Facebook continues to be one of the best ways a dentist can connect with their current and potential patients outside of the office. Plain and simple, they like to see you in as many online places as possible to “check you out” before they book an appointment – particularly for your potential patients. Here are some of the latest stats about the benefits of Facebook’s brand pages:
- There are 2 billion Facebook connections between users and local businesses (including dental practices.) – Mashable, 2013
- Facebook business pages get 645 million views and 13 million comments per week. – Mashable, 2013
What this tells us, is that many people are more than willing and even happy to connect and interact with their local dentist on Facebook if the quality of the content is high and the frequency of posts isn’t too burdensome for them. We recommend no more than one post a day. But, Facebook is a very busy place – much busier than other advertising and marketing mediums, so your content has to compete for space. In fact, a recent Time Magazine article says that the average Facebook user is inundated with over 1,500 posts from friends and family each day. That’s way too many to properly view in a newsfeed, so Facebook picks and chooses around 300 of those posts to display in your newsfeed. That would explain why many of us get comments, likes and shares from the same handful of people each day!
So, how does Facebook decide which pieces of content to show and which to toss each day? It’s called the EdgeRank algorithm and we wrote more about it here. Essentially, the algorithm considers the following three things when deciding whether or not to display your content to a patient who has “liked” your page:
- Affinity – How close of a relationship do you have with the user? Presumably, one of their family member’s posts would show up more often than their dentist’s.
- Weight – How much quality does Facebook perceive your content to have? While it goes back and forth, Facebook usually prefers photos, videos and links over text only updates.
- Time Decay – How old is your post? The older your content is, the less likely it will show up in anyone’s newsfeed.
So, what’s a dentist to do if they want to ensure their content is being viewed by as many of their patients as possible? Simple! Utilize Facebook’s “Promote a Post” program. Many small business (including dentists) use this option when they don’t necessarily want to run an entire ad campaign, but still want to promote a certain procedure or promotion to their current patient base or boost their Facebook engagement. For those that haven’t used it, here is short Q&A to get you started:
What is promoting a post? – A promoted post on Facebook is essentially a sure-fire way to reach more than the typical 12% of your Facebook fans. A dentist can choose content (typically a practice promotion or something very clever), and promote it to whomever they want within their Facebook fan base (patients who have “liked” their page), or they can promote the post to friends of their Facebook fans; but more on that later. You can promote to a certain gender, age group or demographic. So, for example, if you are running a dental implant promotion, you wouldn’t necessarily want to pay to promote the content to your younger fan base. To actually promote the post, is quite simple. You simply click a button within the post, determine who you want to promote the post to (all of your fans or a select few) and then choose how much you’d like to spend. Of course, you also must comply with all of Facebook’s Terms and Advertising Guidelines.
How much will it cost? – Promoting a Facebook post can cost as much or as little as you like. Obviously, the more you spend, the higher your reach will be. Once you determine the amount you want to spend, Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people your promoted content will reach. To find out if your money has been spent wisely, Facebook will give you all the information you need about how many people saw your post, along with how many likes and shares it received.
Who do I promote my post to? – You can promote a post to all of your Facebook fans (ie – those that have “liked” your practice’s page) – OR – as we hinted at earlier, you can promote a post to the “friends of your fans” – meaning they are friends with your patients but haven’t liked your page yet. This can be a very effective method of reaching people who may be looking for a dentist and are already connected with your current patients. As you know, personal referrals from current patients can be one of the most effective ways to book new patients and promoting your content to “friends of your fans” is the “social media way” to do that.
Many dentists are often shocked that they need to pay to share their content with ALL of their Facebook fans in the first place. But, the reality is, that much like Google, Facebook is beginning to move toward a “pay to play” model. If you want to ramp up your Facebook strategy but aren’t quite sure how, contact our experienced social media team today.