As healthcare businesses start to implement social media marketing, many are struggling to measure the ROI of their digital activities.
One of the reasons this is happening is because healthcare marketers aren’t sure what metrics to measure in the first place. Is it the number of fans on our Facebook page, Twitter re-tweets and other social mentions, or increased page views on our website?
These are all soft leads and from a business perspective they don’t carry much weight. What it comes down to at the end of the day is cost and revenue. While your social media activities show as a line item on your P&L, you should also be able to see an increase in your sales volume on the other side of the equation. Otherwise what’s the point?
If you take a look at your P&L here are specific areas of social media that cost money:
- Hiring a consultant or manager to execute your social media program
- A physician guest blogger to write educational content for your blog
- Other healthcare content writers (in-house or outsourced)
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Facebook promotion i.e. ads, contests and other offers
- Video production for your YouTube channel
- And others depending on what your brand is trying to achieve
On the other side are ROI opportunities that may translate into increased sales or overall bottom line:
- Shorter sales cycle
- Increased lead generation
- Increased patient acquisition and retention
- Reduced spend on traditional advertising, PR and marketing (e.g. billboard ads or direct mail, which by the way are impossible to measure ROI)
- Reduced call-center costs (especially if you’re using social media for customer service)
- Reduced number of patient complaints (when social media is done well it tends to increase customer satisfaction, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time and resources resolving problems)
- Increased email list subscriptions (which are hard leads as opposed to social media “soft leads”)
So here’s the clincher. When you first start your social media campaign be sure to define your measurable metrics in terms of a marketing goal such as:
“To increase the number of physicians registered with the hospital’s online electronic medical system so as to increase the number of referred patients.”
In other words it’s the objective that drives the metrics, which in turn need to be measurable.
Over to you: Do you have social media as a line item on your P&L account? What specific items are you measuring? Please share in the comment box below.