Social networks are virtual communities where people interact with each other sharing photos and information. Some of these social networks include Facebook, Twitter, Badoo, and LinkedIn. People create a profile or page where they put information, photographs, among others. These networks are used by marketing to attract people for a specific topic (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Marketing provides a set of tools to show the tangible elements and services offered in hospitals, as well as the quality of care or technology. First impressions on aspects such as the attention of health personnel or the state of the facilities are usually a point to consider when a potential patient decides on one hospital or another. If these impressions are transferred to the digital domain, whether on the hospital's website or its social networks, reputation improves (Kim, 2014). For this, it is necessary to have a good online social marketing tool. The social marketing approach emerges from commercial marketing and uses many of its concepts and tools.
Santos (2009) defines social marketing as a strategy that allows the exchange of ideas, beliefs, habits, myths, attitudes, actions, behaviors, behaviors, values or social practices, to improve, and comprehensively develop the health of the individuals and communities intervened by health planners, through the investigation of needs, the planning, execution, and control of communication programs and social education in health; based on the same analytical techniques of commercial marketing that allow the analysis and orderly and systematized knowledge of: the social product to be promoted (health), the community (audience or target group to intervene) and the different variables that mediate between these two ( individual, collective, environmental and cultural factors), to design messages, select means of diffusion, disseminate messages and control and evaluate the impact of them that will reinforce healthy habits and behaviors.
In this definition, Santos (2009) tries to broaden the concept and does not rely solely on the specific aspects of marketing. He raises social marketing as a strategy to improve and comprehensively develop health. Therefore, this conception is very valuable because it expands the actions and components of social marketing and approaches the approach of the directorate of health promotion. In social marketing it is key that the construction of the product be socially and culturally appropriate to the particularities of the population segment to which it is addressed, so that it incorporates it and translates it into a social practice (Korhonen, Pekkola, & Karaiskos, 2012)
Because of the growth of social networks, many healthcare settings (Settings include but are not limited to general hospitals, acute-care hospitals; long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities; physicians' offices; urgent-care centers; outpatient clinics; home healthcare) are using them to their advantage. Healthcare settings seek to position themselves, humanize themselves, expand their community, and generate more sales through the use of social networks. Social networks are fashionable, but they have taken on such strength that they seem to have come to stay (Welch, 2012). The data speaks for itself (McCarroll, Armbruster, Chung, Kim, McKenzie, & Von, 2013):
52% of the information people look for on the Internet about health refers to some illness, followed by food, healthy habits, and medications.
77% of patients perform Internet searches before requesting a consultation. In addition to seeking information, they share their experiences: 1 in 4 patients use social networks to follow the experience of others, and 41% of respondents say that social media influence their choice of hospital or doctor.
Medical professionals have different thematic social networks to interact, share experiences or cases, and many health communities have been created where users can express their doubts (Neomed, Spanamed, Saluspot, Ippok, among others) (Xu et al., 2012). The infographic highlights that 1 in 7 of the health professionals participates daily in social networks and that 1 in 4 of the doctors uses social media to find information about their area (Gupta, Tyagi, & Sharma, 2012). Research conducted on the use of health professionals in social networks shows that (Global Social Media Check Up, 2012):
31% of health professionals use social networks as a professional networking tool.
60% of the most popular activities of doctors in social networks is to follow what their colleagues are sharing and discussing.
Many of the participants in social networks are passive, do not create or comment on content, but they do read the content that other professionals generate in their network.
On the subject of healthcare settings, the analysis carried out by Solomon McCown indicates that of the US hospitals that have a presence in social networks they prefer to use Facebook and that 85% of health companies use social networks within their strategies of marketing (Whetten & Mackey, 2002). Undoubtedly, the impact of social networks in this area is very high, although it is not for less, taking into account that every 5 seconds 170,000 searches are made in Google on this field (Hanna, Rohm, & Crittenden, 2011). Social networks are an unparalleled space to establish links and relationships. The main problem of many healthcare settings is that they do not have a line of indicators to follow to assess whether their social performance is good or bad (Andersen, Medaglia, & Henriksen, 2012). These metrics, of course, should be linked to the mission and vision of the healthcare settings to make adjustments in a strategy although many omit it entirely. In fact, many healthcare settings use social networks to promote their services and inform the public what they offer (Adams, 2010). But if the healthcare setting seeks to go a little further and achieve image or financial benefits, they must discover the main metrics to measure actions, control them and improve them.
There are many vain metrics in social networks, but to measure the success of the content in social media is not enough to count likes, and retweets. If healthcare settings want to know the real effectiveness of the content links they share, they have to go further. Anyone can check how many clicks a specific link has received (Alsos, Das, & Svanaes, 2012). Because of shorteners such as bitly, buffer or HootSuite, healthcare settings can know the link from which people have visited them. There is need to broaden the frame, zoom out and analyze everything as a whole. The vain and superficial metrics of simple interaction help healthcare settings to perform their daily task, to know what content to repeat, which approach works best or which headline gives them more leads. It is clear that they also provide visibility, thanks to the amplitude of spectrum that provides an RT. Interaction metrics do not serve to analyze the effectiveness of social media content.
In the contemporary marketing world, the most commonly used methods of measuring social media effectiveness include ongoing analytics and campaign focused metrics. The ongoing analytics tracks the social media marketing activities over a period while the later tend to analyze campaign and events using an outlined checklist (Zimmerman & Ng, 2017). Essentially, the ongoing analytics is crucial for determining the overall pulse and the general marketing condition of a healthcare setting. Once a tracking mechanism is set, the hospital can easily check how the marketing strategy is being enforced and its role in propelling the overall sale returns (Scott, 2013). On the other hand, the campaign focused metrics help the healthcare setting to decipher the impacts of targeted marketing. There is need to develop a tool which will effectively measure the effectiveness of social media marketing. To develop an effective social media campaign measuring tool, the method should incorporate both ongoing and campaign specific parameters.
To curb the challenges that analytics face in their efforts to determine the success rate of the social media campaign in healthcare setting, this paper will develop and implement a new measurement model that will be referred to as Pro-Analysis Measurement Tool (PAMT). In this model, the social media analysts will be required to promote the desired behaviors among the healthcare settings thus making them tangible in form of environmental and marketing opportunities. As a result, this will drastically reduce the level of marketing biases and enhance the overall benefits of the marketing strategy. To achieve this, the PAMT model will utilize benchmarks that will be modified from the results obtained from the previous literature. The inclusion of these benchmarks will establish important components of social media marketing and facilitate the incorporation of the marketing parameters thus allowing healthcare settings to determine the level and effectiveness of the marketing strategy.
Essentially, the PAMT model will analyze the behavioral change interventions on the marketing continuum by assessing the effectiveness of the benchmarks set and their role in promoting product acceptance in healthcare settings. The PAMT social marketing initiative will majorly aim at identifying the key parameters that promote successful marketing for healthcare settings. Moreover, the method will employ the Hierarchy of Effects Model (HOEM) in an attempt to determine the level of awareness, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and the overall effectiveness of the marketing campaign.
To ensure credibility of the PAMT model, the social marketing benchmarks that will be used include; primary formative research, secondary formative research, pretest research, evaluation research, monitoring research, segmentation, analysis of the core products, the economic status of the target audience, the prices of products or services, product promotion, and finally, the aspect of behavioral competition. The PAMT model will strive to measure the patients demographic information such as age, sex, current residence, economic status, and the number of social websites that they visit. Additionally, to ensure collection and analysis of credible information and marketing data, the PAMT model will track the increase in number of followers of healthcare settings on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The model will also determine the optimal time when the target audience uses the online platform; it will track the likes, comments, and reactions received on the advertisement posted on these sites. Finally, the PAMT model will track the referral traffic pattern thus enabling marketing analysts to deduce the effectiveness of social media marketing strategies adopted in healthcare settings.
Healthcare Settings and Health Services
The significant increase in competition in the health sector in recent years is evident. This increase is very important for citizens because competition forces each health care center to continuously improve their services, as well as rates, facilities, and user treatment among others. As a result of this competition, it is also possible to see the use of marketing as a tool to promote the different services provided by healthcare settings (Andersen, Medaglia, & Henriksen, 2012). Economic development has also seen an increase in the provision of hospital services, which has led hospitals to become increasingly competitive, aspiring to position thems...
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