How to Make People Care About Your Non-Sexy Products

Are you stuck trying to get people to care about your useful—but unsexy—product or system? So was Medtronic Canada, which makes medical devices (like pacemakers) and develops integrated health solutions—neither of which provide the easy glamour of eco-friendly yoga pants. And due to the nature of those pacemakers, their product demographic is older—not typically the Instagram crowd.

Angelica Litsiou, a Communications and PR Specialist at Medtronic Canada, entered the company as the team was analyzing its social media strategy and goals. Like you, the company needed to identify its niche, find a community, and then engage in a meaningful way. Here’s her advice on social media-ifying brands that don’t, on the surface, lend itself to hashtags and memes.

How do you make people care about a medical device company?

By giving our content a human element. Instead of talking about our products directly, we show Medtronic aligning to alleviate pain or to help people live their lives.

We did a patient story video about a mom who survived having a stroke. One of our Medtronic devices helped her live through the stroke and get back to her daily life. The video got a lot of play through cardiovascular companies at presentations, but it also was impactful with our patient audience because it had that human spirit going through it.

Related: Tips for getting started with your own business video

The most important part of all this is to understand your brand. What does it even mean to have a brand? A brand is a promise to your client. A brand is following through with what you say you’re going to do.

Any tips for businesses just starting on social?

Think of social media as different types of parties: Facebook is a big dinner party with friends and family, LinkedIn is a corporate networking event, Twitter is like the newsroom after hours, Youtube is a teacher’s meeting, and Instagram is all the flashy events of Fashion Week. What kind of party are your customers or clients most likely to attend?

Adobe Spark Note: Your brand needs a presence across social media to aid in search engine optimization and create consistency, but you may not invest in each equally. Prioritize where your audience is and tailor your content accordingly.

How can newcomers build an engaged audience?

First we identified our goal: To be the catalyst and leader in healthcare in Canada.
Then, we identified our desired community: Patients, physicians, and healthcare thought leaders.
Next, we considered the best way to engage this community: For us, it’s Twitter, Youtube, and live video events.

We can act as and interact with thought leaders on Twitter. Our patient demographic can connect with the human element stories on Youtube and we can also get our message out to physicians and thought leaders there. And the live video events allow us into the new digital realm of engagement.

We’re still working on how to reach out to people who matter and we’re still getting to the point where we can track our success online. It’s a process.

Are you breaking into other platforms?

We’re starting a company-wide LinkedIn for Medtronic Canada. We’ll use the platform as a way to connect with key customers and key physicians. If they’re already with us on Twitter we’ll adopt them into LinkedIn. This is an ongoing project I’m working on.

What’s your role with Medtronic?

Medtronic joined Twitter and Youtube just over three years ago. I started at Medtronic two years ago, having come from running my own video production business. Now I help develop a lot of content. Publishing content in the corporate environment takes understanding the internal communities and processes, it’s so different then putting up content as a freelancer.

My specialty is video editing and producing. We might take a full day of footage at a hospital, and from that I need to create a 3 minute video that conveys our message in an engaging way. Another big part of my work is content management and categorization so things don’t get lost in the shuffle. It takes a lot of time management and prioritization.

Related: Is video important to your business objectives? Here’s how to do it armed with just a iPhone.

How can people juggle multiple projects?

Make a lot of lists and use a whiteboard calendar. Every day I start with a new to-do list. I say, “Okay, we have to publish and approve these items by this month,” so I then breakdown how long each item will take to produce and time block work segments into the calendar.

Throughout the day, I’m constantly reassessing what that day’s priorities are. Because I’m in a corporate structure, I consider where I fit into the grand scheme and how I can keep my part driving forward. Recently we needed animation in one of our videos and I had to schedule time into each day to learn those new skills. It takes time management and flexibility.

What do you rank as success on social?

We’re starting to develop tools to track our success rates. In the long run though it depends on the campaign. Is it a case study we want people to download or an advertisement where they link through to a product? Is there a call to action people are following from video or tweet?

Related: How to create successful Facebook ads

What’s your focus for social media this year?

Getting our LinkedIn launched, and optimizing our Youtube channel to become more of a full-based healthcare campaign—one that positions us as a healthcare leader.