5 Things Children’s of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook

“If you need a blessing, visit Children’s of Alabama,” says Rita Russell Daren one of the hospital’s 21,418 Facebook fans.

Children’s Hospital of Alabama is the 10th busiest pediatric medical center in the U.S. Located in Birmingham, this facility has been ranked nationally in 10 pediatric specialties including cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, neurology, nephrology and others.

But apart from healing children, Children’s of Alabama has also done very well using social media content on Facebook to successfully compete  for attention and relevance.

Here’s what Children’s fans are saying about them:

Facebook Recommendations

Childrens Fan Testimonial 5 Things Childrens of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook
An employee provides a raving review of Children’s of Alabama
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Fans share their positive experience of Children’s of Alabama

The true character of Children’s Hospital is revealed in the collective positive experiences shared by customers, employees and other stakeholders.

Here are 5 awesome things that Children’s Hospital is doing on Facebook:

#1. Wall updated often

When people log in to Facebook, the first thing they see is their News Feed. Most of them don’t scroll down too far back to check what’s been happening since their last log in. By updating their Facebook Wall two or three times a day Children’s of Alabama ensures that most of their fans will see their content at some point during the day. This also improves their page’s Edgerank. Clearly, Children’s of Alabama is aware that:

“You’re only as good as your last post.”

#2. Fan-centered status updates

Childrens fan focused FB status 5 Things Childrens of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook
Fan-centered updates give Children’s fans an opportunity to interact

Very often you find pages that post the same brand-centered content over and over again. This is just annoying to fans and eventually they tune out. But at Children’s of Alabama, a lot of their Facebook updates (like the one shown here) are fan-focused thus giving fans more opportunities to interact.

#3. Initiating relevant conversations

Childrens Facebook status 3 5 Things Childrens of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook
Fans like and share Children’s content because it provides relevant information that resonates with them

Facebook users want and respond to relevant content. On their Facebook page Children’s Hospital gives fans a reason to interact with their content by discussing issues that their audience cares about.

#4. Including action-based incentives

Childrens Facebook status 1 5 Things Childrens of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook
Content that drives fans to take action by giving away an incentive

By adding action-based incentives to their content, Children’s of Alabama engages fans, prompts them to get involved in their off-line activities, and ensures that they enjoy the experience as well. A win-win for everyone!

#5. Interesting images

Childrens Facebook status 2 5 Things Childrens of Alabama is Doing Right on Facebook
Interesting images receive more attention from fans than text-only status updates

Facebook is a picture economy. Users tend to like and interact with pictures more than with text-only status updates. Children’s of Alabama is doing a great job of mixing up their content by including interesting pictures of hospital events. Again, this encourages fans to like and share their content.

Key Takeaway

Children’s of Alabama is not only doing a great job of blessing the country with the highly specialized treatment of dangerous childhood diseases, they’re also using their strong Facebook presence to initiate social conversationscommand attention, retain relevance and keep audiences engaged. Other hospitals could borrow a leaf from Children’s of Alabama and learn how to create compelling social media content that enhances the collective experience of their users.

Over to you: How would you rate Children’s of Alabama’s Facebook presence? What would you do differently?

5 Ways to Build An Awesome Facebook Community #fbss11

Facebook is a tough nut to crack.

You think you’ve got it figured out and then they change it up again.

For many of you who have Facebook pages for business, you’ve probably wondered how to increase engagement and build a thriving community of fans around your brand.

Who doesn’t want that, right?

But with all the changes that are constantly taking place you’re probably sick and tired of Facebook, and on the verge of giving up.


There are some excellent, and super-easy ways to build an awesome Facebook community. During her session at Facebook Success Summit 2011, Andrea Vahl of Social Media Examiner shared some of them:

Be a resource

Provide valuable content through your blog. If you don’t have a blog (yet), you can share other people’s content as long as it is relevant to your brand. Facebook makes it easy to do this with the ‘Share’ button.

Another thing you can do is to provide short, interesting snippets of information about your industry. Content such as ‘Did you know?’ or being the first to comment on breaking news in your industry also makes you resourceful.

Also make sure that you answer all questions asked by your fans. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to direct them to another source. It’s more important to show them that you’re listening than to have the right answer.

Respond and engage

Answer questions in a timely fashion – when people take the time to write on your Wall or to leave some feedback, be sure to respond quickly. It shows that you respect their time and opinion.

If you think you might forget to check, turn on your email notifications to get alerts whenever someone posts on your Wall.

Finally, be helpful and don’t worry too much about negative comments (unless they are offensive, racist, or profane). It’s better to use negative feedback as an opportunity to turn the situation around and win over the person, rather than to delete their comments. Knowing how to handle criticism can greatly benefit your online reputation.


Craft an engagement policy and display it either on your Info Tab or on a separate tab altogether. It allows others to know what you permit and what you do not permit on your page. Here’s a fantastic article that teaches you how to create a Social Media Policy for your business page.

Another area you want to check diligently is your spam folder (or Hidden Posts). Sometimes Facebook marks as spam posts that shouldn’t be designated as such. If posts are indeed spam, then delete them altogether and keep your spam folder empty.


Connecting with others is the primary purpose of being on Facebook. As a business brand, there are several ways to connect with fans and other businesses.

With your fans, consider starting a ‘Fan of the Week’ contest where the most supportive and engaged fan receives a mention of appreciation and gratitude. You may also consider crowd-sourcing – where you ask for your fans’ input before launching a new idea, project or product line.

With regards to the business community, you want to hold conversations with other brands that could be potential clients. The first thing to do is to identify those business pages and ‘Like’ them “As Your Page” (not as your-self).

Thereafter, keep an eye on your page’s Newsfeed and be ready to jump into conversations with other business pages. You will notice that these pages will reciprocate by leaving feedback on your page as well.

These are simple ways to foster good will and good neighborliness with your Facebook community.


It’s important to measure the ROI of your Facebook efforts. You want to be able to know what’s working and what’s not so that you can make appropriate adjustments and improve your strategy.

Facebook provides ‘Insights‘ that help you to assess the health of your community. It is wise to check your Insights at least once a week. Having said that, there are 7 specific insights that you want to keep an eye on:

  • Post feedback/Post virality (New feature)
  • Likes/Unlikes
  • Page Activity/People talking about this (New feature)
  • Demographics
  • Like Sources
  • Facebook Shares
  • Edgerank

The key to Facebook Insights is to see what is working and apply it more aggressively, and to observe what resonates with your fans. We don’t have time to talk about all the insights on this post, but I think that Edgerank is worth mentioning.

Edgerank is the measure of visibility of your brand’s content. To increase your visibility on Facebook here are some important tips to apply:

  • Post directly on Facebook instead of using third-party apps (e.g. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Networkedblogs etc.)
  • Ask short interesting questions that are likely to generate conversation
  • From time to time initiate non-business conversations on your page to draw out those ‘lurkers’ who may not be interested in ‘biz-talk’. You’ll be surprised to see who is ‘hanging around’ waiting for an opportunity to engage with you.
  • Finally check out edgerankchecker.com to see how your page scores on Edgerank

Question: What else have you found to be important in building your Facebook community?