Kelly Merrick is the Social Media Mentor at Hive Strategies. You can check out the Hive Strategies blog
If you manage your hospital's social media, you've probably wondered how to determine the true influence of your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other
Is the value in how many followers you have, even if they aren't engaged? Or do fewer but more engaged followers determine the value? The answer to
these questions isn't always clear because it is different for every hospital.
But no matter how you define your hospital's social media success, we all want numbers. We want to know how many people are reading, retweeting,
mentioning and absorbing our content. So to help get these numbers, I've compiled a short list of applications and websites that will help you gain a
little insight to the value of your hospital's social media accounts.
is a service that measures your online influence by giving you a score based on several elements. The Klout score is a measurement of your influence on
social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores representing a wider and stronger influence. It uses several
variables that include factors such as how far your content has spread on Twitter, and how often you get new fans on Facebook.
For accounts like Twitter, it is especially helpful because it also considers how likely you are to be retweeted, if your Tweets are effective in
generating new followers, retweets and @ replies, as well as how influential the people are who retweet and follow you.
One of the most interesting features is that part of your Klout score will tell you, based on your Twitter account, which areas you are the most
influential in. In order to get this data, Klout compiles the hashtags you use in your Tweets and analyzes the numbers of retweets, mentions, and @
replies you get as a result. As a hospital, this is something you will want to pay attention to, especially for your key services.
Like Klout, Sprout Social also gives you a score for influence. Once you have signed up and created your account
(which is free for 14 days), it will give you two separate scores, one for engagement and one for influence, both of which give you a number rating
based on a scale of 1 to 100.
Engagement is an indicator of how well you communicate with your audience, and influence is an indicator of your social media growth and interest level
of your followers.
Sprout Social shows your activity in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and, for a premium, FourSquare.
What I like about Sprout Social is that it also gives you your "Twitter social stats" by tallying your new followers, mentions, message volume and
engagement for any given week. This will help your hospital compare weeks to determine what type of content gets the most reaction. It also gives you a
breakdown of your follower demographics, such as how many men and women are following you and what location they are following from.
is a great, real-time way to track how many mentions, retweets and @ replies you are getting from your Tweets. It also allows you to add other social
media accounts like Facebook so you can track them both in the same application. You can set up columns devoted to tracking each of these streams, and
it is organized in a clear way, making it easy to read them.
While using Hootsuite to track things like your Twitter mentions, @ replies, and retweets won't give you a score like Klout or Sprout Social, it
remains an effective way to monitor the people who are reacting to your content on Twitter, and when used along with other sites like Klout and Sprout
Social, it will give you a more complete picture of your Twitter influence.
An important caution on influence
After giving you these tools, I have to offer some words of advice to go along with them: Do not use these scores alone to validate your hospital's
social media accounts because they don't (and can't) take into consideration what impact your information has on a specific patient.
No amount of data on retweets, mentions or click-throughs, "likes" or wall comments will tell you how much a particular blog post on post-partum
depression meant to a first-time mom, or how much a YouTube channel on childhood cancer means to a family with a child recently diagnosed with cancer.
That being said, I think these sites can be useful in terms of statistics. They deliver straightforward statistics on how the information you post
online is used, which can help shape your overall marketing strategy as it relates to social media.