Presented by Laura Mikulski at the 2017 Annual Conference for Free Clinics of Michigan.
Why Use Social Media
As an organization you can use social media to educate, inform, spread awareness, advocate, and raise funds for your clinic. The platform with the largest user base is Facebook, which is what we’ll focus on during the presentation; some attention should be paid to Twitter for its potential use in outreach to journalists for publicity.
Misconceptions About Social Media
Many healthcare providers fear social media. They worry that it will take too much time, that they don’t have enough to post, or that it opens the gateway to HIPAA violations. None of that has to be true! Facebook has a feature to allow you to schedule posts, and once per week you can sit down for about 30 minutes and schedule them out over a long time period. Likewise, savvy page owners usually brainstorm, sometimes with staff, about topics to post. If you’re posting once a day you’re an overachiever in the world of small clinics!
HIPAA is worrisome, but only if you don’t have control over the page (ie. Make sure that access is limited to trusted personnel) or you don’t understand what constitutes private information. Don’t share patient information and you’ll be fine.
Social Media Strategies for Non-Profits
Non-profits need to raise funds and advocate for their brand/cause – and social media is the PERFECT platform for that.
Four core strategies on Facebook are our focus today, including:
Community Outreach & Engagement
Brand & Cause Awareness
These four strategies provide a path to achieving the goals of securing donations and raising awareness for your clinic and the good you do.
Easy, Actionable Tactics to Achieve Goals
Collect Emails Easily for Ongoing Outreach: using a cheap or free service you can easily implement a tab on your Facebook page to prompt your followers to share their email address with you.
Applications that are easy to use for email outreach campaigns:
https://mailchimp.com/ (free) https://www.constantcontact.com (low price for nonprofits)
Profile Overlays to Show Support of Your Brand/Cause: encourage donors, sponsors, and allies to put an overlay on their Facebook profile picture; widely used tactic with great results for visibility
https://twibbon.com/ (free) https://www.isupportcause.com/ (free)
Solicit Donations: if you’re a 501C3 organization Facebook allows you to collect donations online through their platform. Visit https://donations.fb.com/ for details on how to set up your page.
The Anatomy of a Successful Post
By keeping a few things in mind when creating your posts, you’ll see greater results: increased interaction & reach.
Have a Clear Goal: if you want donations, ask for them! If you want to increase awareness, ask them to share, like, comment, or show a reaction.
Ask for Engagement: pick subjects that people are passionate about and they’ll likely engage, but if you ask them to engage that chance goes up!
Promote Need, Urgency, and Progress: make sure that your audience knows that the need for advocacy is huge, and the need for donations is bigger. Strive to mix these posts in with educational posts.
Boost posts when they already show a good amount of organic reach & interaction- that means the post clearly resonated with the audience. This will rapidly expand your reach for that post, and in turn will expand the reach of your page as well.
You can create custom audiences on Facebook to further target people for advocacy or donations. By targeting people who like your page AND their friends, you’ll have a more receptive network see your page & posts, and they’ll be more likely to react well.