BREAKING NEWS: What healthcare professionals need to know about changes to Facebook
Facebook has just updated its own platform. On 11 January, Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced significant changes to the Facebook news feed which will impact businesses, brands and media pages. Anyone with a Facebook business page needs to understand and adapt to these changes to stay relevant on the Facebook platform.
At Splice Marketing we know that maintaining an effective Facebook business page takes commitment and energy. Time-poor healthcare professionals would rather spend their energy focusing on patient-care, so here’s a quick analysis of the recent changes and some tips to ensure that your time and money are invested wisely.
First and foremost, Facebook is implementing changes to the news feed with the aim of refocusing on its original mission: to connect people.
As Mark Zuckerberg noted in his initial post here, “public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
He goes on to say, “we're making a major change to how we build Facebook … you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media … pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.”
How will this affect the posts we see?
Essentially, this update will prioritise posts which spark conversations and meaningful interactions. To do this, Facebook will predict which posts you might want to chat with your friends about, and will show these posts higher in the feed.
Mark Zuckerberg explains how this will work: “These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to — whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
What’s driving this change?
Facebook’s news feed values outline the basic goal of the news feed, to show people the stories that are most relevant to them. Here’s a snapshot of the values:
- Friends and family come first. Your feed should inform and entertain.
- A platform for all ideas: connecting people and ideas.
- Authentic communication: stories that matter.
- User control of the news feed experience: features that allow users to “unfollow”, “hide” and “see first”.
The aim is to re-focus on human interaction, thereby creating a community feel to the Facebook platform.
What does this mean for businesses?
The reality is that these changes will make it more challenging for brands, businesses and media to get content in front of their audiences.
And let’s face it, that strategy of sharing a post on your page and hoping your audience will see it (“organic reach”) has had limited effectiveness for some time. Now it’s dead. Likewise, video reach and watch time is expected to decrease as your videos will be shown to less people.
What does it mean specifically for healthcare businesses?
The changes do not mean the death of your Facebook business page.
In fact, the good news is that healthcare professionals are at an advantage. The changes to the news feed are about creating meaningful connections and enhancing community, and these values lie at the heart of excellence in healthcare.
With the right tools and strategy, healthcare businesses can use Facebook as a tool to educate patient audiences around health outcomes and to facilitate discussions around health-related content.
The changes also provide an opportunity to utilise video more effectively to share medical knowledge, position yourself as a thought-leader in your discipline and connect with the local community online. Just remember, you need a strategy behind your video content to ensure it is seen by some audiences within the news feed.
How can you minimise the impact to your Facebook business page?
Your Facebook page needs to become an environment where people can access accurate and evidence-based healthcare information.
Effective social media requires an investment of time and money through partnering with a social media specialist like Splice Marketing – Healthcare Marketing Agency.
The right social media strategy will take account of your patient audiences, your services, and how you can ethically facilitate meaningful conversations around your brand.
You will also need to budget for Facebook advertising and paying to share educational health-related posts to your wider community.
Nervous about using Facebook for your healthcare business?
At Splice Marketing we understand that the changes to Facebook are causing concern to some health professionals, particularly as industry regulations contain some grey areas in this regard. We will be touching on some of these issues in a follow-up article,so stay tuned.