This blog post was repurposed from David James Group’s newest VP: Chris Martin. From his own personal, PR blog he now only frequents occasionally: cmpr.wordpress.com
Note: special thanks to client Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Kacie Wielgus-Buzzard for allowing me to use their examples and metrics for this blog post.
In an effort to engage fans, potential customers, patients and supporters, Facebook Fan Page managers have turned to the virtual town hall meeting. Called Facebook Chats, these popular online exchanges allow Fan Pages to reach a lot of their fans in a concentrated time period. Fans benefit by gaining access to the expertise of the Page hosts, including the ability to ask the Page expert questions or benefit from questions and comments from other fans who share their experience.
In health care, which is clinically driven and content rich, Facebook Chats can play a key role in gaining exposure to a hospital’s doctor, nurse or other clinical expert. Fans with specific questions about a disease or procedure, can ask that expert the question and get an immediate answer. Some pages chose to use Facebook Chats to promote a new doctor, procedure or technology.
The image to the right, is an example of a FB message promoting a Chat with CTCA patient Jenna Churchill, about 20 minutes before the chat was to begin. This was preceded earlier in the week with an announcement about the chat.
Facebook Chats require very little in the way of technology and do not require the expert, page administrator or fans to be in the same location at the same time. Typically, a hospital staff member will set up near the doctor or clinical expert and monitor the questions posted by fans. In most cases, the page will promote the Facebook Chat a week in advance and encourage fans to post or email questions the expert can answer during the chat.
The only requirements the expert needs is a solid internet connection, a laptop or computer and time and inclination to participate. It is recommended at least one page administrator, or public relations/communications staffer be present with the expert to help prioritize the questions to answer and run other interference where necessary. In some cases, it’s also wise to have friendly staffers on call to post questions should a lull occur.
Facebook Chats occur on the same message that is posted to introduce chat. Because of the way Facebook operates, once a page posts the original message at the beginning of the post, fans will see that post and respond accordingly. Multiplied over dozens of fans this will create the impression of one cohesive conversation between clinical expert and page fans.
The image to the right is the picture post used to start the Facebook Chat with Jenna Churchill.
Facebook Chats can be easy to organize and don’t require a master’s degree in digital communication. If your page has a following that has shown it is interested in your content and you have an appropriate event or clinical expert, you may have all the ingredients necessary for a successful Facebook Chat.
The image to the left displays measuring the success of your Facebook Chat is important. Use FB analytics to give you an overview of the comments, likes and shares as well as engagement and viralty scores.