Healthcare Marketing: Social Media is NOT a Numbers Game

Social media success is not how many “likes” you have but rather how many relationships you have.

Hospital marketers measure success for their social media efforts in several different ways. The easiest, and probably most often used, method is how many likes you have.  It’s quantity.  And why not, when attempting to show success it’s easy to point to the number of likes your site has.  In fact, it can look pretty impressive in a performance review.

But does that really measure true success?  Sure, it’s providing exposure to your brand.  And sure it shows some level of affinity to your hospital and it’s services.  So it certainly has value.  Quantity is important.

But perhaps more important is quality.  What is the quality of relationships with those social media friends?  Is it just a bunch of contacts who are casual friends with whom you have a passing and shallow relationship?  Or is it people with whom you have a real, meaningful relationship?  People with whom you have regular contact and you share information and there is value in the friendship?

I would suggest the true measure of success is the latter.  Not necessarily how many friends you have on social networks but the quality of those relationships.  It’s better to have 200 highly engaged followers on Twitter who interact and share your information than 2000 who hardly even notice your tweets.  And it’s much better to have 500 Facebook friends who are engaged, regularly posting and interacting than to have 5000 that just skim over random, and meaningless posts from your marketing department.

Maybe the numbers won’t be as impressive but engaged relationships are worth more than casual friends or followers. 

But this kind of success, like any true friendship, requires time and work. It requires going deep.  It means taking the time and effort to provide meaningful interaction.  It’s not about selling yourself but rather about making yourself available and committing the time to demonstrate how important the relationship is to you.  It means understanding your friends and their needs and providing the information, advice and help they want and need. It means investing in the relationship.

Building fewer but deeper relationships may not look as impressive as a large quantity of followers or likes, but it can mean a much higher ROI to your social media efforts.


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