What's more important: likes/comments, shares, or clicks to your site?

Posted by Lark Reynolds @larkreynolds, Thu, Mar 14 11:21am

We're in the midst of aligning the social media strategy of two formerly separate health systems, and have discovered there are different perspectives on what the primary goal for a health care system's social media is/should be. So I'm interested to know from others. For you, is it more …
* Drive traffic to your website
* Engage in conversation with your Facebook fans/followers
* Produce content that gets shared by your fans/followers


To me the question isn't what A health care system's primary goal should be – it's what YOUR health care system's goal should be. Our strategies/goals for each platform are directly driven by overall marketing goals, which are driven by overall system goals. From there we look at what we should measure – traffic, engagement, etc.


I think it should be to measurably improve patient’s health, although other possibilities are to generate new revenue or to better recruit new providers (which indirectly helps the former).

The hard part is determining what the health priorities for the org actually are, and then how to measure these things directly. For example, if you are a regional healthcare provider which provides trauma services, you could go after and measure distracted driving injuries.

I think this is culturally difficult. Most healthcare marketing departments seem to have more of a brand focus, perhaps with some new patient acquisition efforts, and don’t have a medical director who could help put the focus on medical outcomes for patients.


Agree with @katiewhitt completely. Our health care system likely has different goals for our social media platforms than other healthcare organizations.
I can't really give an overall primary objective across the board because for us, each type of social media (owned, earned, and paid) strives toward a different primary objective.
In addition, in terms of KPIs and whether we find likes, comments, shares or clicks to the website more important, my short answer is: It depends. Because of the nuances of social, we go down to a post level with the KPIs that we are measuring. For example, our primary owned social media objective on Facebook is thought leadership. If we post a link to a blog post, we will measure solely clicks to the blog post because we have determined that is the best way we can ensure digestion of our content/message. But, if we post a short social friendly explainer video on a topic, the KPI for that piece would be video views. For both of those posts, we aren't measuring likes, comments, or shares at all. That said, we believe that engagement in that way is likely important to stay on Facebook's good side when it comes to organic social media and a secondary objective for us on this channel is building and deepening relationships. For many of those posts that drive to that secondary objective, likes and comments are measured.
For paid social, we have two main objectives, but each campaign will only drive to one of them and how we measure it will be based on the content we are delivering.
That was probably way more than you were looking for, @larkreynolds! Apologies for the long winded answer.
I suppose you could choose one primary objective to cover all types of social media and each platform. I'd be really interested in hearing if other organizations that go that route.
I also find @matthewrehrl's response really thought provoking. For us, our social media mission is more holistic and speaks to bettering outcomes and working toward prevention for all. So in a sense, everything flows up to that. The content that we choose always follows that mission though the objective of a single piece of content might be more directly related to our organization.
Hope that helps! Can't wait to see more answers.

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