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Should healthcare marketers #deletefacebook?

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

With the recent news about Facebook sharing personal information, you (or your bosses) might be concerned about using Facebook as a healthcare marketing tactic. Your concerns are legitimate, but not for the reasons you might think.

While some high-profile users, such as Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, and Cher, joined the #deletefacebook movement, it appears the campaign was more talk than action. It’s too early to tell how many people actually left Facebook (or altered personal data), but leading indicators don’t seem to support a mass exodus.

According to SimilarWeb’s app usage rankings as of June 29, 2018, Facebook remained the most used free app in the U.S. on Android platforms and was holding steady at No. 10 on iOS platforms over the previous 30 days. (To understand the complicated Facebook web that makes going cold turkey nearly impossible, read this Vox article by Aja Romano.)

Even though your audience remains on Facebook, how they interact has changed. Many users are more reluctant than ever to share personal information — not just on Facebook but across the web. For some, this is purely a concern about sharing personal info; for others, it’s marketing fatigue. For most, it’s both.

Now more than ever, you need to carefully consider your healthcare marketing strategy on social media and make these five adjustments:

1. Don’t collect info directly in Facebook. Instead, take an interested reader to your website and clearly outline your privacy policy in simple, concise language before asking for personal information.

2. Opt in for opt-in. On May 25, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations were enacted, requiring organizations to obtain explicit and informed consent to collect personal data. While this currently applies only to EU citizens, we think it’s good content marketing policy. One option to get started is to ask the user on your lead gen form to give you permission to email him or her the specific offer AND separately ask the user to give you permission to send additional marketing content in the future.

3. Ungate your content or at least partially ungate it. If you’ve seen a decline in your website leads, you should consider ungating your content. While you won’t get the user name and IP address for measurement purposes, you will be distributing valuable content to more people who can then turn into patients. Partially ungating your content is another option. If you’re using a CMS like HubSpot, you can easily post the initial few pages of a guide; then request the user’s name and email to download the full report. If your CMS is a bit more complicated, SnapApp is beta testing a program that allows you to embed qualifying questions throughout a PDF, asking for lead data after viewers have determined that the offer is valuable to them. 

4. Remember the 5:3:2 rule. While you should have always been doing this, it’s now more important than ever because you need your audience to interact with your posts — and they are much more likely to do so about a broader range of content, particularly content that doesn’t ask them for information. (In case you are unfamiliar with it, the 5:3:2 rule says that for every 10 social media posts, five should be from other sources relevant to your audience; three can be about content you’ve created specifically for your audience; and two posts should be personal, fun posts that humanize your brand.)

5. Remember that Facebook is a social media platform. It’s best used to connect people — those people can be groups of patients, caregivers, or supporters. Tailor your content to their interests. Posts about physicians and staff members are especially popular and can be done with a simple phone photo and just a few words.


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