When it comes to hospitals engaging with patients and their families on the social web, too many are concerned with justifying the efforts. But a recent blog post from Ragan Communications suggests that’s the wrong strategy completely:

How do hospitals measure their social media ROI? Are they simply tilting at windmills like Don Quixote? Too often, we find ourselves counting the number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers or the number of people who viewed You Tube videos, trying to justify engagement in social media.

However, the bigger question is whether hospitals can afford not to buy prescription drugs without prescription engage.

The post goes on to highlight 8 reasons why it’s no longer an option for hospitals to ignore social media in the marketing mix. We’ve summarized a few here:

  • Improve customer service: When problems arise (i.e., a patient is unsatisfied with his or her hospital experience), hospitals can respond immediately and resolve the issue.
  • Reach younger health care consumers: While most health care marketing dollars are spent on reaching the Baby Boomer segment, social media efforts can reach the 25-34 year old audience.
  • Find blood donors: The article cites one hospital that has organized two blood drives via social media — using Twitter to promote and allowing sign-ups on Facebook.

Has your hospital integrated social media into its marketing mix? How did you convince hospital executives to move forward with the plan?

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