Sam Stern

Sam is the Founder and Chief Marketing Technologist at Modallic. Modallic specializes in brand development and marketing for Mobile Healthcare Technology (mHealth) firms. As a life-long entrepreneur, Sam directs the mHealth storytelling and mHealth agile marketing process unique to the Modallic approach.

I find myself talking with mHealth clients about their social media “return on investment” (ROI) almost every day. It’s a hot-button topic among marketers and businesses alike.

The problem is that ROI means different things to different people, but I like what Jesse Stanchak had to say about it in his recent blog.  It’s got to be built in to your social media strategy from day one or the data will be meaningless, or worse … you won’t know what to do with the data and it gets buried in a report somewhere that no one sees.

These top 5 social media ROI misconceptions are taken from Jesse’s article on smartbrief.com:

mHealth Marketing Social Media ROI Myths

1. ROI doesn’t matter.
Some people will argue that because we don’t know what the exact ROI of a phone book ad is, that lets social media marketers off the hook. The problem with that reasoning is that once you decide ROI doesn’t matter, it opens the door to all kinds of magical thinking.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore social media if you can’t generate ROI immediately. Even if you’re never able to establish a hard ROI ratio, the very act of pursuing ROI brings rigor to your marketing as you continually test, refine and retest your efforts based on solid benchmarks and clearly defined business goals.

2. Social media is free.
Social media is time intensive, and your time is valuable.  As your presence grows you may need to pay for tools or additional staff, but at minimum you need to account for the value of the time you commit.

3. ROI is all about sales.
If you want to understand the full benefit of your social media efforts, you need to look at cost savings throughout the organization. If you lower your cost per lead, improve the efficiency of your customer service or attract qualified new hires using social tools, you’re generating ROI.

4. ROI can be measured in something other than money.
Fans aren’t ROI. Neither are retweets or blog comments or any form of social sharing or participation – if only for the simple reason that not all comments are equal. A single social media interaction with a client might create a sale or save you money – but many more will not. So it doesn’t make sense to measure all such interactions as equal indicators of success. ROI can only be measured in currency earned.

5. Finding ROI just requires a little back-of the envelope math.
You can’t just assign a dollar value to each fan and then add them all together. The process of calculating the costs and benefits of social media vary depending on your tactics and goals.

I’m sure not everyone will agree on what ROI means, but I think we can all agree that ROI is important and as your business delves further and further into the social culture … you’ll want more of it.

What questions do you have about social media ROI for your mHealth firm?




photo credit: Dean Meyers via photopin cc


Why mHealth Firms Should Become Adaptively Strategic
  1. Avatar for Dike Drummond MD
    Dike Drummond MD says:

    OMG … FINALLY a sane voice on ROI for Social Media in healthcare. The time commitment for the typical doctor is onerous regardless of how many “consultants” say you simply must be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest (and always simultaneously!)

    If there is no measurable ROI to the average doc … you will not see them participating in any significant way. Hobbies don’t count when one in three is burned out on any given office day and they must choose between a tweet and spending time with their kids.

    Thanks so much for this post. Now a question.

    Do you know anyone who will stand up and show their ROI in something other than likes, fans, shares and RT’s ??? Anyone?

    Dike Drummond MD

  2. Sam Stern says:

    Dike – You ask a great question. I can point you to Guy Kawasaki or Gary Vaynerchuk as they explain here http://blog.modallic.com/digital-health-marketing-real-purpose-social-media/ and here http://blog.modallic.com/marketing-health-2013/.

    And that’s part of the problem. Guy and Gary can show ROI on social media because social media IS their business.

    Without a strategy, 99% of social media is a waste of time tactic. Social media isn’t a push media. It’s listen, engage, and pull. There is no ROI on social media using only push tactics.

    Thanks for your comment and I look forward to continuing this conversation.

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