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Brands and users are turning to Facebook for healthcare.

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Last week, Facebook hosted a webinar focusing on healthcare marketing on its platforms, which include Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Why Facebook for healthcare? Research conducted by GlobalWebIndex shows that all generations -- from Generation X to Baby Boomers -- have healthcare needs and are turning to social media to fulfill them.

"Everybody needs healthcare, so it makes sense for us to think about what the common ground is for this potentially very broad audience," said Naureen Mohammed, head of FMCG marketing EMEA at Facebook.

The widespread impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has further resulted in people turning to social media for healthcare, either for information and advice or for brand discovery. With this in mind, Facebook highlighted four particular features and tools to help brands and users.

Dedicated health support groups:

Users were already creating support groups, so Facebook developed features within these groups such as anonymous posting and asking questions via the group admin. Mohammed spoke about the power of such groups, citing the example of Nicole, a Facebook employee, who in 2016 was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a rare and incurable type of blood cancer. Nicola found help and support through a Facebook group dedicated to this rare cancer, which inspired her to launch the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation, a charity specifically focused on raising awareness and funds for the disease. The ad campaign was created using the full suite of Facebook products and an AR filter, which reached 200 million people globally, received 400,000 filter impressions and raised $250,000 within four weeks.

Preventative health tools:

Once enabled, a preventative health tool, which recommends tests, screening and appointments based on users' personal demographics, adds reminders to the user's feeds, encouraging them to take simple steps, such as cholesterol tests and seasonal flu shots. This feature is only available in the US so far.

Blood donation tool:

A blood donation tool aims to help blood banks end the shortage of voluntary blood donors by connecting people who want to donate blood with opportunities to donate nearby. The tool is currently available in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Pakistan, the US, South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.

Disease preventions maps:

Disease prevention maps were launched in May 2019 to arm health organizations with privacy preserving data sets to improve response to disease outbreaks and identify communities with the greatest needs.

"When these data sets are combined with epidemiological information from health systems, they assist non-profits in reaching vulnerable communities more effectively and better understanding the pathways of disease outbreaks that are spread by human-to-human contact," explained Mohammed.

Facebook has already worked with the World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health, both of which have been using it to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. UNICEF has used the maps to distribute vaccines to those with the greatest needs. In Mozambique, the information was used to deploy medical services during a cholera outbreak.

Facebook has partnered with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its effort to tackle health misinformation and ensure that people see the most credible and accurate information first.

Mohammed added that it is not enough for healthcare brands to simply be present on social media. They need to think about value transaction and make sure their content and advertising are relevant to the viewers because every user's feed is different.

"Consumers expect advertising to be relevant to them and want to discover content naturally as part of their day-to-day routine. Everyone needs healthcare but in a different way."

Mobile devices have changed the way people use social media. Mohammed pointed out that when people are sick, they check their phone all day for information, whether they are waiting for the doctor or in a queue. "Be literally in your audience's pocket," she advised marketers.

Video is the primary way of communicating on mobile, said Mohammed. Social media users consume video in two ways -- unplanned viewing, which occurs in quick bites or on-the-go, and captivated viewing, which means users seek out videos to watch for fun or relaxation.

"Video should be your main consideration," Mohammed advised.

With 3 billion users across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it comes as no surprise that there is massive competition for audience attention. People scroll through 300 feet of content every day on their Facebook feeds, which is roughly the height of the Statue of Liberty.

Facebook conducted extensive research with MetrixLab to establish these four pillars for healthcare brands to follow in order to use social media effectively:

Establish relevance immediately. Viewers should see how the ad applies to them as soon as possible. Leverage authentic human presence for stronger human and emotional connection. To land your main message, avoid adding too many other ideas and maintain a singular focus. Make the most of your insights to show something your viewer will relate to with regards to the disease and symptoms they're experiencing.

With one in three consumers relying on social media to find healthcare brands, it is clear that brands need to leverage their social media presence and optimize for mobile in order to truly reach their audiences where they are.

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Author:Zaira Lakhpatwala
Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jun 17, 2020
Words:881
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