Sunday, April 13, 2014

How can the hospital make the Facebook experience memorable?

Facebook represents one of the more enduring social media channels that hospitals and health systems can use to engage the healthcare consumer and build their brand. As the evolution of healthcare continues unabated, brand engagement and the healthcare consumer experience is everything.

Ask the healthcare consumer to define the brand of the hospital and health system. Ask them to define the experience.  Can they define the healthcare brand in the terms such as trustworthy, innovative, compassionate, or high quality?  Can they describe the typical experience one will have when they engage the hospital or health system?  Can the employees of the organization describe the brand positively or negatively?

That is the starting point. Understanding and defining the brand attributes you want the healthcare consumer to perceive and believe. Then use Facebook to build those attributes in the minds of consumer.  Perception; leads to opinion; becomes fact.  That is what the hospital or health system should be doing on Facebook.

So here are some concrete steps to take for building brand on Facebook:

1.       Define the brand attributes and test those attributes? Don’t guess. The time for guessing or thinking you know the answer without consumer input is over in hospital and health system brand development.
2.       Understand the experience that the healthcare consumer desires.
3.       Understand the level and type of engagement that the healthcare consumer wants.
4.       Based on the data for the three steps above, create the content plan along the brand attributes, experience and engagement to be built and strengthened on Facebook. Yes, one can have three plans- brand building, experience and engagement, but all three must be highly integrated.
5.       Create content that is memorable, engaging, supports the experience and builds the brand.
6.       Create a detailed tactical execution plan and timeline. This is an ongoing marketing activity. It is not once day, week or month. It is all the time.
7.       Integrate the Facebook activities into the life and fabric of the organization and employees.  Employees can be the biggest supporters of the brand or the most negative detractors.
8.       Assign this activity to one person. If it is passed around as a group effort as just an activity in the marketing department, at some point it won’t get done.
9.       Measure, evaluate, adapt and change as you go along.
10.   Be proactive with Facebook. Flexibility is the key here. Leverage healthcare news and events that people are talking about and how the hospital and health system band fits.

Facebook and social media overall for that matter is hard. It takes focus, time, commitment, effort and resources. But done correctly, the payoff is great.

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