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Will Facebook’s Changes Affect Your Hospital’s Social Strategy?

January 18, 2018
hospital advertising, POV, Social Media, Strategy, Tradigital

Facebook made headlines on Thursday after co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on his personal page that the platform would undergo significant changes in 2018. The algorithm, which chooses the posts users see, will start to prioritize posts from friends versus that of businesses, brands, and publishers as soon as this week. The move is intended to improve the role Facebook plays in people’s lives and in society, ultimately affecting how content is created and the cost of advertising. As your dedicated agency partner, we’ve cut through the online chatter to share exactly what these changes mean for you and what you can do right now to keep your social strategy aligned with your organization’s goals. 

Overview

Facebook has long been aware of the implications that social media has on mental health. Studies show that passively scrolling through content can spur negative feelings, while personally connecting to people does the opposite. These findings were not taken lightly. Zuckerberg has made it his personal mission this year to create an environment on Facebook that is conducive to “meaningful interactions.”

By making a dramatic change to its algorithm, the company hopes to spark conversations and engagement to make you feel like your time was well spent on Facebook. It will do so by looking at your interactions (reactions, comments, shares) and ranking posts to determine which to display and prioritize on your feed. 

The changes will:

  • Increase the number of posts you see from family and friends;
  • Increase social interactions and engagement on posts that are “conversational”; and
  • Increase advertising costs (pay-for-play will continue to play a major role in content viewability).


And inevitably:

  • Decrease the number of ads seen and eliminate spam/click-bait posts;
  • Decrease time spent on Facebook;
  • Decrease post reach;
  • Decrease website referral traffic; and
  • Decrease video watch time.


The impact it will have on non-personal users will vary depending on the content they currently producing and audience interaction.

Recommendations

If Facebook has always been part of your online presence, your efforts have not gone by the wayside. This will, however, change how you do things moving forward. To remain successful, you need to focus on the roots of social media and cultivate relationships within your online community. You’ll need to adapt quickly as the effect on reach will begin to happen quickly if you are not putting thought into your content.

Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your efforts on Facebook in the new environment:

  1. Create a Facebook strategy around sparking interactions. Simply pushing out posts for the sake of getting something out there will no longer do you any good. Instead, focus on listening, engaging and creating content that your audience will want to interact with.
  2. Respond to comments. It doesn’t take a whole team to simply acknowledge people who have taken the time to talk to your brand. Leverage those connections and relationship build one person at a time for lasting effects. 
  3. Live streaming is entertaining, real, and always unique. Use this functionality to bring life to your voice.
  4. Do not automate your efforts by scheduling out posts or recycling content. Facebook is about connecting with humans, so mimic your pages’ behavior to stay present and social. 
  5. Stay away from engagement bait such as “read more” or “like this” in your post copy to avoid having your posts “demoted” in News Feed.
  6. Well-thought-out creative for organic posts and ads will always stand-out. 
  7. Look at your Insights tab regularly to see what is working and what is not. Focus on measuring and improving your content performance post-by-post.


The task to get these things done right away does not have to be a daunting one. The team at Brown Parker & DeMarinis Advertising specializes in helping hospitals and health systems use social media to better engage with their audience when it matters most. Contact us to discuss how we can help you navigate through these changes and maximize your efforts in the space.

You can read Mark Zuckerberg’s original post below:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fzuck%2Fposts%2F10104413015393571&width=750

Christine Senke

Christine is a Social Media Strategist at BPD. She’s spent the last decade working on creative healthcare marketing and communications strategies that not only impact the bottom-line, but better engage each stage of the patient journey. Christine holds a B.S. degree in Health Services Administration from Florida International University and is currently in the process of completing a Master’s program focused on Health Communication at Boston University.

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