Do you have access to the new Facebook Insights?
Whether you do or not, it’s important to know that Facebook has ‘upgraded’ the way you analyze your page data. In a sense, this is good news because the new Insights present data in a way that is well organized and easy to understand.
Previously you had insights that were a tad bit confusing and not very useful in helping you understand how to manage your page. For example the ‘people talking about this’ metric – which has now been replaced with a new engagement metric – was not very effective because it wasn’t clear what you were supposed to do with that information.
In contrast the new Insights feature is clear, user-friendly and self-explanatory. In fact Facebook has provided a pretty helpful tour demonstrating what the new metrics mean. Here is an in-depth review of the new Facebook Insights.
All in all, I think this is a big improvement in terms of providing more meaningful data in an easy-to-understand fashion.
However, I believe healthcare marketers should be extremely cautious about relying too much on Facebook Insights. Here’s why.
When the method of analyzing data changes all the time, it becomes difficult to rely on the data – not because there’s anything wrong with the data, but because the platform itself is too ‘high-maintenance,’ thus making the whole experience for page admins (that’s you!) cumbersome.
In fact the 2013 Social Media Industry Report shows that two-thirds of marketers are actually uncertain about the effectiveness of their Facebook marketing. What this tells me is that while marketers (across all industries) consider Facebook to be an important platform, they’re really struggling to figure out how it works. Subsequently there’s a lot of confusion about what kind of content is needed to attract and engage audiences on Facebook.
Poor Platform for Healthcare Conversations
The other reason I think healthcare marketers shouldn’t be too swayed by this feature is that Facebook doesn’t appear to be the best place for healthcare conversations.
Privacy settings are nebulous and the risk of engagement is higher than say, on Twitter. Twitter is simple and straight-forward and in fact the quality of medical conversations happening there is remarkable when you compare it with Facebook. But don’t take my word for it. Go here to see what physicians using social media think of Facebook.
For example if you look at Sanjay Gupta’s Facebook page you’ll notice that the only posts he has are occasional links. In fact the last time I checked, he hadn’t posted anything on his Facebook page since August 2012. If you compare that with his Twitter profile, you see a lot of activity, which consists of links, conversations, quotes, questions and advice. In other words his conversations on Twitter are much more interesting than his Facebook conversations.
Another top doctor, Kevin Pho (also known as social media’s leading physician voice) has a bigger Facebook page than Sanjay Gupta’s, in terms of fan-base but again the scattered likes and relatively few comments seem to indicate a generally disengaged audience. Not so on his Twitter profile where engagement with his 77,000 followers has earned him a Klout score of 74. (Yes, I realize Klout is another controversial metric but I hope you get the point!).
Why Blogging is Better
As a healthcare marketer you cannot afford to put all your eggs in this basket. Facebook is simply one (and not the best!) tool among many, for educating and engaging with patients. When it comes to patient education, the best platform will always be your blog.
Focus on publishing relevant, problem-solving content on your blog on a consistent basis. For healthcare marketers blogging is actually more beneficial than relying on Facebook because your blog is the hub of your content, is not subject to frequent changes, and you have full control over it.
As a healthcare marketer, what do you think about the new Facebook Insights? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.