Facebook is a missed opportunity for most practices. Dentists don’t know what to do with it. They started a practice page a few years ago and put a lot of initial effort into getting likes, but as time has gone by, the page now sits idle for weeks at a time.
A related scenario is that the practice doesn’t devote any resources to keeping its Facebook page updated. Our consultants have heard something like this many times: The marketing coordinator used to do it, but then she left the practice. Since then, Sheila at the front desk has been pitching in when she’s slow, but it’s been really busy lately. The dentist or the hygienist will throw something up on the Facebook page when they’re feeling inspired. But nobody has posted anything in over a month.
Facebook can be a marketing asset for your practice, but you’ve got to put it to use. Here’s how you can improve the performance of your practice’s Facebook page in four steps:
- Have a Consistent Presence – To get the most out of your Facebook page, you should be posting at least three times a week. If you’re only posting a once a month, then you have a “dead” page, which is worse than no page at all. It signals to current and prospective patients that you really don’t care. On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm people by posting 10 times a day either. You want to find a right balance. The minimum we recommend to our consulting clients is three times a week. If your office doesn’t have an official Facebook person, appoint one. Usually, it should be the marketing coordinator. If you don’t have a marketing coordinator, talk with your team to see who would be interested, who is the most familiar with Facebook, and who would be proficient at it.
- Be More Social – As the name implies, social media should be social. It’s not a one-sided conversation, but rather a dialogue. If all you’re doing is talking about your practice or talking at people, they will tune out. Make it about your patients and your other followers. Respond when they comment. Even if it’s negative, reply. Gather the facts and try to find a mutually agreeable solution. That kind of responsiveness shows that you’re listening and that you care.
- Mix It Up – To engage current and prospective patients, you should post a wide range of interesting and informative content, including:
- Promote Your Practice – With its demographic database, Facebook makes it easy for you to reach prospective patients through online ads. You can target your audience by age, gender, interests, occupation, geography and other factors. You can spend as much or as little as you want on your campaign. If it’s going well, add more money to it. If it’s not working, turn it off and try a different approach. But compared to other media, such as direct mail, Facebook is incredibly inexpensive. And when done well, it can be extremely effective.
Think of Facebook as the technological equivalent of walking around your community, shaking hands, meeting and greeting people, sharing information and stories, and, ultimately, building relationships and rapport. Facebook allows you to do all of this online.
• Oral health tips
• Patient contests
• Open appointment alerts
• Treatment updates – educate patients about the different types of procedures available
• Service promotions – such as a discount on whitening or the new patient hygiene visit
• Fun information about staff members, such as hobbies and pets
In addition, your posts should be visually interesting. Try to include photos and videos with the majority of your posts. They make people want to engage with what you’re saying.
It’s time to turn your practice’s Facebook page into a new patient generator. Use these four strategies to help you attract and win over potential new patients. Make 2017 your best year yet!
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