Looking for Hospital Marketing Insight? Steal Your Patients’ Diaries

flickr: sushi♥ina

I read an interesting column by Kevin Hartman called What Marketers Can Learn by Stealing a Consumer’s Diary. To be honest, it caught my attention because my most recent research included reading 165 journal entries of 17-year-olds (and I did learn a lot!), so I approached Hartman’s column with much anticipation.

Well, as you’ve probably guessed, Hartman does not really advocate stealing consumers’ diaries, but he does make the point that social media contains just as rich data as diaries. He writes, “The act of writing has been shown to expertly clarify and present human emotion.”

What this means for marketers is that they are surrounded by a rich, raw, candid and–for the most part–free source of human emotion: the ceaseless streams of social media conversation whirling around them. In a sense, consumers are opening their diaries to marketers through every update, Tweet, and post.”

Measuring social media by focusing on emotions

Now the idea of listening in social media is not new. It’s one of Hive’s core values, and I’ve written on the topic several times before (here and here). However, Hartman brings a new way of approaching measuring social media, by focusing on emotions.

Based on Georgetown Professor W. Gerrod Parrott’s model of human feelings, Hartman’s agency, Draftfcb, collects conversations about products and evaluates which emotions (anger, love, sorrow, joy, fear and surprise) are expressed, how frequently, and the strength of them.

Through an analysis of several key consumer product categories, Hartman said his agency has learned the answer to some key marketing questions, such as: What do consumers really feel about brands? What emotions should we use to draw consumers to brands? Which product categories bring consumers the most joy, which create the most anxiety, and which evoke the most anger?

This emotive metric could shed light on many key questions for hospital marketing professionals. What do consumers feel about the hospital experience? What causes the most anxiety? Are there particular emotions that are stronger than others? If so, what services do they surround?

Create an emotional metric for your healthcare social media

I know we all have patient surveys that get close to answering some of these questions, but think of how raw and honest this data would be. In my recent research, there was a definite difference in what the participants expressed in focus groups and what they expressed in their journals. Creating an emotional metric for your healthcare social media might be just as enlightening.

And if you really want to get creative, you can borrow an idea from Jell-O Pudding. They’ve created “American’s Mood Meter” on a webpage. The meter monitors and measures the smiling faces : ) and frowning faces : ( expressed on Twitter, and converts the emotion to a photograph with an ever-changing facial expression.

I wonder what the face would look like if it expressed the emotions of the social media conversations that mention your hospital?

How we help

Hive Strategies helps hospitals engage patients through social media. We don’t manage social media. Instead, we help hospitals develop an effective social media strategy and mentor them through the implementation process. Read about our services. Start a conversation. Email us or call us at 503-472-5512.


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