It’s not hard to see why marketing groups have a hard time justifying a new social media expense, the metrics from social media are difficult to judge and it typically has response rates much lower than email CRM programs. However, with roughly half of patients using social media for health issues, and 67% of physicians using it for professional reasons there is little doubt that the market is moving fast in that direction. So, if you need to move in that direction, where should you start with your social media metrics?
Decide on where you want to participate
It seems obvious on the surface, but it’s surprising how many initiatives get started because the channel was the first one tried. Instead of starting with what is most familiar, perform some insight activities to discover where your patients and HCPs are. (Note, coming soon we will be releasing data from a survey of over 1000 US consumers on their health usage of social media. Stay tuned.)
Decide on what is valuable
The value of a user action generally needs to be teased out of your preferred outcomes. If you know that the cost for acquisition through direct mail is $25 and the cost for acquisition through eCRM is $5 then try to direct social media engagement toward the sign up form on the site.
If you find that you can convert consumers without the high-touch journey of the eCRM then direct them towards your primary website CTAs.
Do both of these through your editorial plan regarding how you will broadcast information and how you will respond (if you choose) to requests.
It really is that simple, and that difficult. All links should be tagged with the standard UTM parameters so you can determine how many completed goals are sourced from your social channel. As a reminder, the most common UTM variables are:
Follow your visitors as they consume your content and determine the efficacy of your social outreach compared to other traffic sources. Presumably you already know your cost of acquisition through other channels so it really is as easy as comparing the social channel to the others.
Measure non-site activity as well
The “buzz” also needs to be measured and monitored. This is for brand protection as much as determining how it contributes to your primary goal measurements.
Be prepared for low numbers at first. When brands are getting started there is no momentum and if no one knows you exist the talk, and thus the measured links, will be extremely low. Plan on spending at least six months pushing the channels before you see results, and keep comparing your results between channels. Social media doesn’t replace your other channels, it glues them all together.