Social Media Community Guidelines | What are they and why are they so important to healthcare brands?

HashtagHealth Social Media Community Guidelines

Talking at consumers and healthcare professionals is a thing of the past. These days, consumers and doctors alike expect more. They want to talk and be heard, share and interact, and engage directly with brands – not just with each other. It’s no surprise that social media guidelines have become so invaluable for this very reason– particularly to healthcare brands aspiring to establish a meaningful presence on social media.

In the highly-regulated healthcare industry, comprehensive social media community guidelines are paramount to success for a variety of reasons. But first, what are social guidelines, and how do they work? Below is a list of the top considerations to get things started: 

What are social community guidelines?

  • Social community guidelines are essentially “rules of engagement” for community visitors and community/marketing managers. As such, there are usually two versions of social community guidelines that are created: Public guidelines that are listed on a Facebook page, Website, or Blog for visitors to see, and Internal social guidelines that are used for internal company processes by the Marketing/Medical/Legal/Regulatory teams.
  • Publicly listed guidelines are typically used to establish ground rules for those participating in active dialogue on the platform. Such rules may include simple statements such as “Please be kind and comment respectfully,” while others may be more specific such as “Please do not mention any product names, drugs or treatments” (which may be appropriate for unbranded platforms).
  • Internal guidelines are key reference documents. Typically, they establish a clear response algorithm and path for social community managers to follow to address comments/responses from social consumers. Many times internal social guidelines also include pre-approved “responses” that can be used to direct community visitors to important information such as the Public guidelines or the company Website.

Why are social community guidelines so important?

  • Guidelines for social communities are critically important for healthcare brands, as they help establish a clear roadmap for addressing some of the biggest concerns faced by healthcare marketers: how to deal with comments relating an Adverse Events (AEs), how to handle inappropriate comments (vulgarity), and most importantly – how to effectively engage with social consumers in a safe and compliant manner.
  • Specifically, Public social community guidelines help social consumers understand why or why not their content can be featured on the community page. It is also a great way to remind people how to interact within the community.
  • Comprehensive Internal social community guidelines are equally as critical, as they help the Marketing/Medical/Legal/Regulatory teams align on internal processes and procedures as it relates to addressing comments on social platforms. It also creates a greater sense of “team readiness” and “preparedness” towards managing anticipated comments.   

If there’s one thing “social media” should be, it’s social. And we’re not alone in that conclusion. Social media platforms such as Facebook have gone through great lengths to preserve the act of interaction (such as making it difficult to deactivate “commenting”) – and for good reason. When you allow people to ask questions, share positive stories, and connect with each other to support a common goal, organic advocacy and positive sentiment flourishes. So, if you’re looking to get the most out of your social platforms, be sure to develop comprehensive social community guidelines that enable you to optimize the true value and potential of your social presence.