• Dan Hinmon

Before You Move Your Face-to-Face Support Group Online — Do This

If you're considering moving your face-to-face support group online, here's a tip: Do your research.

Many hospitals and clinics make the mistake of thinking their patients would value an online support group without actually asking them. Then they start the group and wonder why the members they've invited aren't actively engaging with one another.

Here's how to solve that problem. Call 5 or 10 or 15 potential patients and ask them a handful of important questions to discover if they'll really find the online group beneficial. These questions will separate the when-can-we-start from the not-right-now patients.

  • Do you currently belong to an online weight loss surgery group? (Ask follow-up questions. It’s important to find out if there are existing online communities that already meet your patients’ needs.)

  • Does this sound like a community you would want to be a part of? Why? Or why not? (If no, dig deeper to discover why. This is valuable information.)

  • If so, what would you hope to gain from this community?

  • Why would you go online to this community? Help others? Receive support? Get information? Connect with people like you? Ask questions? See what other people are talking about? Make new friends?

  • How many times a week do you think you would visit this community?

  • If you were to ask a question to this community today, what would it be?

  • Would you find this community helpful in your life?

If you find a patient who is eager to become a member of this online support group, there's one final question you'll want to ask:

  • Would you consider being a founding member of this community?

A founding member should be willing to participate for the first 3 months by

  • visiting the group each day

  • posting 2 or 3 times a week

  • commenting regularly on others’ posts

If you do this research you'll have a clear idea of whether your online support group will be a success.

Hive Strategies provides expert advice for Facebook support groups to hospitals and clinics. Contact us for a free consultation.

Hive Strategies | PO Box 873 | Manchester, WA 98353