U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals | Social Media Audit

U.S. News and World Report released its 2013 rankings of the best adult and children’s hospitals in the United States, along with an Honor Roll of the overall top 18 hospitals in the nation. The rankings cover nearly 5,000 medical centers across the country and span 16 medical specialties. Hospitals ranking near the top of at least six specialties earn a spot on the Honor Roll.

Many of the hospitals on the list are household names–from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, while some like UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University in St. Louis are a little less known throughout the country.


We evaluated the 18 hospitals on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll and looked at the content they’re producing, the channels they’re publishing on and the special programs and campaigns they’ve been involved with.

Each of the 18 hospitals on the Honor Roll maintain a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence with audiences ranging from the Mayo Clinic’s 620,000 Twitter followers and the Cleveland Clinic’s 623,000 fans on Facebook and 43,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Behind the scenes photos of patients and staff can be very engaging to your social audiences. (photo courtesy of Brigham and Women's Hospital)

Behind the scenes looks at people and patients
shows the human side of any hospital. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (#9 on the list) regularly posts photos of real people and special visitors to the hospital. Photos of a pair of New England Patriots visiting patients in the hospital earned 219 on-page engagements on Facebook and likely hundreds of photo views, while a single photo of new arrival Mia Pearl and her proud parents earned 326 on-page engagements on their Facebook page.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (#5) is taking to Twitter to connect with medical professionals and the public using hashtag #UCLAMDChat. The program, which is about a year hold, features a Twitter chat every month, setting the topic ahead of time, usually in conjunction with a webinar. Topics have ranged from unique challenges of Alzheimers, prostate cancer and understanding Eosinophillic Esophagisits. The chats have mixed results for engagement, but their methods are sound and the information is excellent. UCLA also involves its doctors in the chats, giving them additional exposure and adding value to being a UCLA medical professional.

The Mayo Clinic (#3) has by far the most popular YouTube channel of the 18 hospitals with more than 13,000 subscribers and 10 million views. Their educational videos and interviews with doctors and experts are well produced and highly valuable, but it’s their human stories that deserve the most attention. A video of a 15-year-old pianist who played piano in the Mayo Clinic lobby while his mother underwent treatment (381,000 views) is the most-viewed video on the page. They also feature a parody video starring Mayo employees based on the popular song 8675309/Jenny to promote healthy heart awareness (76,000 views) and an amazing behind the scenes video of awake brain surgery (53,000 views). The videos have tremendous SEO value and some are annotated to help viewers click to Mayo Clinic websites for more information on specific medical conditions.

IU's Real Men campaign | great intentions, poor execution (photo courtesy of IU Health)

Some hospitals have pure intentions, but aren’t taking into account which social platforms might work best for each program. Indiana University Health in Indianapolis (#16) is running a prostate cancer campaign called Real Men where men are encouraged to get early screenings for prostate cancer and spread the word to their friends. It’s a slick campaign with a well-produced video and strong graphics, but Real Men (at least in this demographic) aren’t really using Facebook, where the majority of promotion is happening. IU pushed 19 total posts on Facebook in September (through 9/25), 13 of which were for the Real Men program. The Real Men posts averaged 4.7 on-page engagements per post–engaging roughly 0.1% of their total Facebook fans, while non-Real Men posts averaged nearly double the engagement with 8.2 engagements per post. The majority of Real Men engagements came from women, missing the intended target audience but inadvertently reaching the audience that they should have targeted–wives, girlfriends and mothers. The program is sound, but the channels used to convey the message could use some reevaluation.