We all know discussing health care can be a touchy subject, especially since it involves personal information. Although the subject will always remain sensitive, pharmaceutical and health care companies should not ignore the benefits of a social media presence. Creating a Facebook page can help establish your credibility as a health care expert and educate the online consumer. You want to be the number one expert, right? Here are eight tips to consider as you begin your social media marketing endeavors, particularly with Facebook:
1) Be Relevant - First, think about whether your product or service is consumer facing, or in other words, who is making the purchase decision regarding your product or service? Is it the consumer or the doctor? Remember, if you are a physician, you cannot legally discuss your work on Facebook. If your product or service is consumer facing, then Facebook makes sense for your business.
2) Be the Expert - On Facebook, your main goal is to be the health expert. Keep in mind that these days, people are searching online and doing their research before they buy a health care product. Why not give the people what they want by offering this valuable information on your Facebook page? This valuable information can include side effects and risks of a product, for example.
3) Be the Active Listener - To be successful at social media marketing, you should not focus on telling (or selling), but rather asking and listening. Engage the community with questions that are relevant to them, like, "When was the last time you had your physical done?" Get to know your audience and focus on them. Serve them in meaningful ways so they will continue to rely on you as the health expert.
4) Be Honest - Consumers are bombarded with advertising messages on a daily basis and they want companies to be honest with them. It does not matter if you are a doctor or lawyer—be a sincere professional. So instead of having sales representatives engage consumers through your Facebook page, use key personnel (doctors, scientists, etc.) to lead the discussion online. As I mentioned earlier, consumers are doing their research. If you can help them in this process, you will gain their trust.
5) Be Original - To keep people interested in your company's Facebook page, you need to keep the conversation going in terms of new topics. This goes back to the idea of engagement. You should be spreading news about upcoming products, but also continuing to ask questions as well. Focus on both activities instead of just one or the other. Visualize a visit with a patient. To find out what to recommend to a patient, you have to ask questions before you can diagnose the problem and offer a solution.
6) Be Metric-Oriented - How will you measure your social media marketing efforts? Sure you can look at the number of fans you have or how many likes you have, but that is not enough to measure your effectiveness. The real questions to ask include: 1) Are consumers actively engaging with you on your Facebook page? If so, how? 2) How many conversations are you seeing each day? Each month?
7) Be Committed - Social media marketing is not a short term marketing campaign. It is a commitment to your business and the online community. It is a commitment to your company because you are developing your brand and managing your online reputation. What is said about your firm online is not taken lightly. If you invest the time and effort into your social media marketing plan, it will pay off!
8) Be Monitoring - As a health care company, you need to monitor for adverse events in the sites you own (even your Facebook page). According to Augustine Fou, you must report four criteria in an adverse event report, per the FDA:
* 1. Who is the patient affected?
* 2. Who reported the event?
* 3. What was the adverse event?
* 4. What was the product that is suspected of causing the bad reaction?
I hope these tips will become useful to you in your social media marketing endeavors. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
Have you noticed any health care companies with their own Facebook page? Were any of these tips being used? Did you notice anything additional not mentioned above? Share your thoughts in a comment!
About Alan Moore: Alan is an Internet Marketing Consultant with ReachLocal Baltimore. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $1.2 million in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call at (877)655-3438 to schedule attp://alanmoore.ca.st/offer/36253/free-two-hour-consultation.html" target="_blank">free consultation.
For more insight, check out http://mashable.com/2011/08/08/health-pharma-facebook/