Mark Sanna, DC, ACRB Level II, FICC
How do chiropractic marketers measure their return on investment (ROI) when it comes to social media? After all, follows, likes and repins are not the usual marketing metrics. At the same time, the standard performance indicators we typically use to gauge the success or failure of digital marketing don’t apply as easily to social media. Counting website hits and click-throughs are not a means of measuring ROI in this realm. Social media marketing is still in its early days for most chiropractors and monitoring a few key metrics can help you determine whether your efforts and initiatives in social are moving the needle for your practice.
As you look forward to the year ahead and begin allocating your marketing resources, take time to consider the following metrics and related critical questions.
Share of Voice
How does your practice’s social presence stack up against your competitors’ not only in terms of the size of your audience (number of followers, fans, pinners, etc.), but in terms of their level of engagement? How engaged are your patients and potential patients compared to those of your competitors? How many people are talking about your practice, how frequently and in what context?
Are you having conversations with your patients? If not, it’s time to re-examine the content you are posting. Conversations put the “social” in social media. Don’t speak at your audience, speak with them. Every post is an opportunity to stimulate a dialogue. Creating dialogues increases your patients’ affinity to your practice.
Do you have any patients who have become super followers or super fans of your practice’s social media? If the answer is yes, be sure that you leverage their passion for your practice. If the answer is no, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity to increase the number of potential patients who have been exposed to your practice in the past, but are now compelled to try it, thanks to a super fan’s glowing recommendation. Take the opportunity to activate your super fans by noticing them and engaging with them.
Are you asking your patients questions to learn what they like about your practice and the products and services you provide? Social media provides your practice with the access to a large, free, real-time focus group. You can leverage your social network to help guide you in which products and services you choose to offer. This can help save you from making timely and costly mistakes. Many times you don’t even have to ask—just simply listen and respond. As an example, a chiropractor added massage therapy to his practice. The comments of the long wait time caused by an out of touch massage therapist caused the chiropractor to change the flow in the office to decrease wasted time. Patients were thrilled with the changes and posted their overwhelmingly positive responses.
These metrics don’t show the complete picture of how social media can affect your practice’s bottom line. Several follow-up questions can help you determine how effective you are at engaging your social media audience.
Do more people know about your practice than before?
How to learn it: Measure the number of mentions your practice receives and the number of positive reviews you generate and compare your results to the volume of traffic on the social sites of the other chiropractic practices in your community per reporting period.
Are more people hearing your message than before?
How to learn it: This is called your practice’s reach. Measure the growth in the number of your followers/fans per reporting period. You can enlist tools that measure Twitter reach and use tools such as LinkedIn analytics and Facebook Insights that report on number of impressions.
Are your posts generating traffic?
How to learn it: If you are being truly engaging, interesting and valuable in all of your social media interactions, then you are not simply sharing all of your content day after day. However, when you do link back to your own website’s content, measure the resulting traffic to your site via Google Analytics. Then you can drill down to determine which traffic was nurtured through social media.
Are people reacting to what you’re putting out there?
How to learn it: Measure the number of click-throughs your posts receive as well as the number of comments per post. The number of shares and retweets your posts receive is a great way to identify the number of super fans you are engaging per reporting period.
Social Media ROI is Complex
Social media ROI is clearly more complex than a simple cost vs. practice awareness equation. While social can certainly affect the journey of patients to your practice, it cannot be simply superimposed over it. There are just too many touchpoints in too many places to limit social to one fixed point along a patient’s path.
The ROI of social media for your practice is delayed ROI. This may be tough for many chiropractic marketers to swallow, but it goes back to your overall marketing strategy. Social is not just another marketing channel; it is a critical part of your practice’s overall communication platform. It touches many areas within your practice from patients’ retweets all the way up to the chiropractor’s blog posts.
When it comes to social, chiropractic marketers shouldn’t be hyper-focused on the immediate ROI, but instead get your practice team focused on another question: What have we learned today from our patients?
Dr. Mark Sanna is a member of the Chiropractic Summit, the ACA Governor’s Advisory Board and a board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is the president and CEO of Breakthrough Coaching (www.mybreakthrough.com 1-800-723-8423).