Time management is always an issue for any busy medical professional. And one of the first things that tend to get overlooked is time to engage your Facebook followers. Just as you must manage your medical practice, setting some Facebook Office Hours will go a long way in successfully managing your healthcare social media calendar.
Facebook Office Hours?
Many busy professionals have found that scheduling Facebook office hours helps. This is a set time when followers know they will get immediate feedback to their questions or requests for information. By setting such a time, you can have an actual dialogue with your followers as you focus on nothing but them during that specific amount of time.
TIP: Be sure and promote these office hours so Facebook friends and followers know how to plan accordingly. You might even want to set an automatic Tweet to go out 30 minutes before the office hours to alert followers.
What About Between Hours?
Another aspect of social media time management is having some set guidelines on when, how, and to whom you will respond.
First in Line: If you simply sit down for 30 minutes and try to respond to comments randomly the odds are you won’t be very productive. Follower’s comments that should be first in line for your response are:
- The Unhappy – The same rule that applies to doctor review, applies here. If someone is dissatisfied with an experience, make sure to acknowledge you have seen their comment as quickly as possible. Address their issues briefly and positively and let them know someone will follow up on their concerns.
- The True Fans – “Thank yous” are very important! You should make it a rule to acknowledge every positive feedback. If you have time, ask a follow up question so the person can continue the conversation.
Second in Line: If multiple followers ask the same question there is no need to answer it a dozen times. Always thank each person who asked and then offer a group answer. If you have asked for feedback, consider directing followers to watch for a blog post that will address their comments in one place.
Last in Line: Spam comments and flames. Overly promotional or inappropriate comments don’t need to be addressed with a comment. In these cases, there’s no need to say thanks. In fact, you probably should delete these comments and move on. Or, you can move them to the hidden part of the wall. To do this, select the Hide Post option from the drop-down menu you get when you click on the options cog on the post.
Guidelines that Keep Things Moving
Have a Thick Skin: The majority of comments you receive will be positive but a few will be negative. While you should never dismiss these people, know that some will complain just to complain. Just as the occasional unreasonable patient is a part of every practice so are unreasonable Facebook followers. Thank them, deal with what you can, and move on. One piece of negative feedback is nothing to get upset about. However, if you get multiple ones, then you should recognize a trend. That’s a great opportunity to make some changes that will please your followers.
Keep Listening: The most important thing to do is show you’re listening. Some people simply want to be heard and aren’t looking for much more. By acknowledging their comments, you do that quickly and easily.
Be Human: When you respond, talk like a normal person. People tend to feel more free to vent and share negative feedback when they sense they’re communicating with a faceless, anonymous brand. The more you show you’re an actual person and that you want to help, the more your followers will feel like they’re speaking with you, not to you.