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Rules of Engagement: Motivations That Make Your Content Contagious

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Simply having a Facebook page is less than half the challenge. To be an effective hospital and healthcare marketing tool, the greater obstacle is to understand reader motivations, and to provide content that will attract and engage.

There’s no doubt that Facebook is a social media biggie. “Two-thirds of online American adults [67 percent] are Facebook users, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “making Facebook the dominant social networking site in this country.”

To make your efforts even more challenging, this recent Pew study—Coming and Going on Facebook—tells us that Facebook users can be a moving target.

  • 61 percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.
  • 20 percent of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
  • 8 percent of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future.

For this transient crowd, about one in five respondents (21 percent) told Pew that their “Facebook vacation” was because they were too busy with other things. And ten percent cited “an absence of compelling content.” (In our experience, the lack of compelling content translates as “boring,” and that’s a universal tune-out factor.)

Understanding why Facebook people share…

Despite the ebb-and-flow of users, Facebook commands a large audience. When the content is interesting, it is a means to engage readers and build continuing relationships. The question is: What are the motivations that drive Facebook sharing and engagement?

Your objective here is to create "contagious" content that answers the reader’s fundamental motivations, content that is interesting, and material that will be shared with others. An insightful answer comes from Facebook strategist, Jason Li.

There are four fundamental reasons why people share content, Jason Li says in a HootSuite University webinar about Facebook Brand Pages. The first of these has a natural connection and strong application to healthcare services.

To make my life easier; asking friends for recommendations, according to Li. To hit this motivational hot button with your audience, create content that helps fans learn something new, something inspirational, and/or reward them with savings or tips.

The other user motivations and the HootSuite webinar with Jason Li, Facebook Brand Pages: Rules of Engagement, is free with sign-in. And we have a related article for reference, Facebook Fundamentals: A Guide to Social Media in Healthcare Marketing, What It Can Do For Your Practice, Hospital or Medical Group.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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