Guest Blogger: Mike Schneider of Greystone.Net

Healthcare Marketers Embrace Social Media, But Rarely Have a Plan

If you find that getting your arms around your social media strategy is difficult, then the results of the Greystone.Net Social Media Research show that you are not alone. The study finds that hospitals and health systems are fully embracing social media — 9 in 10 said that they had an active presence or are monitoring social media sites — however, less than 40% say they have a formal plan for social media and struggle to clearly identify measurable return on investment.

Greystone.Net conducted the study at the end of 2009. Our sample size was relatively small — 38 of our 100 Greystone.Net research panel participants completed the survey — and Greystone.Net clients tend to be slightly more “Web 2.0 savvy” than other organizations, so data may be slightly skewed in that direction. But, the results mirror our findings in the field as we work with clients to plan for their Social Media and Web site strategies.

The study also found that social media has been good at helping organizations generate Web traffic, but is not nearly as effective at accomplishing other key organizational goals. Other topics of interest included budget and staffing for social media, types of social media monitoring, and how organizations measure the effectiveness of their social media efforts.

The fact that hospitals and health systems do not have formal plans for social media and are not seeing the results they desire does not seem like a coincidence to me. We anticipate a strong demand for social media planning in the future, as organizations try to catch up with the leaders out there doing an amazing job of leveraging social media.

For more information about this study or to inquire about being a member of the Greystone.Net research panel, visit the Greystone.Net Web site .

Michael Schneider is a consultant with Greystone.Net, where he has helped over 50 healthcare organizations develop Internet-related strategic plans. Before joining Greystone.Net, Mike was the Director of Database Management and Research for Emory University Health Care System in Atlanta.

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