In 2006 Facebook business pages were the same as personal accounts with very limited options for brands to learn and adapt their marketing strategy. Early brand adopters included the likely suspects: Nike, McDonalds and others. Over the past eight years Facebook business pages have steadily evolved into distinctly different experiences with ever-changing options and functionality including Facebook Insights. Regardless of the year, the same four questions get asked by healthcare marketers responsible for maintaining a Facebook business page for a hospital.
If I Only Have Time for One Social Media Account, Why Invest in Facebook?
Healthcare organizations need to be where their audiences are. According to the PewResearch Internet Project, as of January 2014, 71% of online adults use Facebook. By far the highest usage across all social media sites with the second most used site being LinkedIn with 22%.
If you’ve had a Facebook business page for awhile already you can actually test to see if you are hitting your target audience within Facebook Insights. Simply go to your organization’s Facebook page then select Insights > People. Your Fans, People Reached, and People Engaged will all give you segmented snapshots regarding your organization’s Facebook audience. If your target audience isn’t within the age, gender, or location parameters shown in these results then that could indicate either you aren’t reaching your target audience (try a promoted post) or you aren’t providing your target audience the type of information they want (in which case you should check out the content question below).
How Do I Get More Likes?
Create an easy to find business page with relevant content. This includes building out an accurate and informative About section. If you need proof about how important this basic step is just Google search one of your competitors with a Facebook page (or yourself). Often times the second search result after the organization’s website turns out to be their Facebook page. With Google processing over 40,000 search queries every second it’s vital to have your information available when your target audience is looking for you.
Another way to make your Facebook page easily discoverable by potential fans is to add links to your page as social media icons on your homepage or in your website’s footer. Then take it even further by incorporating your Facebook page into other online and offline marketing tactics you already have such as a blog, brochures or marketing campaigns.
Again, there is always the promoted Facebook post or Facebook advertising route as well. This will get your content in front of your target audience.
What and When Should I Post?
The key is to share relevant and engaging content your target audience would want to share themselves. According to Mayo Clinic’s Health Care Social Media List, over 1,300 health-related organizations in the United States have a dedicated Facebook presence. They know that Facebook is great for community outreach and tailor their content for the exact purpose.
Again, if you’ve had a Facebook business page for awhile you can glean some information from your Facebook Insights for some help here. Go to your Facebook page then select Insights > Posts. The top data set shows you which days of the week and times during day your fans are online to help out with a starting point for the optimal timing of your posts. The bottom data set shows you posts to your page for roughly the past month. Select the Reach header to sort from highest to lowest then evaluate the type of content that has the most reach and engagement. Typically photos are the most engaging content across all Facebook page types. Try out different tactics and see what kind of posts work best for you by checking these metrics regularly.
How Do I Prove Facebook’s Value?
Social media is all about being, well, social and capitalizing on referral traffic. If having real-time interactions with your target audience isn’t justification enough for having a business page on Facebook, there are other ways to prove the value of Facebook to your organization.
Unless you are running a Facebook paid advertising campaign, Facebook Insights may not provide the type of metrics you are looking for to justify the time commitment Facebook requires. What you can do, however, is see the impact of the Facebook page in regards to inbound Web traffic to your organization’s website. If you are utilizing Google Analytics, this is done by going to your site’s GA dashboard then selecting All Referrals. This will list all inbound marketing traffic from sites other than Google. If Facebook isn’t a top source, consider the type of content you are sharing on your page. Links with images directing your audience to web pages on your site with conversion points or relevant information should definitely be tossed into your Facebook strategy.
Thanks to Google and the rise of social media, marketers can’t always control where the first interaction (and impressions) take place between their brand and their target audience. But they can and should control if it’s a positive one by being where their audiences are looking for them.
If you still have questions about how hospitals of all sizes are using social media including Facebook, check out this free eBook: Digital Marketing in Healthcare – Research Findings to Guide Your Healthcare Strategies. Also, feel free to reach out to us (you bet we are on Facebook and Twitter as well).