- Posted by Richard Iurilli
- On July 15, 2015
- Social media
For Facebook users frustrated with their news feeds, last week’s announcement that they can now choose who they “See First” when they visit the site was a welcome one.
The new feature is only available for iPhone users right now, but it’ll be available for Android and web users soon. It builds upon the “balanced” news feed algorithm that rolled out a few months ago, finally giving users direct control over the people and pages they actually want to see. For hospital marketers, this change could be a real opportunity to reach patients and caregivers in your community with the information they need.
Now, I’m not saying that fans of your hospital’s main page will be clamoring to add your posts to their “See First” list. Even if you’re pushing out great content, your audience is too diverse for every shared link and blog post to be a relevant one. Instead, the opportunity lies with specialized pages and support groups for very specific health issues or topics.
Considering how many people look online for health and wellness information, specialized pages are the perfect way to reach communities—and not just local ones. You have the chance to connect patients with both the experts at your hospital and other people like themselves, positioning yourself as a leading provider of information and builder of community. If you’re already using Facebook to run this kind of support network, your members might even welcome the option to add the page to their “See First” list so they don’t miss anything, and if you’re not, there’s never been a better time to start.
Identify a service line to test
In a perfect world with unlimited time and resources, you might start social support groups for each of your hospital’s service lines. In the real world, however, you’ll probably want to pick one service line you’re trying to promote first so you can focus your marketing efforts.
For this kind of page, there’s no reason to limit your promotion only to members of your local community. Patients and caregivers everywhere are eager to learn about similar experiences shared by people like them, and even with all the healthcare review sites out there these days, personal referrals and word of mouth—or written message—still play a big part in healthcare decisions.
By facilitating such conversations, you can provide patients and prospective patients with a valuable resource that they’ll return to again and again, and the “See First” option allows them to see updates front and center in their news feeds. And because such content is so specialized, members can be sure that every post will be relevant and informative. It’s the perfect opportunity to establish your hospital as a leader in its area.
Facebook news roundup
If you’re looking for other ways to engage your Facebook and Twitter followers, you may be interested in a Pew Research Center study showing that social networks are growing in popularity as news sources. While healthcare isn’t named as a specific topic in the study, it found that one in 10 American adults gets news from Twitter while four in 10 get it from Facebook. While you obviously won’t want to flood your followers with complex health studies, mixing simple explanations of big developments in with your other content could be a welcome change of pace.
Meanwhile, an Adobe report shows that Facebook users find targeted advertisements on the site to be more relevant than those on YouTube, and that clickthrough rates on such ads are rising dramatically even as reach decreases—surely good news as you try to sell your ad budget internally.