It’s no secret that Facebook and Instagram are constantly updating, tweaking, and reworking their platforms. While we aren’t always sure if it is for the betterment of the user or not, we can’t seem to stop the changes. Thankfully, the changes that have been rolling out recently seem to add to the functionality for organizations.
As your medical or plastic surgery practice grows, you need to stay on top of the latest Facebook and Instagram trends so you can better serve your patients. These two social media platforms reign supreme in terms of engagement and ROI for practices like yours, so don't miss out.
In today’s post, we are breaking down the most relevant updates that Facebook and Instagram released in the first quarter of 2017.
What’s New on Facebook
1. Facebook Prioritizes Longer Videos & Keeps the Sound On
Just when you got used to keeping your videos under 60 seconds, Facebook went and changed the game.
According to Social Media Week, a news feed algorithm change puts more emphasis on longer videos - as long as they are relevant. Apparently, Facebook is paying more attention to how your audience is interacting with videos - are they watching the full video, are they making it full screen, etc. While a shorter video is easier to watch, that doesn’t mean that it is better.
Social Media Week reports, “until now, Facebook evenly weighed the percentage of completion, so 60 percent of a 3-minute video was the same as 60 percent of a 12-minute video. With this update, it will score the latter higher.” Keep in mind that this applies to organic videos, not paid videos.
Finally, Facebook is realizing that it is more important to produce high-quality videos rather than videos that hit a specific time limit. Facebook states “the best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling.”
Another video update Facebook released is automatically playing videos in your news feed with the sound on. Instead of the default being that video sound is off, it will now be turned on. This means you won’t have to work quite as hard to capture the attention of your audience with silent videos. Keep in mind, however, how your audio message will come across when it automatically starts playing as someone is scrolling through their news feed.
2. Likes vs Reactions
Consumers begged to have something more than the standard “Like” button, and Facebook delivered with the Reactions. Now, Facebook is going one step further. According to Flash Stock article, Facebook announced that they are tweaking the news feed algorithm “to prioritize content and related content that earns 'Reactions’ from users over ‘Likes.’” So, if you can get more people to click a Reaction other than a Like, your content will show up more consistently in your followers’ news feeds.
Mashable reports that a Facebook spokesperson explained, “over the past year we've found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they'd want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post. So we are updating news feed to weigh Reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person."
So, what kind of content can your practice post that will garner a more intense emotion? This should help you focus more on the human side of your practice instead of just growing your number of patients.
3. Season’s Greetings
Have you noticed the cheerful greetings at the top of your Facebook news feed lately? According to Flash Stock, this is Facebook’s way of reminding marketers to keep their content timely and relevant. In the big scheme of things, Facebook is concerned that practices are getting away from sharing personal posts. This is their way to help remind people to notice the little things like the seasons and be more personable.
When you are thinking about the content you are publishing on Facebook, are you aware of what is going on in the world? By keeping your content fresh, you are more likely to earn reactions from your patients. Check out our post, "10 Summer Marketing Ideas + 5 Summer Email Campaigns for your Medical Practice" to keep your content seasonally fresh.
4. Stories, Stories, Stories
The question these days is what social media platform DOESN’T have a Stories feature? Not many. While Snapchat may have been the first social media platform to have a Stories feature, Instagram was soon to follow, and at the end of March, Facebook launched their version on their mobile app as well - called Messenger Day. Just like the other two platforms, this photo and video content are only available for 24 hours.
Much like the other updates, Facebook has recently released, the hope behind this move is that users will be more personal and share more of their real life on Facebook. According to a Business Insider article, Facebook product manager Connor Hayes stated, “we’ve seen this do well in other apps. This is something that Snapchat has really pioneered, and our take on this is that Stories has become a format that people use to share and consume photo and video across all social apps.”
If you want to jump on the bandwagon, your best bet is to use Messenger Day as a way to share a behind the scenes look at your practice, featuring before and afters, and simply letting your patients get to know your team. Keep these posts short, sweet, and friendly.
What’s New on Instagram
1. Post Multiple Images & Videos in a Single Post
Here is one update that everyone seems excited about. Sometimes you have more than one photo you want to feature but don’t want to be that annoying practice that bombards your followers’ feed. The new carousel post allows you to do just that! According to AdEspresso, this kind of post, “lets you create a single Instagram post with a slideshow of up to 10 images and/or videos. Users can scroll them. You can tag users on individual slides within the post.”
This means you can do a complete tour of your facility in one post, or better yet, you can show a series of stunning before and after pictures that really make an impact compared to individual posts. Another benefit of using the carousel post is to show multiple photos from one event without overtaking your entire profile with similar photos.
2. Instagram Stories Ads
If your practice is looking to get more bang for your buck when it comes to social media advertising, you will want to pay attention to Instagram’s release of ads on Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, “ads in Stories let your business use targeting and reach capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach. That, paired with measurement tools giving you the confidence to know it works, is unmatched in a Stories experience.”
The cool thing about these ads is that you can optimize them for reach - meaning “you can show your ads to the maximum number of people in your audience and control how often they see your ads.” Again, this is pushing practices to focus on the experience they are creating and the value they are providing instead of following traditional marketing methods of simply showcasing your offerings. Instagram Stories ads help push practices to think about the visual experience they are creating.
3. Lead Ads
According to AdEspresso, lead ads were first developed by Facebook to encourage users to “make filling out lead forms as simple as approving information Facebook automatically pulled from your profile.” As usual, because of its success on Facebook, they have recently been released on Instagram.
While the fields are more limited on Instagram, it still allows you to access the most important contact information. If you’re looking to use Instagram as a lead capturing tool, this could be a game-changer for your practice.
4. Go Live
If Instagram Stories isn’t instantaneous enough for you, don’t worry, Instagram released their Live Stories feature earlier in Q1. As with any live broadcasting feature, this update pushes users to be more authentic and to share the most relevant content possible. Live Stories is another way to attract new followers and to simply provide quality-rich content to your current followers. Practices are using Live Stories to answer questions, host discussions, and share behind the scenes information.
While Facebook and Instagram are constantly updating their platforms, keep in mind that in most cases, their intentions are good. Their goal is to push users - particularly those using it for business purposes, to keep their content, relevant, valuable, and focused on the needs of your audience. They hate spam and want practices like yours to focus more on offering solutions and ideas than making sales pitches.