"There are also many tools out there for measuring and listening and reporting and analyzing. No one tool is perfect. What they can do and what you'll pay to use them—in both dollars and staff time—vary considerably. It is critical to know what you are trying to accomplish, why you want to measure something and what you're going to actually do with that data once you measure it."
Sometimes trial and error must be used to determine which social engagement tactics work best, and paying close attention to metrics is critical to that technique.
"Analytics are important to help us learn about what works best," Aase says. "We have a strong organizational commitment to being involved in social media, and analytics help us identify best practices so we can continually improve."
Of course, the key to providing strong social engagement for patients is remembering that it is secondary to real-life experiences.
"The most important engagement we have with our patients is in their real-world experience with us in our clinics, in our hospitals, over the phone and in other direct communication and interactions," Manley says. "I always tell our clinical teams that they should strive to make every patient encounter Facebook worthy."
Join Cynthia Floyd Manley and Lee Aase of the Mayo Clinic for a Healthleaders webcast, "Mayo Clinic & Vanderbilt Health—The New Social Media Playbook" on September 16 from 1:00–2:30 PM ET.