Event Marketing Social Media

A Road Trip to Social Media Success

TrustHCS transformed how they used social media at conferences and went from blending in with other vendors to being the talk of the event. Their program was so successful, attendees and competitors alike are waiting to see what the company comes up with next.

A year ago, the team at TrustHCS, a company that provides staffing and advisory services to help advance the financial reliability, integrity and performance of healthcare clients, was just like most other vendors in their use of social media at conferences. When they went to a conference, they would set up their booth, pose in front of it, snap a photo and then use that photo in their social posts to invite attendees to stop by. The posts were bland and undifferentiated.

Then Dalton Patterson, Marketing Program and Communication Specialist at TrustHCS (and a member of the Healthcare and IT Marketing Community – HITMC), read the article 5 Tips for Vendor Social Media at HIMSS19 and had a flash of inspiration. Instead the same old “come-to-our-booth” posts, he came up with the idea to use social media to document a road-trip to their biggest event of the year – the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) annual conference.

Convincing Senior Management

Patterson pitched his idea to Greg Goodale, Executive Director of Marketing for TrustHCS, who was immediately supportive. To bring the idea to life, however, the two of them would need to convince senior management. What they came up with was brilliant.

Together, Patterson and Goodale, put together a collage of the company’s photos and social posts from prior conferences. By doing this, they made it painfully obvious how undifferentiated those posts really were.

With this collage assembled, Patterson and Goodale, presented to Sales as well as senior management and asked a simple question: “If you didn’t know TrustHCS would these posts and photos entice you to visit the booth?” The answer, of course, was no.

The collage also helped management realize two other things:

  1. All their photos were the same – square to the camera, booth in full view
  2. There was never any activity or action in their photos

Armed with this collage and their passion, the team of Patterson and Goodale successfully convinced TrustHCS to try something different. On March 26, 2019 they boldly told the world they were going in a new social media direction.

AHIMA Roadtrip

With management on board, Patterson and Goodale began implementing their  genius plan – a road trip from the TrustHCS office in Springfield, MO to the site of the annual AHIMA conference in Chicago, IL – documented on social media.

Ahead of their trip, they used Twitter to crowdsource their road trip playlist and the snacks they would eat along their 500-mile journey.

On September 13th, 2019, Patterson Goodale set out on their 500-mile journey. They used the conference hashtag #AHIMA19 as well as their own #RoadToAHIMA hashtag to share their progress with attendees.

Although their tweets did not generate a lot of interaction online, their #RoadToAHIMA adventure generated a lot of onsite buzz. Dozens of people would stop Patterson, Goodale and other members of the TrustHCS team in the hallways and congratulate them on their successful road trip. Attendees that passed by their booth in the exhibit hall would stop and say “Oh, you’re the company that did the road trip to get here”.

“The road trip was a smashing success,” said Patterson. “We got a lot of views and it drove a high degree of brand recognition, more than we had ever gotten from social media before. It was fun to have people recognize us as the road trip crew.”

Their use of social media at AHIMA set the bar for fellow exhibitors. “Everyone is looking forward to what we have planned for this year,” continued Patterson. “It’s kind of exciting to have people excited to follow our next social campaign.”

Sales Team Now On Board

The success of the road trip proved to the entire TrustHCS team that being creative and having fun on social media can pay off. The TrustHCS Sales Team, which has previously been a bit hesitant to be “edgy” on social media got on board. Salespeople at TrustHCS have begun taking fun pictures from inside the convention center and in the surrounding city. Gone are the posed “prom-like” photos.

Kudos to Patterson, Goodale and the TrustHCS team for embracing social media. Not only are they having fun with it, they are helping to drive greater awareness for the company. We can’t wait to see what they have planned for #AHIMA20

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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