Healthcare Marketing: Smaller Hospitals Effective Using Social Media

Study shows smaller hospitals use Facebook more effectively than larger ones.

Hospitals are getting into the social media game.  Although late adopters, hospitals are increasing their use of social media.   Some larger institutions, like the Mayo Clinic, have large social media departments and have extensive activity among social media networks.  But it’s much more challenging for smaller hospitals.  The resources, the time requirements and support from upper management are definite limitations.  But even with those liabilities, a recent study indicated smaller hospitals can be effective utilizing social media.

In two studies at the University of Missouri, the findings indicated that smaller hospitals use Facebook more effectively than larger ones.  One study was conducted by Dr Ricky C. Leung, assistant professor of health management and one by Dr. Kalyan S. Pasupathy, assistant professor of health management and informatics.  The research findings were reported by Brian Horowitz in eWeek .  The research indicated that smaller hospitals are more committed to Facebook once they decide to use it.

Despite larger hospitals having more resources to build stronger Facebook page, they have more channels to develop and populate.   Smaller hospitals who are limited in what they can do, concentrate their efforts more narrowly and are therefore more effective with the tools they use.

Of the sites studied, the average number of “likes” for the hospital’s Facebook page was 1321.

The take-away from this research is that smaller hospitals can have success using social media.  The key for smaller hospitals is to limit the number of social media channels used and concentrate on only as many channels as can be done well.  To spread the marketing department too thin by trying to do too much is counter productive.  It’s much more effective to do one or two things and do them well.

An effective social media effort is not limited to larger hospitals.  Smaller hospitals can also be effective by strategically choosing a limited number of social media tactics and doing them as well as possible.

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