Nearly every hospital in the U.S. is on social media. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!
In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), researchers conducted a cross-sectional review of 3,371 US hospitals on 4 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare.
- 94.41% (3351/3371) had a Facebook page.
- 50.82% (1713/3371) had a Twitter account.
- 99.14% (3342/3371) had a Yelp page.
- 99.41% (3351/3371) had check-ins on Foursquare.
- Large, urban, private nonprofit, and teaching hospitals were more likely to have higher utilization of these accounts.
The Conclusions: “Although most hospitals adopted at least one social media platform, utilization of social media varied according to several hospital characteristics. This preliminary investigation of social media adoption and utilization among US hospitals provides the framework for future studies investigating the effect of social media on patient outcomes, including links between social media use and the quality of hospital care and services.”
So what does this mean? Well for starters, it means that just about every hospital in the U.S. has embraced social media.
So where do we go from here?
I’m thinking that we’re at the point of self-reflection. Hospitals on social media are going to start looking at their claimed territory and asking if they’re in the right place. It’s like we’re in the wake of gold rush. We all moved out west and now we have to figure out how to get rich. Okay maybe that’s a bad analogy. But you get the point: “Do I have a meaningful purpose? What’s the payoff?”
Well to realize any measurable success, hospitals are going to have to begin to track ROI from their social media efforts. Obviously, it’s hard to track quantitative results from social media, but your most meaningful data will come from actual business information like: increased revenue or growth, reduced costs or expenses, enhanced patient satisfaction. If you can identify some data related to your social media presence, than you can infer that you’re in the right place. Stay where you are and concentrate your efforts.
From a marketer’s perspective, the biggest takeaway from this information is simple: There’s more clutter than ever. Just a few short years ago, every hospital in the country had the potential to be one of the only ones in its area to have a SM presence. Now every other hospital in your neighborhood has one. That means everyone is going to have to work hard to cut through the clutter. OR you’ve got the option of going to a lesser-known SM platform and trying to make some noise.
So this is where we are. And if you’re a Nonprofit Hospital, it’s time to start measuring your SM success.
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