Social media is one of the fastest and most efficient ways for people to connect. While there are several social media platforms that you might consider, Facebook is by far the most popular. It also allows you to create an exclusive group for people with a similar agenda. Private Facebook groups are helping patients stay connected, manage their chronic conditions, and gain a sense of hope and empowerment.
Purpose of a Facebook Group
For any medical clinic keen on healthcare marketing on social media, Facebook is a great tool. With Facebook, you can create a group, add people you know who might be interested in joining, and trust that others with similar interests will look it up. This has made Facebook a popular avenue for social media marketing, thanks to its niche audiences.
Apart from being an excellent healthcare marketing technology, it is also a great forum to carry out research and discussions, and to pass on important information. A private Facebook group not only helps patients manage their chronic conditions, but it also helps them stay connected to others within the safety net of their group.
Types of Facebook Groups
Facebook provides the option to create private groups, many of which are being used in an interesting fashion: personal support groups. Mothers are uniting to ask each other questions in mom groups, divorcees are connecting for help with the trauma involved in going through a divorce, and medical patients suffering from similar diagnoses are finding comfort in one another. These groups have turned complete strangers into close friends through the community vibes created within the groups.
There are three different settings in which a group can be created: open groups, closed/private groups which are searchable but their content is private, or completely private groups by invitation only. For medical support groups, most of them would fall into the closed group category, allowing for patients experiencing similar conditions to easily locate such groups.
Benefits of a Private Facebook Group as a Support Group
A Facebook group for your patients is more or less an online support group. The only difference is that this option does not require physical meetings. A Facebook private group is a gathering of strangers, each sharing their stories, progress, motivational tips, and other experiences. Some of the benefits of using a private Facebook group as an emotional support group are as follows:
- Safe haven:
The groups provide a safe haven for individuals to feel a sense of comfort and camaraderie when conversing with others going through the same thing.
- Symptom reducer tips:
Patients can relate to others experiencing similar symptoms, and offer one another tips to help. For example, if a patient is struggling with nausea, there may be a special ginger tea that is recommended and makes all the difference for another group member.
Privacy is essential when it comes to medical issues, and patients may feel more at ease discussing personal matters with others who can truly relate to what they are going through.
- Expert information:
In some groups, medical professionals may be welcome too, and able to share helpful guidance. They may offer educational opportunities, where a guest doctor, psychologist, nurse or social worker join the conversation about a topic related to the group’s needs.
- Anxiety reduction:
In many cases, being able to speak openly about the aspects of a condition that causes you the most anxiety can be enough of a support system to reduce the anxiousness you are feeling. For example, there is a Facebook group created for women who have tested positive for the breast or ovarian cancer gene mutation. What this means is that there exists a higher risk of developing cancer at some point in their lives. Imagine the anxiety that comes with each mammogram, and the relief you would feel if given the chance to share openly with women feeling the same way.
Having this community to connect with others going through similar points in their lives allows the patients to feel more confident and improves their coping abilities with the challenges they are facing.
Since participation is optional and flexible, people can turn to these groups only when they feel they need to, and keep to themselves when they want. This provides a sense of peace in itself since there is no pressure to share unless you are comfortable with it.
Who Can Start a Private Facebook Group?
Anybody can start a private Facebook group. From a perspective of a medical clinic starting a niche group, you can use this as an opportunity to reach patients and give back to the community by connecting with them directly.
Facebook will not allow you to advertise directly to a group. However, this is also what makes a closed group essential, as you have a ready audience.
Just like the regular support groups, the private Facebook group might have some drawbacks, like disruptive members or those sharing false information. The additional credibility of it being monitored by medical professionals can help reassure the group members. You can also set specific rules, and warn or eliminate members who do not follow the standards set.
Despite these drawbacks, a private Facebook group is beneficial to both medical clinics and patients. With strict moderation, everything is likely to be smooth and helpful.
How to Create a Private Facebook Group
As a point of reference, the following steps can be used to create a private Facebook group:
- Log into your Facebook account. If you do not have one, you need to sign up.
- From your ‘News Feed,’ click on the menu then tap ‘Groups.’
- Tap ‘Create Group’.
- Type the name of the group.
- Add members.
- Click ‘More,’ and select ‘Edit Group Settings.’
- Scroll down to ‘Privacy,’ then change those privacy settings to ‘Closed.’
- Click ‘Confirm’ then ‘Save.’
There is every reason for a medical clinic to have a private Facebook group. For the medical clinic, Facebook is an ideal choice and can actually boost your clinic’s social media presence and credibility. Furthermore, it provides ample online support systems to the public. Members in your area will turn to your clinic as a first choice in healthcare.
If you want to leverage your social media presence to improve your bottom line, we can help. Give us a call at 501-235-8194 or contact us by filling this form, and let us help you put together support groups that can both help people and attract them to your clinic.
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