Maybe you are personally using Facebook and having fun connecting with high school and college friends, even keeping up with your kids. Perhaps you aren’t on Facebook yet (even with the insistence of friends). What is it all about and how can it be applied to the professional setting – specifically the healthcare industry?
Facebook, a free-access social networking website, is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website currently has more than 200 million users nationally.
Facebook can be a valuable marketing tool for various businesses including healthcare. One way to market your hospital on Facebook is with a Facebook Page.
Facebook Page: This is a public profile page for businesses and organizations much like individuals’ Profiles. Businesses have Pages – individuals have Profiles. Some components of a successful Page for your hospital include:
- Company overview and mission
- Photos of facility
- Link to hospital website
- Updates on what is happening at your hospital (events, screenings, announcements, etc) – very important as these automatically go to everyone who is a fan.
- Patient photos (submitted by the patient)
- Patient stories/experiences
- Videos (tours, procedures, doc interview, patient testimony, award winning commercials, staff interviews, etc)
- Social actions can be attached to a FB page to increase relevance (i.e. American Cancer Society)
- Invitations to events (including RSVP so other invitees can see who else is attending – much like evite)
- Focus Groups
Facebook is constantly developing new tools that can benefit users in both a personal and professional setting. One recent launch allows for streaming of live video on Facebook. This would be helpful for individuals wanting to attend a seminar or event but due to their health, have a difficult time with travel.
If you are not on Facebook, get involved first. Watch, read and participate on a personal level first. If you are an experienced participant it’s time to consider the possibilities that the social medium can offer in branding, building relationships, and promoting your hospital.