Facebook is an important platform for patient engagement and professional networking among medical professionals.
But with the numerous changes that have taken place this year, healthcare marketers have had to think of creative ways to add interest to their Timeline. Highlighting their brand’s key events, milestones, activities and patient stories in a valuable, entertaining and engaging way hasn’t been easy and along the way some noteable mistakes have been made.
Here are six common Facebook mistakes that medical brands made in 2012:
#1. Boring Content
Too many medical and healthcare brands were guilty of over-posting articles and links to articles. Facebook is the most ‘social’ platform of all and people want to see, read, and share interesting stuff. Articles are boring and are rarely shared on Facebook. A better way to engage fans on your page is to share pictures instead.
#2. Tumble Weed Pages
There’s nothing worse than having a dead Facebook page. Many medical pages on Facebook were guilty of serious neglect with latest posts dating back weeks or even months ago. Posting infrequently kills your Edgerank (the system that controls content visibility on your network’s News Feed).
The way to improve visibility on Facebook is to keep your page alive by frequently sharing stories that are interesting to your fans. Here’s an example of a hospital page that knows what they’re doing.
#3. No Vanity URL
A lot of medical pages still did not have a vanity URL (username) and are using the same old default URL given by Facebook when they first signed up. This looks tacky and unprofessional.
Remember that once you have 25 fans you are able to claim a dedicated username for your page. This comes in handy when you’re directing people to your Facebook page from other sources. You don’t want them to type in a URL that’s long and awkward and looks more like your bank’s routing number. If you need help changing your URL here’s how to do it.
#4. No images
People on Facebook love pictures and visual content remains the number one way to engage with your network. Medical brands seem to be struggling with this principle. Without pictures fewer people will ‘Like’ your page or share your content.
Have a photographer (or staff member) walk around your facility and take interesting pictures such as physicians in their ‘native’ environment, staff members during coffee break, special events, dinners, award-ceremonies, conferences and so on.
#5. Not using Facebook features and apps
Healthcare brands were still lagging behind in their use of custom tabs for highlighting interesting content. With Timeline we no longer have a default landing page but you can still draw attention to your free resources, YouTube videos or other great content by using the (four) custom tabs underneath the header image (or cover photo). Custom tabs are fun and easy to create – here is a wonderful guide to get you started.
#6. No personality
Medical and healthcare pages were notorious for being dull and faceless. Just because you have to be careful about what you say on Facebook doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show some personality and excitement about what you do.
Once in a while ask your fans short, entertaining questions to keep them engaged. Feature your ‘Fan of the week’ every Friday, or share compelling quotes and words of encouragement for those who are sick or hurting. Nurture your Facebook community by educating them and sharing ‘human interest’ stories while still maintaining your humor, lightheartedness, and sense of empathy.
Over to you: Are you guilty of making some of these mistakes? Share in the box below what lessons you have learned.
Yvonne Barber is the Wordsmith & Content Marketeer for Design Theory, a Florida-based web design firm that provides social media management, email, domain registration, and graphic design services. Aside from writing content for client websites, brochures, and all marketing communications Yvonne blogs weekly for Design Theory on various subjects and across several social media channels.