Avoid Facebook Failure: Three Questions To Ask Before You Start a Facebook Page

Social media is definitely grabbing the attention of hospital CEOs. We can tell because of the number of marketing directors who are telling us “My CEO wants a Facebook page. Can you set one up?”

Response: Deep cleansing breath.

Although I’m glad that Facebook and other social media tools are getting the attention they deserve, simply launching a Facebook page to have a Facebook page is a big, big mistake.

Can you imagine your CEO saying, “Quick, put up a billboard!” Or, “Quick, create a radio spot.” You might have a few questions first.

Facebook is littered with hospitals that started a Facebook page without a plan or strategy. In fact, of the 900+ hospital and healthcare related Facebook pages analyzed by UbiCare, a healthcare content provider, nearly 250 of them had NO meaningful activity in the past week.

When the whole purpose of a Facebook page is to engage with a community you care about, these hospitals are sending one clear message: We don’t care about you!

So before you do anything, avoid the repercussions of being a Facebook failure by asking these three critical questions:

Why have a Facebook fan page?

Clearly define how your Facebook page will leverage your overall marketing objectives. What do you want your Facebook page to accomplish? Do you want to educate and connect with your patients? Promote a certain service or event? Monitor what is being said about your hospital? Build rapport with your hospital?

Identify what you hope to achieve through your fan page that you can not accomplish in other social media platforms, like blogs, e-newsletters, Twitter or a YouTube channel – or in traditional marketing channels such as newsletters, TV, radio or outdoor.

Who will manage your page?

Assess your staff. Decide who will be in charge of managing your Facebook page, whether it’s one person or several. It is important that whomever you assign has enough time. Successful hospitals spend two or more hours a day managing their Facebook page. In addition to posting content, he or she will need to spend time monitoring and responding to fan posts, regulating photos uploaded by fans, determining what time of the day and which type of posts get the most attention, and making sure that your content is up to date and useful.

What is your “it” factor?

Why does anyone care about your hospital? Why would they want to be a fan? Think about your hospital and employees and determine what you can provide on your fan page that will keep fans coming back for more. Start by making a list of the unique aspects of your hospital. Develop ideas that will make great fan page content.

Think of your patients first and your hospital second.

The road to Facebook success

When you have carefully answered these three questions, you’re on the road to Facebook success. And when your CEO says, “Let’s put up a Facebook page,” you’ll be able to give him or her some excellent advice on how to avoid Facebook failure.


Visit our What We Think page to download our free e-book, “How to Engage Patients in a Facebook Community.”





4 replies
  1. Dan Hinmon, Principal
    Dan Hinmon, Principal says:

    Thanks for the great reminder, Bill, about first impressions. The issue of resources is an important one for hospitals to come to terms with. To do social media well takes investment of time and money.

  2. Bill Lindsay
    Bill Lindsay says:

    Sage advice (as usual), Dan. As we’ve discussed in the past, you only have one chance to make a first impression, and making a bad one is hard to undo. In the social media sphere, a neglected FB page can leave a bad impression. Yet, with planning and follow through, social media channels (Facebook in particular), can support a hospital’s strategic initiatives in ways that are both unique to the channel (in terms of connection, education, conversation and support) and complementary to other channels of outreach (i.e., the “integration” we’ll be hearing much more about in coming months).

    Despite impressions to the contrary by some, an effective social media effort does require some resources. And while there are services, like UbiCare, that can support that effort, it does require thought, attention and responsiveness. Thanks again for your succinct and spot-on advice in this regard.

  3. Dan Hinmon, Principal
    Dan Hinmon, Principal says:

    Nice addition to features that can really add to a hospital’s “it” factor, Betsy. Appreciate your comments!

  4. Betsy Weaver Ed.D.
    Betsy Weaver Ed.D. says:

    Good points, Dan. I would add that when hospital marketers are making their list of unique differentiators, they shouldn’t overlook the intangibles, such as the hospital’s volunteers, the quiet place to relax with a patient, the food, the wifi – all of these things are part of the patient experience and they are attributes that let patients know you care about them. Don’t underestimate the value of these.


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