Size Does Matter, it’s Not Just About Quality

It’s a recurring debate in health care social media: Which do you prefer quality or quantity?

There are two health care marketing blogs that I routinely enjoy reading, Health is Social and The Healthcare Marketer.  Both recently weighed in on the topic.

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Both make great points, Phil Baumann (Health is Social) states, “very few hospitals will hit it ‘big’ in social media.” His recommendation is to use social media for market research. Dan Dunlop (The Healthcare Marketer) agrees with Phil and adds, “don’t worry about how many individuals are checking out your site, be more concerned with how you are giving back to your community.”

While both points of view are valid, and speak to engagement, which is a crucial element to social media, both blogs tend to support quality being more important than quantity. I think the underlying assumption in favor of “quality over quantity” is that they are mutually exclusive – more followers/fans/likes means lower quality. I don’t believe quality and quantity are mutually exclusive. The focus for health care organizations should be to engage more people in a more meaningful way.

Assuming the quality of engagement is the same, the chance of success is improved by reaching as many people as possible within budget constraints. Understanding that “few hospitals will hit it ‘big’ in social media”, what health care marketer is willing to gamble limited resources on creating and executing the perfect plan without a safety net?

Also, there is an element of any social media campaign out of the health care marketers control and it is critical in order to demonstrate business goals were met by reaching a smaller audience. Conversion rates must be very high to justify abandoning a program that has 10 or 20 times the reach.

This is not an indictment of target marketing, for some organizations engaging five to seven influencers is more valuable than reaching thousands of prospective customers. It is a plea to adopt a balanced and aggressive approach – engage more people in a more meaningful way.

Let us know if you take a quality over quantity approach for your social media efforts. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


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