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Healthcare companies and social media metrics: What to focus on, what to measure.

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At one point, cigarettes were apparently a trusted source of medical advice.

The industries that have moved more slowly to embrace the social media world have, understandably, been the more highly regulated industries such as law and healthcare. But as social has moved from what some saw as a quirky new marketing fad into a steady part of our daily lives, so too have these industries followed– and now they’re playing catchup. After all, the percentage of Americans alone who turn to social media- and trust it- for health information is growing.

The first step is making a plan to figure out what metrics are going to be important to measure on each of the social sites you decide to have a presence on, such as Twitter. So what metrics should healthcare companies focus on?

1. Decide what your goals are

Healthcare companies or professionals using social media will obviously have very different goals with their accounts compared to businesses in the beauty, travel, or other industries; there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to social.

By figuring out what you want to accomplish you’ll know what it is that you need to measure. Here are a few ideas of what a social presence can mean for a healthcare company:

  • Provide health resources

  • Provide support by answering company-specific questions

  • Provide support by hosting chats with qualified professionals to answer health-related questions

  • Communicate new information; for example, explaining recent changes to your company, or explaining what the new Affordable Healthcare Act means to those using your services

  • A combination of some or all of these

Many of these things will spread awareness of your brand and amplify your brand voice, particularly if you decide to participate in or host tweet chats. (If you want more information on building or establishing a brand voice, go here.) Tweet chats also lead to higher engagement with your audience. Which brings us to our next step.

2. Measure based on those goals.

If your goal is to increase awareness of your brand, you’ll want to look at share of voice, or specifically metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification relative to the volume, reach, exposure, and amplification of your closest competitors, if they’re on social media. If they’re not on social media but your target audience is talking more about them than you, you need to really ask what they’re doing that you’re not. Here are more resources to break down how to measure each of these metrics specifically:

Amplification is definitely tied to share of voice- most metrics have some manner of overlap- but it’s also important to look at how others are helping to amplify your voice or your messages, which means looking at engagement as well. Retweets, annotated retweets (think the classic retweet, with commentary before the RT), link shares from your website, etc. The above resources cover much of this as well.

3. Rinse, repeat.

Social media is a constantly changing landscape, which can make it daunting to tackle, but the best way to go about it is just to jump in and listen, then start swimming. Establish a time period for regular evaluations- compile specific monthly metrics, schedule quarterly metric revisions- and investigate and change whatever isn’t working.

Social media basically consists of constant experimentation and adjustments, but with the right information it’s more of a fun and exciting project that a terrifying task. And as always, we’re here if you have questions.

Image courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery

Written by Sarah

April 28th, 2014 at 9:23 am