What Facebook Timeline Means for Hosting Live Events

Madonna Facebook Event

Photo courtesy Madonna's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/182295891887070/)

In the last year, more and more health brands and government social media accounts have adopted strategies to communicate with stakeholders and patients through live events and real-time chat features. In the last few months, CVS Pharmacy hosted an online Facebook chat to connect health consumers with a pharmacist, Todd Park engaged in a live Twitter chat for Big Data Week and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline teamed up with Facebook to launch a “chat” messaging system to help users find immediate help when suicidal comments show up. As brand pages have been adapted for the new Facebook timeline environment, I can’t help but ponder: what does the new layout mean for hosting online events and live chats? 

In short, we need to think visually. A recent Facebook study found that status updates including a photo album, picture, or video resulted in 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement than the average status update, respectively. This in mind, below are three ways Facebook timeline can be used to host an online event:

  • The ‘captain obvious.’ Use more captivating images! Start by thinking about how you can work photos into the conversation to break up text and create dialogue around the visuals.
  • Pin to top. To promote online events, the new ‘pin to top’ capability provides the opportunity to promote events up to seven days in advance.
  • Think like the Queen of Pop. Madonna recently hosted a live video chat with Jimmy Fallon as a part of her ‘social media-only’ launch of her new album. While Madonna’s PR team clearly wasn’t aiming to promote health, the key takeaway we can note is that they chose to use video. Video is captivating. And it captivates universally. In terms of usability and health literacy for some populations (e.g., the elderly or those with disabilities), video is an easier way to follow and receive health information. To date most government health chats involving video have mostly been held with the White House on more high-profile topics as opposed to actionable health tips (for example, healthcare reform. As the call for visuals increases, video will be an unavoidable consideration for health communicators hosting live events online.

How have you changed your tactics to host online events with Facebook timeline? Comment below with your thoughts!