How Facebook Timeline Will Affect Social Media in Health Care

It was announced today that Facebook will be offering business pages the opportunity to segue over to Timeline, the new format of Facebook starting tomorrow.  Personal profiles have had this capability since December of 2011 and now businesses will have their chance to test-drive this layout before it becomes standard.  Changes on Facebook always bring about mixed reviews, however we think Timeline means great things for businesses, especially health care practices. 

The concept of creating an online scrapbook of sorts with Facebook Timeline allows for a richer engagement experience for visitors to your practice’s page.  A study conducted by Mashable, the web’s authority on all things social media, states that the new layout attracts visitors eyes towards the items that are more helpful to them.

After completing the study, it was found that the new format enabled the following:

-       Personalized Facebook Ads are noticed 20% more by potential customers with the new placements

-       The cover photo is the first thing noticed and is easily interchanged

-       The profile picture is the second thing noticed, closely followed by the content, which is the portion that attracts visitors for the longest period of time

-       Fixation order has more of a systematic approach with an order that leads the visitor to take action on the page

-       Fans can easily view the most important historical details while gaining perspective of the company’sinteraction with the community

-       The layout is more engaging due to having more pertinent information readily presentable when visitors first land on the page

All of these items will lead to increased interaction between the visitor and the company.  The capabilities of communication will not change; rather it will be easier for the company to manage that communication and measure involvement with their page.  Of course, as with all new things, users should be aware of the challenges that might come along with implementing Facebook Timeline.  It might take some time to get used to, so make sure you make the transition when you have time to discover the format’s capabilities.  It is also important to know that Timeline might not be compatible with all current Facebook applications, so there might be some adjustments that need to be made.  Fortunately these issues are slim.

facebook timeline(our best guess at what our page will look like)

Aside from the aesthetic changes, Facebook Timeline will also transform the way companies interact with their fans.  It will now be significantly more interactive, which means great things for medical practices.  As a member of a practice, you can capitalize on the things that Timeline enables, like the ease of changing your cover photo, which can serve as your sites own personal billboard.  Of course the challenge with billboards is that you can’t change them, this doesn’t apply here. With this new step in healthcare social media, you can advertise lowered prices for the season, while still showing your logo in your profile picture, or having a picture of your staff while promoting a monthly deal.

We will be transitioning to Timeline as soon as it is available for businesses, and will be doing the same for all of our centers.  We think this will enable us to better express our company involvement in the community and present what makes our facilities the best, which is the patient experience and attention from the staff.