How your hospital is misusing Facebook and tips for improving your presence

As Director of Social Marketing at Wound Care Advantage I spend a lot of time watching how hospitals across the country are using and misusing their social media pages. Some are doing an amazing job with content creation and patient engagement. Other's are in desperate need of help and it seems that they don't even know where to start.

According to the Pew Research Center, "65 percent of adults now use social networking sites—a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade." In 2016, hospital leaders can no longer avoid having an effective social marketing plan. While teens may be leaving Facebook for platforms like SnapChat, Vine, and Periscope, Facebook continues to grow with adult populations. This means that the patient populations that you are looking to attract to your health system are most likely on Facebook. This article will cover simple tips and strategies for guiding your hospital's marketing teams to true success using Facebook marketing.

Patient Education Puts You Above Your Competitors
As a leading hospital you want to constantly be educating your healthcare population. At Wound Care Advantage, we try to make this extremely easy for our hospital clients. Marketing directors and social media managers at the hospital gain access to our proprietary operating system Luvo, which gives them the tools and resources needed to educate their patients about their wound care service line. This means that they can download wound care specific graphics, videos and infographics, which lets their existing patients know that there is a wound center. It also keeps them constantly informed on the danger of non-healing wounds, contributing factors, and healing options.

Patient Engagement Builds Loyalty
It is not enough to just educate your health population on social platforms like Facebook. Our social media team at WCA knows that an informed patient or potential patient may have a concern, problem, or complaint. Most of the time these patients just want to know someone is out there listening. If a patient posts a negative comment on your Facebook page, the best thing you can do is respond sincerely and try to move the conversation offline. Ask them to private message you a phone number where you can reach them or an email address. This approach will create much more success than simply deleting the comment. It could even result in a new advocate for your hospital.

Don't Focus Only On Likes
Many hospital executives only want to hear how many page likes the hospital's Facebook page has and if it is growing substantially. While page growth is a good sign of progress in the right direction, it is not everything. Hospitals really need to focus on creating unique content that will be memorable and useful to their audience.

Step Outside Our World Of Healthcare
Hospital social media managers and marketing directors after often focused on our world of healthcare and that is normal. However, your hospital is also part of the local community. If your community is anything like mine, there are some amazing things going on outside of your hospital's walls. Connect with other brands and share their content. Seek out those organizations doing amazing things that run parallel with your hospital's mission and help them spread the word. This value will be returned when you have a campaign that you need help spreading.

Make It Visual
Audiences on Facebook are scrolling through content as fast as their fingers will flick on their mobile phones. Make it easier on them to consume your content by posting status updates that contain graphics and videos. These types of content will get you much higher engagement rates on your posts.

Pay To Play
Marketers know that if you really want your brand to grow and reach the right audience you must take advantage of Facebook's wealth of data by paying to advertise on the platform. There are several options including boosting posts, dark posts and more. One mistake I see hospital's making often is so simple to fix. Don't spend ad dollars on targeting people who have already liked your Facebook page. It is a simple box that you click when filling out the ad. When you are paying to get new page likes with your Facebook ads you want to exclude those people who have already liked your page. Facebook dark posts are a great for running content that is geared towards getting new people to like your page. You don't want people who have already liked your page to see this content.

Do you have questions about how your hospital can improve their social media presence? Shoot me an email at and I would be glad to help.

James Calder is Director of Social Marketing at Wound Care Advantage, a wound care services company, which uses a comprehensive approach to compliant wound care strategy across the continuum of care. For more information contact him at

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