Today 65 percent of American adults use at least one form of social media on a regular basis. While social media is a popular communication channel for consumer brands, the health care industry has been slower to adapt to its usage. Twenty-six percent of hospitals now use some form of social media, while 60 percent of doctors say social media improves patients’ quality of care. As the health care industry looks at ways to incorporate social media into its communication strategies to meet patient needs, marketers are left with the task of figuring out the best way to implement a social media program.
Whether you are starting your first social media campaign or trying to figure out how to maximize an existing campaign’s potential, analytics are critical to monitoring performance. Reporting on social media analytics can be daunting and often overwhelming, with most platforms self-reporting on countless metrics from engagement to views to reach. But which metrics really matter? Here are some tips for avoiding overreporting and identifying the benchmarks that are most important.
Identify your goals. Before you begin a social media campaign, or even create your company’s social media page, determine the goal for that channel. Do you want to talk to customers? Are you trying to build relationships with other health care professionals? Do you simply want a mechanism to share your company blogs and news? The goal for your Facebook page and LinkedIn page may not be the same, so the way you measure your success will be different. It is important to determine your goals at the start of a project to ensure you capture the metrics that are the most helpful.
Figure out the metrics you need to track. This is probably the hardest part of any social media campaign. You may be tempted to report on every single metric in Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, but if you are reporting to an executive team it is likely they will care more about what the metrics mean for the overall goal rather than the exact engagement rate of a particular post. It might be important for you or the person managing the daily operations of the campaign to know these minute details, but to demonstrate success to an executive team, showcase only the metrics that directly correlate to your goal.
Track conversions when possible. Social media platforms in general do a good job of tracking engagement and reach of posts, but are somewhat limited at tracking actions that occur off of the platforms. For instance, Facebook can tell you how many people clicked a link to visit your website, but it can’t tell you how many of those people made an appointment to visit your facility. Google analytics does a better job of tracking what happens when people click from Facebook onto your site. It is important to make sure you keep an eye on how your social media platforms affect your website conversions if the goal of your campaign is to have someone take an action off of the social platform, such as filling out a form on your site, downloading a whitepaper, or reading a case study.
Create a reporting dashboard. The best way track your social media progress over time is by creating an effective dashboard. If you’re not sure how to set up a dashboard, here are some tips that can help. You may want to create two dashboards – one more robust version that tracks the details of your campaign and one that focuses on the big-picture metrics that directly impact your goal.
Social media reporting changes regularly as networks change algorithms and people change the way they prefer to interact with brands on certain platforms. So while it is imperative to develop a structured approach to reporting, it is equally important to continuously reevaluate your methods to ensure the metrics you report are meaningful to your audience and also helpful in assessing the success of your campaigns. At the end of the day, if your social media campaigns are unsuccessful, your reporting dashboard provides you with important insights to analyze and consider when revisiting your approach.
Kristy Lucero is a Senior Account Executive at Lovell Communications. Connect with Kristy at: Kristy@lovell.com.
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