Flu Season – Is it too late to create a Physician Practice Facebook page?

I have met with more physician practices and pediatrician groups who want to start a Facebook page specifically for flu season. They explain the main reason is to share information about flu season with their patientes. So…is this really the right reason to start a page, or even the right time?

Based on the CDC’s website: “In the Northern hemisphere, winter is the time for flu, but the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks in January or later.” Given this information, we have entered into flu season with it potentially peaking during the winter months, more specifically peaking in February.

So, should you use this as an opportunity to start a Facebook Page for your practice for flu season? Well, here are some things to think through:

  1. Are you going to use this Facebook page for more than information about flu season?
  2. Do you think you have enough time to get all your patients to “Like” the page so they can receive information about 2011-2012 flu season.
  3. Exactly what are you going to share about flu season on a weekly basis, information that people are willing to have this show up on their personal Facebook newsfeed?
  4. How else is your practice communicating information about flu season and what tools are you using? (website, newsletter, brochures, in-office communication)
  5. How are you going to use Facebook to build a social community around your practice outside of flu season?
  6. Do you have time to commit to maintaining the Facebook page, to specifically connect with your patients?
  7. Is your practice a part of a hospital system? If so, can you leverage their Facebook community to share information about flu season?

Bottomline…it is never “too late” to start a Facebook page. But, you have to think through how you want to use this social outlet beyond flu season and if you have the time and resources to connect with your patients using this social outlet.

Here are some great links about about flu season from the CDC’s wesbite:

  • What to expect from the 2011-2012 Flu Season: CLICK HERE
  • Information about the flu vaccine from FLU.gov: CLICK HERE
  • CDC’s information about the flu vaccine: CLICK HERE
  • CDC’s Twitter account dedicated to the flu season: @CDCFlu
  • How-to set-up a Facebook page by Mashable.com: CLICK HERE