The advent of social media has changed the face of healthcare communications. More and more hospitals are recognizing this fact and seeking to integrate tools like Twitter® and Facebook® into their own communications strategies. This article gives an overview of the challenges clinics are facing vis-à-vis social media, and of the benefits they reap when the new tools are used effectively. Trends in social media use by hospitals in North America and Europe are highlighted and a range of best practice examples given. These include brand and crisis management, patient and physician education, fundraising, community building, and recruitment. Finally, the shifting role of medical writers and communicators toward social media management is explained.