By Melanie Graham

When Facebook announced earlier this month that it was changing its algorithm yet again, marketers around the globe seemed to go into a panic.

The changes, which will roll out over the next few months, aim to focus users’ feeds on news from friends and family rather than updates from advertisers, news outlets and businesses. Posts that link back to external websites will continue to see engagement drop as Facebook pushes them out of feeds in favor of content that keeps users on the social site.

For healthcare marketers and content creators, this means it’s time to take another look at your social strategy and perhaps make a few changes as you dive into 2018 (we can help, if you need it). Here are a few ideas:

Share engaging content

Ideally, you want to create Facebook posts that prompt people to leave comments and join the conversation. Share a compelling story or quote from a patient, or pose a question about a public health issue. Remember, Facebook wants to keep users on their site as long as possible.

Partner with more influencers

Many brands take advantage of social media influencers, and healthcare brands can do the same. Make sure your hospital or organization is engaging with doctors, researchers and other healthcare leaders who are active on social media.

Don’t ignore the numbers

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to track how your content performs on social media. Pay attention to what posts are doing well and try to replicate that content. When a post fails to get the engagement you’re looking for, adjust the angle or focus on other content that works well.

Rework your social budget

If you can swing it, Hootsuite recommends increasing your social media budget for Facebook posts and ads. Unfortunately, with today’s healthcare budgets, more money for social media isn’t always an option. If numbers are tight, we recommend spending your dollars wisely. Test out targeting with different audiences and find what gets you the most return on investment.

Try out Facebook Live

Another recommendation Hootsuite makes is to add more Facebook Live videos to your social strategy. Facebook sees these videos as a way to spark conversation, and Facebook is likely to give live videos a prominent spot on users’ feeds. If you haven’t tried already, give Facebook Live videos a shot, but don’t forget about important patient privacy and HIPAA laws when posting video on social media.

Although these tips may seem like a big change from your current social strategy, don’t freak out. It’s OK to link back to your resources when appropriate. In fact, the Moz Blog posted a great Whiteboard Friday video about the importance of balance in your social strategy; not all of your posts need to be crafted to fit the social networks’ algorithms.

So, as we head into an uncertain 2018, don’t give up on social media quite yet. There are still ways healthcare marketers can take advantage of the millions of users on these sites – it just may require a few shifts in content strategy.

How are you finding success in promoting your healthcare brand on social media? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter, or in the comments section below.