Fickle Facebook Fans: Why Physician Marketing Can’t Take Social Media Engagement for Granted

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

facebook like and unlikeThe increasing number of healthcare provider and private practices that have launched a social media presence are likely to find that Facebook Fans can be fickle. A report by DDB Paris has it that two out of five Facebook (FB) users will change their mind and click the “unlike” link on a brand page. Their motivations—to like or unlike—are guiding words for online physician marketing.

The principal reason that Facebook users are likely to turn their back on your doctor marketing FB page is not surprising. Simply, the content isn’t interesting. Although this survey was not limited to healthcare or physician marketing, it addressed user preferences in Facebook brand pages in the United States and other countries.

The findings—and others we’ve seen over the years—underscore the concept that you can engage a reader, site visitor or fan with something that is of interest to them. But their interest level may only be temporary. Here’s how these particular numbers play out:


  • No longer of interest to me         39%
  • Information available was not interesting      46%
  • Information published too often      46%
  • I did not appreciate information      23%
  • Information not published often enough      14%

Other social media observations about engaging and maintaining

  • Visitors value unique or original information.
  • Some individuals connect with a page for a discount or incentive, and disconnect when the promotion ends.
  • Frequent self-promotional material may overwhelm content that the visitor wants.
  • Information without depth, detail or substance is fluff and a reason for tune-out.
  • Ignoring comments, concerns and questions disengages some visitors.
  • Appearance counts. Poorly formatted or confusing layouts cause some visitors to leave.

For further reading about this study, click through here to AdAge magazine. In short, you can’t take Facebook fans for granted. Applying these concepts to physician marketing via social media such as Facebook, the bottom line is that interesting, informative, timely and original information and content will keep online visitors engaged, connected and coming back for more.

Conversely, if visitors feel neglected or presented with information that isn’t interesting, Facebook fans can be fickle. There’s at least a one in five chance they will change their mind and leave…most likely in search of an online resource that they find interesting.

You’ll find a related article about one doctor’s assessment of social media in physician marketing here.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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