Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Distinction between social marketing and Social Media – a telling point

Please see below for a story from today’s Daily Telegraph. This includes some pretty damning comments from a Liberal Democrat MP and the Taxpayers Alliance, completely missing the point about what social marketing is.

As well as misinterpreting this as 'Social Media marketing', in my opinion those commenting seem to be missing the point that effective social marketing in the NHS is largely about saving money! is always happy to receive and publish the comments of others, so please contact and we’d be happy to share your thoughts with the 300+ regular visitors to this blog.

Source: Daily Telegraph

By Nigel Bunyan

Published: 12:43PM BST 15 Jul 2009

Health officials spend £30 million on Twitter and Facebook marketing campaign

Health officials have spent £30 million on advertising campaigns that will include networking on Twitter and Facebook, prompting criticism that the money could be better used in frontline services.

The budget, which will be spent over three years, has been set aside by the NHS in the North West.

It will help 50 organisations raise public awareness on such issues as healthy eating, the dangers of alcohol, and sexual health.

Up to eight public relations companies are being hired to devise suitable campaigns.

Critics say the money would be better spent on more direct ways of making patients better.

Dr John Pugh, the Liberal Democrat MP for Southport, said: "Blowing millions on marketing and Twitter is not how people want money spent. This amount of money could be spent on far better things than social networking and flashy websites. These do not make people better. Better standards of basic care in hospitals and reductions in health waiting lists are the biggest problems in the North West and these should be the priority. There is a real shortage of basic staff in every hospital - not surgeons or sophisticated doctors, but basic staff who need to be around when people just need ordinary types of care."

The Taxpayers' Alliance also criticised the spending. Its spokesman, Susie Squire, said: "The NHS is under strain so we need to prioritise life-saving operations above frittering away money on this sort of PR. When it comes to delivering health care messages you should always go for the most efficient method and not the most fashionable."

She added: "The NHS needs to go back to listening to what patients want which is better quality health care and not swanky marketing. People are going to look at this and say 'Why are you spending £30 million on marketing and PR when I can't get the right cancer drugs or a hip operation?'"

NHS North West said the £30 million figure was an estimate of what might be spent if 50 or so organisations pooled their resources.

A spokesman added: "Social marketing is about influencing behaviour through different projects and different campaigns not just social networking or Social Media. The marketing may include social sites like Twitter and Facebook, but there is so much more (available). It works out at around £150,000 per year, per organisation, which is around £1.07 per year per head of population."


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