Key takeaways in this post:

  • For healthcare marketing, Facebook has its pros and cons. You can share health information easily, and many people still use it. But misinformation spreads easily, and fewer young people use Facebook.
  • Hospitals can use Facebook to share accurate information and be a trusted voice.
  • Hospitals can share blogs, highlight events, post shareable graphics, celebrate healthcare heroes and share patient stories.

Ah, Facebook. At first, you used it to tell your friends about your day. You would “poke” people and grow business pages to engage customers.

Now, Facebook has become what many people feel is a wasteland of ads, misinformation and comment wars. If you work in healthcare marketing, you may ask, “Is using Facebook for healthcare marketing even worth it?”

Maybe you’re considering starting a new Facebook page for a hospital, clinic or network. Or you’re seeing declining engagement on the page you manage and are wondering if your marketing efforts would be more effective elsewhere.

It’s a legitimate question. Let’s start with a good, old-fashioned list of the pros and cons of Facebook for healthcare marketing

Facebook has four advantages over other media:

  1. You can share accurate health information without going through traditional media channels.
  2. Lots of people are still on Facebook. From May 19 through Sept. 5, 2023, 68% of American adults used Facebook.
  3. It can help your organization stay top-of-mind with past and future patients.
  4. It humanizes your brand to show who you are and how you care.

The downsides of investing time, energy and budget in Facebook are important to consider.

Yes, Facebook has been a major medium for the spread of misinformation. But as a healthcare institution, you can be the voice of science and research, promoting accurate, lifesaving information on your page.

In an age where misinformation about health spreads like wildfire, it’s crucial that doctors and healthcare institutions continue to be a guiding voice. Most noteworthy hospitals and healthcare networks post on Facebook. So, when people search your name, it matters that you’re showing up.

While Facebook use may have dropped for the first time since its start in 2004, it’s one of the most-used social networks by Americans — second only to YouTube. While the loss of half a million users is a large number, it is still small compared to its 1.9 billion users.

The answer to whether it’s worth using Facebook for health marketing could be different five years from now. This is because the demographic of Facebook is skewing older.

Today’s teenagers are less likely to create a Facebook account.

But as it currently stands, using Facebook to market your healthcare organization makes sense. So, how can you get the most out of it to create consistent, engaging content?

While algorithm changes are sometimes frustrating, they exist on every social platform. The most effective healthcare organizations diversify and include a mix of many types of posts in their social media feeds.
Here are our favorite organic (unpaid) strategies for healthcare marketing on Facebook. (Along with the best healthcare Facebook pages we’ve seen.)

If you already have a blog on your website, Facebook is a great place to get those blogs in front of more people. Blogs share valuable content that can improve people’s well-being or educate them on the warning signs of more serious diseases.

They’re also an excellent medium for sharing patient stories in a more journalistic or long-form format. We’ve found that the blogs that perform best are the ones that are timely or relevant.

Looking for a good example? Cleveland Clinic’s Facebook page posts upwards of eight blogs per day!

Examples from Cleveland Clinic's Facebook page.

Examples from Cleveland Clinic’s Facebook page.

Did you recently have a fundraiser, sponsor an event or plan a fun outing for families? Post about it!

People love to see pictures of real people (not stock photos). Plus, they’ll be more likely to share a post about your organization doing good in the world!

Orlando Health does a great job of this.

Example of Orlando Health's Facebook post promoting an event.

Example of Orlando Health’s Facebook post promoting an event.

Post shareable graphics

Infographics that educate and inform people on key health topics perform well on Facebook because they’re the kind of posts people want to share. Rather than having all the valuable information in a long-form blog that the user has to click to, it’s all visible and available in one image.

Here’s a great example from Arkansas Children’s.

Example of a graphic on Facebook from Arkansas Children's.

Example of a graphic on Facebook from Arkansas Children’s.

Celebrate healthcare heroes

Healthcare heroes need love, and Facebook is a wonderful place to highlight the amazing nurses, doctors, researchers and custodians who make healthcare possible.

Did a doctor on your team get an award? Share it!

Has a researcher made an amazing breakthrough for treatment? That’s the kind of good news people want to see!

Did a team of nurses dress up for a holiday to bring joy to patients in the intensive care unit? Post a picture!

We love how Mercy Health highlights its staff in the blogs and posts it shares.

Facebook post from Mercy Health.

Facebook post from Mercy Health.

Showcase patient stories

Patient stories cut right to why you do what you do as a healthcare organization. And they are the most engaging posts we see on Facebook pages.

It’s one thing to post about an advance in lifesaving bone marrow transplants, and it’s another thing to share the story of a three-year-old who received that transplant. Of course, federal law restricting the release of medical information comes into play with these, and getting permission from the patients or the patient’s parents is paramount.

If you have permission, this is also a fantastic way to use user-generated content — pictures taken by patients that you then re-share and attribute to them. Cincinnati Children’s does a great job of humanizing content with real stories.

Facebook post from Cincinnati Children's.

Facebook post from Cincinnati Children’s.

Facebook will continue evolving, and how Americans use social media will change. No matter what happens, these types of human stories will always resonate:

  • Healthcare heroes
  • Patients receiving care from compassionate doctors
  • Researchers making breakthrough discoveries

As audiences become more saturated with millennials and Generation Z, remember that you can share photos and infographics on Instagram. You can also reformat videos for TikTok.

It’s always smart to diversify and post to several social platforms. Until then, the status of Facebook for healthcare marketing stays steady.

It’s active, and as a healthcare marketer, you need to stay active on the platform, too.

WG Content has over 20 years of experience crafting custom healthcare content that’s proven to increase engagement rates on social media. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach your goals!

You can use social media for healthcare marketing by using the following strategies:

  • Create engaging and informative content
  • Connect with current and potential patients
  • Showcase services and expertise
  • Share patient stories and testimonials
  • Network with other healthcare professionals

Yes, having a presence on Facebook is important because it is one of the largest, most popular social platforms, with about 3 billion active users monthly.

This provides a huge potential audience for healthcare organizations to connect with and share their message.

It is important to obtain proper consent and follow the federal law restricting the release of medical information when using patient stories for marketing on Facebook. Patient privacy should always be a top priority.

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