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Health Care
How a small team whipped its social media strategy into shape through employee advocacy

A leading provider of the highest quality physical therapy, occupational therapy, and athletic training services, Athletico Physical Therapy has been helping remove pain and discomfort from its patients’ lives for more than 30 years.

  • 39%
    increase in engagement across all channels
  • 40%
    increase in reach from employee advocacy
  • 79%
    adoption rate of employee advocacy program

Athletico Physical Therapy's social media team expanded its reach by 40% with Hootsuite Enterprise and Amplify

Since Athletico’s establishment in 1991, the company has seen remarkable growth, expanding to over 900 locations across 24 states and the District of Columbia. Throughout this time, Athletico has steadfastly maintained its greater purpose: to empower people, inspire hope, and transform lives. 

This commitment extends beyond Athletico’s physical locations into the digital realm, where its small but mighty social media team plays a pivotal role in supporting and connecting with its communities. To ensure Athletico’s social media presence is as dynamic and effective as its health services, the team adopted Hootsuite Enterprise and its employee advocacy platform, Amplify, to expand its brand, increase engagement from both employees and clients, and create efficiencies for the brand and content team.

How they did it

Rolling out Hootsuite Enterprise and Amplify — along with Athletico’s smart social strategy — has been instrumental in expanding its brand reach and empowering a diverse team of therapists, athletic trainers, recruiters, and other team members with the tools they need to deliver engaging content to their respective communities.

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Products used in this study

Hootsuite Enterprise
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Hootsuite Amplify
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Empowering employees to become brand advocates

Athletico identified existing social media enthusiasts within their ranks and launched a program to convert them into brand advocates. 

Following a virtual roadshow where the social team promoted the program, demand was high. On the first week of its launch, an astonishing 95% of participants signed up to be a part of the program — which included access to Amplify to provide them with the tools and content they’d need to be successful.

“The demand for an employee advocacy program was already there,” says Mandy Halleck, Athletico’s director of brand and content. “We just picked up on that and created the strategy around it and tools to support it.”

Today, the program maintains a 79% adoption rate month-by-month, thanks to Athletico’s innovative policy of cycling in enthusiastic new users to replace participants whose engagement waned in previous months. 

The advocacy program helps Athletico expand its reach and better connect online with the people in their communities in an efficient, authentic, and engaging way.

Ensuring a strong content pipeline to keep engagement high

To ensure the consistency and cadence of content is optimized for the advocacy program, the content team coordinates monthly meetings to discuss upcoming content. They plan additional content around key events like National Physical Therapy Month or Athletic Training Month when they know engagement will be high.

This approach ensures that Athletico’s advocacy content strikes a balance between what the field team wants to share and what their audience wants to see. It typically includes a blend of brand-owned content and third-party thought leadership content made available directly within the Amplify dashboard. 

The social media team is currently exploring innovative strategies to motivate advocates to share content on their personal social media channels. Currently, the field teams mostly share content on their professional LinkedIn pages. The goal is to broaden this approach, encouraging more personal engagement across platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X to tap into a wider audience and foster a closer connection with their communities.

Creating team efficiencies with content planning and scheduling

Managing the content for a brand that supports over 900 clinics is no easy feat — especially for a small team. Athletico’s team takes it in its stride.

Thanks to the ease of scheduling all brand and advocacy content through the Hootsuite dashboard, the social team saves valuable time that it can then use to focus on engaging with its audience and creating and testing amazing content.

The results

Athletico's adoption of Hootsuite Enterprise and Amplify has transformed its approach to social media, leading to increased engagement, streamlined processes, and a more empowered team of clinicians and specialists in the field. 

Since its launch, Athletico’s advocacy program has been a great success, with 79% of participants sharing content weekly. The team’s main goal is to increase engagement and continue to build trust with its employee network through more collaboration and different types of content. 

The advocacy program also gained a lot of positive attention from Athletico leaders — including executive team members and VPs of clinical operations — which encouraged even those who were new to social media to get involved. 

The success of this initiative showcases the potential of strategic social media management in enhancing brand presence and audience connection in the healthcare industry.

What’s next for Athletico? The team plans to continue on its path — empowering employees to build and maintain strong relationships with their local networks while protecting the core Athletico brand—and to explore other social media channels in the future. It also intends to launch a social ambassador program in the coming year, where employees will collaborate directly with the content team to create short-form videos supporting the team's content strategy in 2024 and beyond.

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Amplify solves many challenges when it comes to my goal of expanding our brand, as it helps us to reach networks and communities that we’d never reach without the support of our workforce."
Mandy Halleck
Director, Brand and Content
Athletico Physical Therapy