Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the  intersection of Social Media and Healthcare. Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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10 essentials of Facebook etiquette for Medical Practices

10 essentials of Facebook etiquette for Medical Practices | Social Media and Healthcare |

Some brands have mastered the art of Facebook marketing; others, not so much. As with any social media platform, there are rules by which we should abide. 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve offered etiquette advice for LinkedInTwitter, and Pinterest. It’s Facebook’s turn. 

On this platform, there’s one protocol for brands and another for individuals. The tips below land somewhere in between and apply to both groups: 

1. Stop asking people to “like” your updates. A few years ago, it was common to see posts that started with “Like this post if…” Sadly, it’s still common. Create remarkable content. and people will like it—and “like” it. 

If you think about it, a “like” is an empty action—the simplest form of engagement. Asking for people to like your status is cheap and adds no value to your fans’ news feeds. 

2. Don’t overpost. Quite simply, if you clog up news feeds, people are going to hide, unsubscribe, and even “unlike” your brand’s page. 

The same goes for your personal page. Obviously, we’re all free to give our friends as many updates about our lives as we want, but you should beware of the consequences. 

3. Keep those hashtags to a minimum. We’re not exactly sure how hashtags are affecting brand engagement on Facebook, given that they were introduced just this summer. But the same advice we gave for Twitter holds true for Facebook: Make sure your hashtags are relevant and not excessive. 

4. When tragedy strikes, just shut up. We’ve dedicated entire posts to this, but there’s no reason brands should post when national/global tragedy strikes. Sending “thoughts and prayers” to the people in the affected area also feels a little thin—garnering engagement that way smacks of desperation. A better technique would be to offer your audience a way to help in the form of donations, etc. 

5. Don’t be patronizing. Condescending Corporate Brand Page has become my favorite destination on Facebook. It offers so many examples of what not to do. It’s also clear by looking at all the posts they call out that we seem to be running out of new ideas on how to engage on Facebook. 

6. There’s a fine line between real-time marketing and “brandjacking.” For brand pages, Oreo’s foray into real-time marketing during the Super Bowl power outage was great—but it was also a bit destructive overall. It inspired a ton of imitators, and their attempts at real-time marketing aren’t always relevant; they can be downright spammy. Not sure what we’re talking about? Check out this story about real-time marketing during the Oscars. 

7. Keep it positive. This one goes for the personal and the brand side. As much as you want to rant on your page, consider your audience and whether they’re really interested in hearing you. 

Ask yourself: Are we sharing this content because it serves us or our audience? 

8. No one wants to visit your brand’s mobile unfriendly Facebook tab. No one. 

9. When there’s a PR issue on your page, the worst thing to do is stay silent. So often, brands will shut down all Facebook communication when they’re facing any kind of backlash. You’re only going to exacerbate the problem by staying silent. Respond, even if it’s just along these lines: “We hear you. We’re working on it.” 

10. Personalize your reply to people who take the time to contact you. Whether it’s a direct message or a comment, the response should never be rote. Seldom does a “Thanks!” suffice. Every person who comments on your page represents an opportunity for a personal connection. Make that connection special, and you’ve got a fan for life. 

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Medical Group Practice Marketing: 5 Common Facebook Pitfalls

Medical Group Practice Marketing: 5 Common Facebook Pitfalls | Social Media and Healthcare |

With marketing efforts increasingly shifting to online activities like blogging and search optimization,
marketers at medical group practices need to keep up and be able to communicate effectively with their large patient base and future prospective patients. One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others make it so much easier for you to communicate, connect, and nurture all of your patient leads. This can be especially effective in group practices who have the critical mass to enjoy greater engagment from social media activity. The biggest social media site is, of course, Facebook.

However, you need to make sure that your Facebook marketing is tip top or you won't see the results you're trying so hard to achieve. There are major pitfalls that all group practices need to be wary of. When you avoid these pitfalls, your online marketing and social media will start to produce a real,measurable ROI.

1. Not Being Interactive

The biggest key of social media is going to be the first part of the word itself: social. If you're not making an effort to respond and interact with your Facebook fans, then you risk appearing like an organization that has poor service. This is especially true if patients are actively seeking and reaching out to your page with questions and concerns that go unanswered.

Instead, establish a policy that includes prompt timing when it comes to responding to posts on Facebook. The most ideal time frame would be within just a few hours. It may seem obvious, but you should train employees to treat patients on Facebook just as you would if they were calling you, courteously and professionally. Otherwise, they are going to have a bad memory associated with your practice.

  • Word of bad experiences travels fast on social media. 

2. No-Show Group Practices

When you create a Facebook page, the next step in the process is posting frequently enough to give a little reminder to patients that you're active on their news feed. Ideally, you will want to post content (special promotions, original content, articles, and the like) at least once a day, even asking
 a simple question or mentioning an interesting article can be enough to touch base with your patients.

Facebook allows you to schedule all of your posts for certain hours of the day, making the task of posting something that can be handled in small blocks of time.

  • Having a page on Facebook that looks like a ghost town leaves a bad impression of your organization.

3. Not Considering Your Facebook Audience

It is important to recognize what type of services your medical group practice provides and who your actual audience on Facebook is. Let's consider the example of an oral and maxillofacial surgery group. 

Like many groups, their Facebook community is made up mostly of patients who have come into the office for a procedure and were compelled to "Like" the group on Facebook. So far everything is great, working just like it should. However, many of the patients at an oral surgery group practice are coming in for a procedure like dental implants or wisdom teeth removal. These patients hope to never have to come in again for these procedures. 

Posting articles on Facebook about dental implants may fall on deaf ears, so to speak. Sure, your fans may hit "like" or even share the article with others. However, these are patients who have already come in for implants. You're presenting the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time. 

A better approach may be to discuss the implant maintenance and cleaning program your office just developed. Or promote cosmetic services like Botox, something a Facebook fan may still have interest in. 

  • Are your Facebook messages aimed at the right audience? 

4. Not Keeping It Somewhat Casual

Facebook is all about connecting with others and, sometimes, posting some lighthearted stuff. When most people are following brands, including group practices, they may be seeking out deals or "incentives," or they may be searching for helpful information about their health situation.

However, not lightening things up a bit from time to time will quickly make your business seem boring to your Facebook fans. While there needs to be a level of appropriateness, you can still keep it casual by discussing things that aren't directly related to work. Posting about how to eat healthy at a Fourth of July cookout while still enjoying yourself, for example. 

  • Is your Facebook page engaging and lighthearted enough to keep people's interest?

5. Posting Too Often

Yes, I just said to be careful and make sure you post often enough. However, there is a fine line and once it is crossed, your business actually starts to annoy people. A good rule of thumb is to post no more than 3-5 times per day. We know that Facebook does not show your posts to all of your fans. That said, people will get put off if your medical group practice is posting 2-3 times an hour with seemingly irrelevant information. 

  • Keep a close eye on the comments. If you start to read that people are getting annoyed it may be time to pull back on the throttle.

Avoid these pitfalls and your group practices will go very far with their social media. In fact, it can make everything seem a lot more fun!

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