With more than 10 million users in Australia alone and 500 million global users, Facebook is one of the most influential websites in the world. Increasingly, patients are researching their condition and treatment approach online and Facebook is a very useful resource to share experiences with others and to gain further insights. Here are some simple ways that you can maximise engagement on your Facebook business page.
Focus on your audience and their needs
As with any marketing and communications messaging, it’s important to focus on the outcomes and your audience. Who are you talking to and engaging with on your Facebook page, and what would they value from you? If you have a range of insights that you deliver to clients as part of your services, consider seeding some of these into your Facebook page. Be clear about who you are talking to and be sure to offer them something of ‘value’ – whether that be expert advice, topical news or an offer.
Plan your posts
Publishing valuable content on your business Facebook page is crucial to maximise the audience’s engagement. Scheduling what you want to say and when you want to say it avoids repetition and ensures you integrate different aspects of your communications plan on the Facebook page. Planning content avoids any last minute panics and translates to higher quality posts and enables consistent messaging. The most effective way to do this is to create a content calendar and set aside time each week/month to plan what you are going to say.
Good content is crucial
It seems obvious, but if you publish good quality content, people will return to your Facebook page and will share links with their friends. Here are some top tips to encourage engagement:
1) Include links to support your message
2) Be personal – your page is the face of your organisation or your brand
3) Be active and update your page frequently
4) Engage with your audience. If someone asks a question ensure you answer it
5) Have a social media framework in place in case anyone posts defamatory content
6) When publishing health specific content, remember it must comply must with the ASMI, MA, TGA codes and other relevant industry regulations
7) Monitor your page – if someone publishes spam, immediately delete it
8) Think about what would add value to the audience, e.g. a tip of the day may demonstrate your expertise as well as be of use to the audience
9) Upload varied content, this could include videos and podcasts
Frequency of posting
It is the quality of content, not the quantity that matters. Research shows that businesses who post weekly on their Facebook page get the same result as those who post daily. Always think about the time of day you post content and when your key audience is available.
So what does this mean for the pharma industry?
Pharmaceutical companies face the challenge to host a branded Facebook page which complies with industry regulations and also acts as a forum where patients can have a two way dialogue. The FDA, ASMI, TGA and MA is yet to determine official guidelines for pharmaceutical brands operating in digital media, so understandably, pharmaceutical companies are cautious in their decision making about how to use Facebook pages as part of their marketing strategy.
As a business, it is important to be within the digital space that your key audience is using. Many organisations are hosting successful unbranded Facebook pages – take a look at the Australian Women’s confidential page from makers of Canesten®. This site is positioned as the “modern girls survival guide offering advice fashion, beauty and health tips.”
The Can you feel my pain? page developed by Pfizer is an exemplary unbranded Facebook page raising awareness about chronic pain and working in collaboration with leading patient and citizen organisations across Europe.
Evidently, there are strategies to host engaging Facebook pages that educate patients and do not contravene regulatory guidelines.