Contrary to popular belief, launching a Facebook page, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, requires a lot of upfront work. A healthcare brand manager doesn’t wake up on Monday and dream up the idea of a Facebook page and see it through to fruition by Wednesday. Decisions like what language needs to be on the landing page, what the design layout will be and what level of discussion to allow needs to be considered before jumping in. And all of this content needs to go through the regulatory/compliance department for approval. It’s no small feat to get a Facebook page launched.
Because of this rigorous process, there is often a tendency to view the launch of a Facebook page as the finish line. But I have some news most brand managers probably don’t want to hear—the launch is only the starting line.
The problem with this approach is that it leads to the dreaded “follow and forget.” Of course, the goal is not to rack up likes on Facebook from people that never again visit your page. I’d venture to guess that part of the follow and forget problem stems from this idea that reaching the launch phase means you’ve done your job. As a result, engaging content begins to wane, attention from brand managers decreases and page visits plummet. Why should your Facebook followers come back to your page if you don’t give them a reason to do so? They shouldn’t and they won’t.
Instead of allowing your Facebook page to fall into obscurity, plan for the months following launch and continually measure against established benchmarks. Create a content calendar that outlines when content will post, who owns the creation of that content and what purpose it will serve. While creating that content, be sure to vary the format. Rather than simply posting short messages, think about sharing interesting news articles, recording podcasts, posting videos and running a poll. People view Facebook as a destination for interaction not as just a news portal—treat it as such.
The follow and forget syndrome is one of the biggest problems pharmaceutical companies face when diving into social media. To avoid it: adjust expectations on what engaging on Facebook means. Put the right team in place to manage the content creation burden and continually measure the impact of your efforts. As I said above, the public launch of a Faceoook page is the start line, not the finish line. In fact, if done properly, there is no finish line.