What Hulk Hogan and Wrestling Can Teach #HCSM

I admit that I’ve been a long time fan of professional wrestling…you know…the one with Hulk Hogan, cage matches, and steel chairs. As silly as it may sound initially, I’ve actually learned a good deal of general life lessons from the crazy world of wrestling and think that some of these lessons can also apply to those who want to get into the equally crazy world of #HCSM (health care/social media).

Creativity Is Key

Hulk Hogan

The main thing that draws fans into watching professional wrestling is seeing all of the crazy, creative looks and personalities of the wrestlers themselves.  Even if you’re not into or knowledgeable about wrestling at all, the one household name that everyone in the world at least knows about is with the most popular wrestler of all time…Hulk Hogan (shown above). The man, who rose to mega-popularity in the 80s with the dubbed nationwide push dubbed “Hulkamania”, was known mostly for his trademark red & yellow wrestling gear, giant blond mustache, infamous battles against foes such as “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Andre The Giant all while waving an American flag and his flurry of sayings for young kids such as “Better say your prayers and eat your vitamins”.

To some, it may have (and still is) the corniest thing in the world to see, but no one, wrestling fan or not, could deny that the guy was kind of hard to not pay attention, especially with his unique, creative style. So hospitals and health systems who want to make an impact in the world of #HCSM need to be just like Hulk Hogan…recognizable….pretty unique…and just plain cool with their social media efforts. Hospitals should try to think “big” and really create projects that are really different than everyone else’s and possibly haven’t been done before in the #HCSM world. Before Hogan, no wrestler was truly as “larger than life” than him and that’s the kind of aspiration that places should have with letting the public know about their social media outreach.

Don’t Be Too Gimmicky

“Duke the Dumpster”

For every “Hulk Hogan” in pro wrestling, there is sadly five other wrestlers who are really, and bluntly put, pretty darn lame. A lot of wrestlers in the past wanted to naturally get noticed by fans, so they thought of some of most crazy (not in a good way) gimmicks to take on. Some of these very short-lived wrestler gigs included: “Duke the Dumpster”…a guy who dressed up as a garbage man and used a metal can as his primary weapon of choice; “Mr. I.R.S.”…a dude who wore a very smarmy business shirt, tie and pants, threatened people with tax audits, and had a trademark move called “The Write-Off”; and the infamous “Doink The Clown” whose gimmick was simply…you guessed it…dressing up as a clown. While these wrestlers did enjoy their wrestling-related “15 minutes of fame”, people were very quick to forget about them and laugh years later if they happen to remember anything about their not-so-great gimmicks.

Hospitals and health systems need to avoid becoming the next “Doink The Clown” with their #HCSM efforts by not succumbing to any of the perceived social media gimmicks that exist out there. Sometimes if a hospital (or a general brand/company for that matter) finds success doing one particular thing on their social media channels and sees that they’re receiving some good attention with it, they naturally want to duplicate the same exact formula to try and get the same exact results. But if a hospital had some great success, let’s say, doing a group “flash mob” video (you know…the “surprise” dances that big groups had done in public) with their workers for YouTube, and wanted to focus on doing JUST more “flash mob” videos instead of doing anything else on social media, then they would be the equivalent of “Duke The Dumpster”…fun at first to look at….then gets pretty boring, predictable, and unintentionally funny after awhile. Don’t be like “Duke”.

Stay True To Yourself

John Cena

And if one lesson holds truer than any others here is with the look of the most popular wrestler currently with John Cena.  Cena is easily the most known wrestler out there today and the main reason why a lot of fans flock to see this 10-time World Champion is simply because the man stays true to himself in and out of the ring. By that, I mean that the man doesn’t come out to any crazy gimmicks…John Cena is the guy’s real name…he dresses the way that he does in real-life and in the wrestling ring with a t-shirt, baseball cap and shorts…and he just says what’s on his mind…nothing more, nothing less.

When Cena first started, he actually did try to have a said gimmick. His was of an “Eminem-type rapper”, who wore baggy pants, backwards caps, and attempted to down his opponents with “battle raps” before matches. While that went over initially well at the time, the crowd eventually got tired of hearing him do this and Cena realized that he had to change up his style. So once he stopped being like “Doink The Clown” (i.e. gimmicky) and decided to just be himself, he ended up being just as popular as a modern-day “Hulk Hogan”. If a hospital wants to do a social media campaign focus on “rapping doctors” and the doctors themselves aren’t comfortable in participating in it, then the push will eventually backfire because they are being true to themselves.

So in the end, hospitals and health systems need to aim big with creating innovative #HCSM projects and aspire to be like “Hulk Hogan”, avoid doing repeating the same efforts and doing ‘old hat’ social media gimmicks that have been done before in order to not be like “Duke the Dumpster”, and in the end if they be like “John Cena” and be true to themselves, then they should find some good success in the world of #HCSM.

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