Is Your Social Media Post ‘Sticky’?

By The SHSMD Team posted 07-03-2018 14:01

Social Media Post
Being a “40 something” marketer, I have spent most of my career without social media in my marketing and advertising thought process and mix.

That being said, when people ask me what I think of the Facebook and social media world and using Facebook users’ information, my reply is we, Halifax Health, do it to help people live longer healthier lives. However, is that why people come to us or follow us in their social media feed?

I think not. In order to have strong engagement in social media, particularly Facebook, I have a saying I use in the office, “babies, dogs and stories.” Let’s take a look at what that means and the recipe for social media engagement and success, particularly with Facebook.

As marketers, we need to heed the words “give the people what they want,” if we want a successful social media presence. Facebook has become an important means of storytelling. People flock to Facebook to be entertained. So why do we, as marketers, keep putting social media posts out there about eating prunes, the need to get your colon checked and all the things Doctor Oz is promoting? A post recently on the SHSMD blog reminded us to tell stories. If you think about history, all the way back to the Bible, people learn through stories because they have the key ingredients to provide interest. Emotion, characters, plot, suspense and an ending (hopefully happy, but sad works) are the key ingredients to meaningful Facebook engagement and teachable moments.

Let’s look at two approaches to Facebook posts
  1. Approach number one is to remind men with a family history of colon cancer to regularly get checked. We use boring graphics and some saying to get their attention, like “Get off your butt.” Most men don’t want to even think about the possibility of death through colon cancer, so they breeze right by the post and unless one person clicks it and schedules a doctor’s appointment we have all collectively wasted our time.

  2. Now let’s look at a much better use of time and engagement strategy. Either a personal photo or, better yet, a video of a real person with a story to tell full of stickiness. Now read very slowly to understand what gets engagement. The Heath brothers call it stickiness, and in their book Made to Stick, is advice I have lived by for success in my career.
Let’s get sticky!
  • Is the idea simple? Life and death is complex...yet simple.

  • Is the idea unexpected? Whether one lives or dies has the unexpected outcome to hold attention, and health care is really about living or dying in various degrees.

  • Is the idea concrete? Can you picture it in your mind with facts and figures or results?

  • Is the idea credible? That is where we have the strength of medicine and yet the underlying spiritual piece to life.

  • Does the idea have emotion? This comes down to details and inflection.

  • Is it a story about a real person? This is essential.

So instead of a “you should do this message,” see if a story sticks better.

This is a true story about a young man with no family history of colon cancer. Let’s call him Paul. Paul had a wonderful family, career and life when something happened...slowly. One fall Saturday, Paul noticed a little blood in the toilet, but didn’t think much of it. Then came the holidays full of family and food. As the holidays went on he kept thinking things would get better, but now he was battling very unsettled bowels and finally the abdominal pain made him double over at his son’s basketball game. The next day he went to his doctor. After seeing specialists and undergoing tests it was determined he had stage 4 colorectal cancer. Following all kinds of treatments, Paul left this earth about four months after his first incident with blood in the toilet bowl. Now his wife is alone and his young son has only memories.

Here is the health care moral of the story: The American Cancer Society estimates 50,000 people will die of colon cancer this year. If you love someone, encourage them to be screened, especially if there is family history of the disease. Early detection is the key. Sixty percent of those diagnosed could be saved with screening.

Combine that story with a picture of Paul and let’s see what kind of results we produce.

Happy storytelling.

By John R. Guthrie | Posted July 3, 2018
SHSMD Digital Engagement Task Force Member
Director of Corporate Communications
Halifax Health
Daytona Beach, FL