If the ultimate goal of your social media efforts is to drive more traffic through your doors, there’s no better way to do it than with a well-thought-out Facebook strategy. Here’s how:
- Get the word out. Let everyone know you’re on Facebook. Start by creating an easy-to-remember URL that directs visitors to your Facebook page (e.g., www.yourhospital.com/facebook). Then, look for opportunities to spread the word. Use posters in the waiting room, placards in exam rooms and messaging on your phone system, as well as email and text messages. Funnel patients to your group’s practice website by linking to it from Facebook. Likewise, have your website designer put a “Like” box on your website. Taking it a step further, you could pop for a Facebook “Like Ad” that targets non-fans through current fans. You only pay per click or per impression.
- Line up your bloggers. Approach your physicians as well your nonclinical providers (physical therapists, dieticians, etc.) about blogging on topics they’re passionate about. Your marketing team can then mix in some more general, “how-to” blogs that coach patients about filling out their forms or what they should bring to an appointment. Finally, think about breaking the rules. Social media browsing during work hours is usually frowned upon. But you may want to relax such a policy to allow designated employees to conduct outreach on your Facebook page.
- Build your fan base. Understand that a Facebook strategy is not a popularity contest. The key here is quality over quantity. You want to engage visitors who will “fan” the page. Giving your fans the ability to post to your page’s wall will create more engagement. Of course, always ask for action — “Please share!” or “Tell us what you think.” You can even incentivize likes with an offer such as this: “Moms, get a vaccination calendar when you like us on Facebook.” New moms could then show staff their phones to prove that they liked your Facebook page.
- Deliver the right content. One of the hardest Facebook strategies to master is the idea that you need to provide content that ’s great for patients — not you. Your Facebook page isn’t about promoting your hospital 24/7. It’s about creating a community that connects people with similar interests — whether they are cancer survivors or seniors looking to stay active. If you do it right, members of those communities will “like” your content, comment on it and — if you’re really lucky — share it!
- Tell a visual story. Use Facebook’s photo albums to show off your latest renovations or new equipment. Post a video of your chief of cardiology explaining how a heart attack is detected. Go in-depth with patient stories.
A Facebook page is the ultimate in free, easy-to-use marketing tools. Used correctly, it can strengthen your brand and provide a whole new way to connect with patients.