Gina Czark, director of social media and Jessica Fillinger, community manager at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital share what they learned from building a robust Facebook page.
Getting to 25,000 Facebook fans seemed more like a far off feat than a realistic milestone we’d achieve within 15 months of joining NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, (NYP).
We were new to the organization and our challenge was developing a Facebook page for a hospital spanning six campuses, while at the same time, learning about its rich history.
We valued each new fan that liked NYP’s Facebook page and felt personally connected to each one. We took pride in building a community and searching for great stories and information that not only told NYP’s story, but also encouraged conversation and educated our community.
It was a lot like creating a family. While they might have come from anywhere across the world, they were routed in one commonality, their connection to our hospital. We sometimes have a difference in opinions, but all opinions are valued, positive or negative, and the conversations are plentiful. We rarely have a post with little interaction and in many cases our community begins one-off conversations with one another. We’re just the ones brokering the introduction.
We created the “25K Strong” image as a thank you to our community. After all, it couldn’t have happened without them. If you look closely, you’ll see images from our Facebook page that includes our patients, doctors, nurses and staff. We hope you’ll find our 25 tips helpful as you build your own Facebook pages.
1. Content is king.
2. A picture is worth 1,000 words. Don’t underestimate the need for visuals.
3. Be passionate and thoughtful. If you don’t believe in what you’re posting, it will show and your content will suffer.
4. Every fan and interaction counts. If a community member leaves a positive comment, thank them or like it. Respond to the negative, as well.
5. Be human. Your fans should think real people are responding to them because they are.
6. Shares are most important. Likes and comments are wonderful, but shares lead to organic growth.
7. Use calls-to-action.
8. Don’t use medical jargon.
9. Use your cover image to convey the story of your brand. Change it often.
10. Find the best time during the day to post your content.
11. Tagging is important and builds community.
12. Get outside the office to find content.
13. Think like a reporter and always have your eyes and ears open to a great and compelling story.
14. View your Facebook page as a media outlet. It’s a way for you to tell your brand’s story and share exclusive news and announcements.
15. Build a team to help you, both internally and externally (this should include your legal team). Even if your social media team is small, find others within your organization to be your advocates and rely on your community for help.
16. Partnerships are crucial. Reach out to associations or groups with a connection to your brand and ask them to share your content and return the favor by sharing theirs.
17. Treat your brand’s page as you would your own. Interact with other brands by liking, sharing and commenting on their content and create more than just posts. We did this by creating an events calendar.
18. Incorporate your brand into larger trends (#tbt), awareness months or timely events. Sometimes a simple status update will do to tastefully get your page involved in the conversation.
19. You can make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world, especially if you build a community the right way. In most cases, the mistakes will be forgiven.
20. Create content aligned with your mission. Ours is to inspire hope through patient stories. We feature many patient stories on a variety of health topics.
21. Be open to new ideas based on what your community is asking for. At NYP, we receive so many wonderful comments about the patient experience that we created a “Share Your Story” app through Facebook so patients could easily share stories with us.
22. Set standards for your page. Not everything you receive should be posted. Create a strategy and be selective of what’s best for your community. No one knows them as well as you.
23. Don’t discount your internal audience. Sometimes telling stories about your employees is the way to authentically articulate your brand’s story.
24. Have fun. Not everything needs to be serious. Think about the people coming to your page every day during the commute home who are looking for inspiration, a good story or just interesting content to read.
25. If you’ve spent your time right, you’ve likely built a great community. Now enjoy watching the communities you’ve created connect with one another.