nonprofit professionals, including searching for hospital employees (who represented more than 50 of his earliest circle members).”

The hospital’s social media team met weekly to discuss Google+ and what it could do for the hospital. By the time brand pages were available, the team was ready to launch. The team already had prepared content for the first day—in fact, Miller posted eight times on the first day. These posts included “photos, video, useful health information, and compelling patient stories—and those early posts have set the tone for the page ever since,” according to the entry.

The team doesn’t have a strict deadline for posting on Google+. Instead, the team posts content whenever an item seems like a good fit.

“That means we post only our most relevant and compelling content—and the content that is most likely to resonate with our Google+ audience (which we view as different from our Facebook and Twitter audiences),” Miller says. “We also use Google+ for content that our readers can’t find anywhere else. An example of this was our ‘When I Go Home’ video, which we premiered as a Google+ exclusive several weeks before posting it to our website or other social channels.”

The Google+ page has been promoted to employees, on Facebook and Twitter, and in the hospital’s newsletters and website.

“To distinguish our page from others, we also upgraded our home page to feature four large rotating photos,” Miller says. “This was done in conjunction with a strategic redesign of our Facebook and Twitter pages. We continue to test the responses to our content to ensure that we are providing the right content to the right audiences.”

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