Monday, December 29, 2008

Measuring Impact

One of the things that I have yet to master in this position is how to collect and measure the impact of our use of social media in spreading our message. Currently I have this crazy 8 tabbed excel document where I collect statistics from Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Podcast listens, and blogger mentions.

I am not sure what each piece really means but when I put it all together on the summary page, I think the numbers tell a story.

The one problem I have with collecting this report is the fact that is has been up to this point so manual. However, I am starting to find all kinds of great little tools that wrap the data up in a nice format that makes it easy to dump into my report.

Today I happened upon a really nice tool called Twitterholic! Twitterholic gives me all pf the twitter stats I really care about aside from our mentions... which I pull from my SM2 reports anyway. You can also get competitive data!

Do you have any tools that you use to collect data, that you would care to share with the readers? If so leave comments! I am really exited to see what else might be out there to help us to really understand the impact of social media use in buisness / healthcare communications.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Social Giving... Philanthropy what are we calling this?

I had the pleasure of meeting with our development office a few days ago. They had been quite hesitant about venturing into social media as a communications tool until now. What is different about now?

1) A local competitor just launched a donation campaign with lots of social media elements.

2) A patient/donor went and started a Facebook causes for the hospital without our knowledge or permission, and with the wrong non profit information!

So, now they want to talk to me.

I went into the meeting with my trusty presentation. I presented the user data I talked about the current online giving trends, and how according to the Washington Post In September, his single biggest month of fund raising, Obama amassed more than 65 percent of his record-shattering haul -- $100 million of the $150 million -- from online donations. Then I started showing examples of our national competitors and their use of social media to raise money... That is when the snickering started to subside.

I all honesty I did not know much about social media in the philanthropy space until I started researching to prepare for this. I learned a great deal from James at Convio. who sent me some great examples of applications. I read a few blog post, most from the Chronicle of Philanthropy... but those left me with more questions than answers.

Then I just started to search. I began to try to think like a donor. Someone who has been affected by cancer, and who might be searching online or in their existing social networks for a way to give back. That is when I started to see some overwhelming trends. I honestly found just a handful of organizations that were even making themselves available to be found and accept financial gifts online for cancer research. Those are the examples I put in my presentation.

For one organization I found at least 5 social channels where they were attempting to raise funds, when I added all of the funds that were donated to them through these 5 channels it added up to over $20,000. Now I know that is not the 10 million dollar gift that some hospitals may be accustomed to. But that is 20,000 that they did not have before, and $20,000 that they spend $0 to solicit for and collect. No mailing, no postage, no donor event... nothing.

In the question and answer part of the discussion there were lots of air quotes being thrown around in disbelief of the intentions "fans" and concern over not being able to "capture" the donor information. A few still did not really understand why or how, but I think the last word came from one of initial naysayers. After all of the discussions he mentioned once again how he could not believe or understand why so many people would put so much information online about themselves... "It must be an ego thing" but he began making an effort to verbalize how he saw this working into his vision of the campaign. He may not have really gone away understanding how it works, but I think that they began to understand that it is indeed going to have to be an essential part of their fundraiser communications mix.

Overall I am excited about working on this project. I love to see the evolution of thinking that occurs as a new group learns this method of communication. I think however this ends up fitting into the donation raising communications mix it will be beneficial to their overall goal of getting people involved in the fight against cancer.

To Do Listen to:
Podcast - Social Good, Host Allison Fine (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Health 2.0 Makes it to Twitter

I knew this was coming, but could not have predicted that it would happen so soon. I have 2 examples of the business of medicine actually taking place within twitter. I just had to share my excitement.

Case #1
A colleague here at the hospital told me about this one. What is happening here is a Doctor in South Africa is at bedside asking a Doctor in India for real time assistance with a diagnosis. From other correspondence he has with this doctor in India, it is clear that he knows him personally and/or professionally, so he is a trusted source from the requestor's position.

From the message it sounds like he was probably bedside, maybe in a rural area. If you follow the stream it ends there. I expect that if the doctor replied it was probably in the form of a direct message. Which is a private message between 2 twitter users.

My colleague said that "if this was not a first, it was among the first time that he has seen this happen." Especially in places where you might not have access to experts. The personal relationships you develop could extend all the way to the bedside, no matter where the bedside is.

Case #2
This one may be a little contriversial, but there is no doubt in it's effectiveness. A researcher in her process of tweeting about what she is doing in the process of her work day. She mentions that she is looking for study participants. She is not cohersive, she mentions no less, no more.

Let me first say that it is clear that she is still a new twitter user. She has very few followers. Also, from what I can tell, no one re-tweeted this information. Despite that, right away someone who fits the criteria thanks her for the information and signs up for the study.

Clearly there is potential here. I am excited to keep watching to see how this develops. If you have any good examples of the business of medicine happening in twitter, please share. Thank's to both of these twitterers for seeing the possiblities and testing the envelope.