I serve on the board of directors of my local downtown association. It is a mixed group of merchants and professionals of various ages and diverse backgrounds.
As I walked into our last board meeting, our 60+ year-old treasurer congratulated me on my daughter’s recent wedding. I was surprised that she was even aware of the event, until she explained, “I saw her photos on Facebook. She looked beautiful!”
Half an hour into the meeting we were discussing the upcoming Christmas parade. The organizer was looking for volunteers. “Do you have Jean Elmore on your list?” asked one of the board members. “No, how do you know?” the organizer wondered. “She posted it on Facebook this morning.” As I looked around the room, two other 50-something women nodded in agreement.
Keep in mind that this meeting started at 7:30 a.m.
Facebook is the giant of social media. You know that there are more than 500 million Facebook users. But did you know that the average U.S. Internet user spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia and Amazon combined. And that the fastest growing segment of Facebook users is the boomer generation?
If you do not have a Facebook page for your hospital, you are simply missing out.
According to hospital social media’s elder statesman Ed Bennett, 701 U.S. hospitals host a Facebook page.
Certainly there are risks. But careful planning can minimize those risks. Recently Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page contained dozens of negative comments regarding controversial comments by a Mayo physician. They weathered the storm admirably, thanks to a proactive approach and a clear comment policy.
Don’t let fear stop you. Every day you wait you miss an opportunity. Download our How to Engage Patients in a Facebook Community e-book. Set a clear policy, then take the leap. Reach out to your patients through Facebook. Trust your community.