How Social Is Your Hospital Facebook Page? Three Tips to Maximize Effectiveness

When was the last time you did a wellness check on your Facebook page? Performing an annual in-depth review of your page insights, content focus, and strengths and weaknesses will shine a powerful light on what is and isn’t working. However, performing the following three activities on a weekly basis will maximize the value of your social media efforts by growing your audience, increasing engagement and achieving more effective storytelling – and, yes, driving new business.

1. Grow followers with this ridiculously simple move

How many “likes” do you have this month as compared to last month, or last year at this time? If you’re looking to fast track that number (and who isn’t?), Facebook now makes it even easier to grow your audience by allowing you to quickly invite new followers who already have you on their radar – and it won’t cost you a single penny. Click on one of your more popular posts; then click on the number of reactions – not the number reached, but the reactions (like, loves, etc.). The pop-up window easily identifies those who already “like” your page and others you can click to “invite.” Fair warning: You may find yourself trigger happy and clicking everything in sight for every post you’ve ever made, but be careful of inviting too many too fast or Facebook may think you’re a bot and temporarily block you from this nifty feature.

2. Increase engagement rate by sharing timely content that evokes emotion.

Are you just blaring at your page guests or are you hosting a full-on engagement party? Do this. Click on your page “Publishing Tools” and you’ll see an easy to read display of your latest posts along with a progress bar for reach and clicks/actions. What were your most popular posts and what were their general content categories? Typical Facebook content for hospitals often includes the sharing of general health and wellness information, hospital programs and services, and announcements for support groups, events and classes. Sound familiar? While helpful and absolutely important to share, these posts often result in one-sided conversation with little to no engagement. Add a healthy dose of organic content that evokes emotion. For example: employee, volunteer and physician recognition posts with photos and video of real people and activity often resonate more with your internal audiences who will respond eagerly with reactions, comments and shares (think of employee awards, clinicians who recently published papers/articles and those who attended intriguing conferences). Similarly, sharing photos and video of patient milestones such as a final chemo treatment celebration or a discharge after a lengthy stay will move both internal and external audiences. You’ll feel like a rock star when you see those engagement numbers soar.

But we’re not finished yet.

Go back to “Publishing Tools.” Did something you shared surprise you by not hitting the mark? Perhaps your timing was off when you posted it. Do this. Go to Insights ⇒ Posts ⇒ When your fans are online. We’re willing to bet it shows higher activity between the hours of 6 – 9 p.m., not 10 a.m. or noon’ish. If your post was shared at an off time, try posting it again when more fans are online. Remember, Facebook allows you to schedule posts ahead of time so they appear when you need them to, including outside of normal business hours when you’re not working.

Posting consistency is important, too. A minimum of once a day to a maximum of three is best. Always include a link, a photo and/or a video for better reach.

3. Foster internal brand ambassadors to funnel storytelling opportunities – because it takes a village.

If you don’t catch the good stuff while it’s happening (or soon after), your audience will become bored and change the channel. So how do you keep your finger on the pulse of the hospital? Seek out key staff and volunteers who can help you by funneling meaningful information in a timely fashion. Does your Pediatric unit have Child Life Specialists? Do you have an active Volunteer department? Engage them. Share the varied kinds of information you are looking for so they can be on the lookout, take photos for you, obtain signed consent forms, etc. Ensure that everyone is trained to follow proper HIPAA compliance protocols as well as your hospital social media policy.

Good luck – and let us know how it’s going!