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Social Media ROI in Physician Marketing & Advertising - More Than Skin Deep

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Share buttonNew media is leading to new metrics.

How do you measure the value of your blog? What’s the ROI for your Facebook page? How much do your YouTube videos benefit your physician marketing? What's the pay-back on Twitter? A balanced view of benefits gives you the whole picture.

With Internet marketing – and social media marketing in particular – it’s also important to take a broader view. The Forrester Research people peel the onion deeper, proposing that social media marketing should be judged from four perspectives:We’ve always been a champion of Return-on-Investment as a fundamental gauge for doctor and physician marketing.

It’s simple: ROI compares what goes out against what comes back in any healthcare marketing effort. That's expanding as social media has grown.

  • Financial
  • Brand
  • Risk Management
  • Digital

The Forrester world (ROI of Social Media; July 2010) isn’t just about healthcare marketing or online social media and advertising for a physician group practice or even a hospital. But their four-way lens is a useful tool for evaluating any social media marketing program.

Here’s our take on how their categories also relate to doctor/physician marketing.

FINANCIAL: The classic “dollars-out vs. dollars in” metric may be the most immediate measure. If you spent a buck, can you track a return of three, four or five new dollars as a result? Did your promotional effort result in a measurable increase in new patients or procedures? (Hopefully you’re already doing this diligently.)

BRAND: This is how your physician practice is perceived by patients and prospective patients. Some doctors regard their “reputation” as the brand, but there’s more to it. This is a qualitative measure of the public’s attitudes about a hospital or healthcare provider…something that can be measured via patient satisfaction surveys. Is your message creating value over time?

RISK MANAGEMENT: This category is difficult to measure, except perhaps by evaluating what doesn’t happen – such as heading-off problems or issues that could reflect on the reputation of a physician or medical group. Think of this as using social media tools to help build, extend and defend both the brand and the reputation of the practice.

DIGITAL: In evaluating any interactive program, the four-way Forrester system says to look for value in having and effectively using your “digital assets,” and complements all the other categories. In short, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. When your social media marketing is working it benefits the other categories, as well as strengthening and benefiting the tools you’re using.

To fully appreciate the benefits of your social media marketing, according to Forrester Research, is to judge the investment on all these fronts—both immediate ROI and in the long term.

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