A recent study indicates that although more than 700 U.S. hospitals host Facebook pages, few are taking advantage of the power this social media tool has to engage patients, build relationships and enhance a hospital’s image.
Verasoni Ah Ha! Insights, a new research arm of Verasoni Worldwide, and the business consulting firm Simon Associates Management Consultants reviewed the Facebook presence of 120 U.S. hospitals of various sizes and types (academic medical centers, community hospitals and safety net hospitals) in all 50 states. The study period took place December 15, 2010 to January 12, 2011.
The bad news
- 63% had no unsolicited feedback or questions on their pages
- Fewer than 40% of hospitals posted daily
- Only 5% used the wall to post upcoming events
- 80% had no discussions on their discussion board pages
- Only 5 hospitals had games, apps, contests or incentives
- 58% did not allow members to share photos on their Facebook page
- Only 49 hospitals (40%) uploaded video directly onto their Facebook page
- 111 hospitals (92%) did not integrate offline advertising such as television, billboard or print advertising
- Most hospitals (86% or 104) did not integrate blogs into their Facebook presence
- 70% of hospitals had fewer than 1,000 likers/members
- Only 10 hospitals integrated Twitter into Facebook
- 90 hospitals (75%) did not integrate their clinical services into Facebook
The good news
The survey discovered that hospitals that actively use Facebook to help members engage with their hospitals developed a high degree of interaction and sharing. “Facebook allowed people to tell their own stories of hope and struggle,” says the report, “and to share them with others who had similar concerns related to a health topic or a disease state.”
Recipe for success? Do the opposite of most U.S. hospitals.
How does your hospital measure up?