What Makes a Successful Hospital Facebook Page?

By one measure, Adam Lee runs one of the most successful hospital Facebook pages in the U.S., and he does it in just two to four hours a week.

Adam is social media coordinator for Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, and the measure is engagement. The Facebook page he manages consistently ranks in the top 5% of U.S. hospitals for engagement, according to the Ubicare EQ chart. (We’ve written before about Ubicare here and here.)

In a recent interview, Adam shared some important insights into how to build engagement. Some of his comments are edited for brevity. (You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamLeeDesign.) 

The key to engagement is providing value

Whether it’s for Twitter or Facebook or anything we’re doing in the social space, I want to always make sure I’m providing value. That means different things on different channels. Adding value for the users is the most important thing.

With something like Hurricane Sandy, there are so many other sources of information for people, and because it’s not local it’s not a huge priority for me. I don’t know what value I would be adding by talking about it.

I watch our Facebook page Insights to see what people respond to and also use a tool called Sprout Social. It’s a basic social media monitoring tool that helps show engagement, shows what days of the week are good times to engage, and what hour of the day.

Capitalize on what’s working

Keep an eye on what’s working, and capitalize on that. And keep an eye on what’s not working.

For us, postings about department awards have helped. Our employees love to see those, and it helps with branding and public perception. We see a lot of nice engagement from the community.

Some of the links to health articles that I thought would be good have not always turned out to be a good thing, so I’ve become a little more sparing in the information I present in that way.

Photos are very successful – videos not so much

Photos are the most successful type of posts for us. Photos grab people’s attention as they scroll through their timeline. It’s something they can glance at for a split second and find out if they want to read more.

Sometimes if I have a link that I want to share, I’ll actually share a photo and put a link in the copy with that photo. That seems to get more engagement than just posting a link.

I thought videos would create higher engagement, but they’re really not doing that. I think it’s just a bigger time commitment for people. Even if it’s a 30 second video, that’s 28 seconds longer than it takes to look at a photo.

Post once or twice a day, five or six days a week

I’ve found a sweet spot at one to two times a day, five or six days a week. I think that keeps people interested and watching us without overwhelming them. It does seem like people start to grow tired of the messages if you’re doing it three or more times a day.

I read over and over that people are missing an opportunity by not posting on Sundays, but at least for our audience that has not been the case. We really don’t see a lot of engagement, feedback or views on Sunday.

What about questions, surveys and contests?

If I can ask a question on a post without it sounding awkward or forced, I do that. That definitely helps with engagement.

Although I’ve tried them a few times, I’ve gotten very little response on surveys. Not everything is going to be a home run.

In terms of contests, I haven’t done much of that. There’s some opportunity there, but it also creates more work on my end. I don’t have a lot of time to pick the cutest baby or whatever, and I’m also really not interested in a  “become a fan and win an iPad” contest. If you’re just becoming a fan of my page for a contest, you’re not going to be interested in anything else I post.

Facebook ads can drive activity

This week we’ve been running Facebook ads to promote events or classes that we hold. The ads drive people to a specific event on our Facebook page, rather than to our website.

People like to stay on Facebook, and Facebook gives us better rates and shows our ads to more people if we keep them in Facebook. We get a better response if we’re keeping it all within the Facebook eco system.

I promote posts regularly as well, to get more engagement or if it’s an important message for the hospital to get the word out on events or a class or a new service line.

Keep your eye on the goal

Building my fan count is not the goal. I’m not interested in just growing our account, because I think that does a disservice to the people in the community. We’re not going to attract the same sort of people that we’ve built the community around.

Building a community of people who are interested in what we do and growing that number is the goal.

What we do

Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.

2 replies
  1. Adam
    Adam says:

    Thanks so much for the post Dan. It’s been a fun challenge to create engaging content for our social media channels. The opportunities to connect with people online are really changing the way that people think about healthcare and the way we’re able to provide care. It’s an honor to be a part of it.

    • Dan Hinmon, Principal
      Dan Hinmon, Principal says:

      I really like the big picture you paint, Adam, along with all the details. When it’s all said and done, the more we can connect with patients and their families the better care we can provide. Facebook and and other platforms are important, but only in that they allow us to make those important connections/engagements. Thank you for your very useful insights!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *