By now, most dentists know that they can’t choose to simply “opt out” of social media if they want to get more patients searching for a dentist or dental specialist online. Not only is it becoming the number one place your target market (adults aged 45-54) are spending their time online, but the latest research shows that social media signals can affect your search engine rankings more than any other online marketing activity. If potential patients don’t find you on social media, they’ll likely move on to the next option. They want to be able to “check you out” before making an appointment. It’s that simple.
But, social media is fast-paced marketing. It takes diligent research to stay on top of what works for dental practices hoping to use social media sites like Facebook as a marketing tool. One of the things that we know at Bullseye Media, is that a “brand” page on Facebook (or in your case, your practice’s business page) isn’t going to attract Facebook users. Even if a patient becomes a “fan” of your page, they likely won’t return to your page ever again once they’ve “liked” it, with the possible exception of “checking in” to your location on Facebook when they have an appointment. In fact, 96% of people who “like” a branded page don’t return back a second time. But, don’t take it personally. It happens to even the biggest of brands like Coke and Target, too. It’s just the nature of social media.
So, why spend all this time making sure your practice’s Facebook page has compelling and high quality content if your patients won’t visit your page? Simple. Make sure your posts show up in your Facebook fan’s newsfeed.
Mashable.com says that the average Facebook user spends more than a quarter of their time scrolling through their newsfeed, briefly reading status updates and viewing uploaded photos. Not sure what a newsfeed looks like? Here is a screen shot of ours:
The middle column is essentially what will show up in a Facebook user’s newsfeed; and it’s important to note that what shows up there isn’t just left to chance. Facebook uses an intricate algorithm called EdgeRank to determine how often your posted content (status updates, photos, links to our blog posts) show up in your patient’s newsfeeds. Postrocket created an excellent infographic on the subject that breaks down the three factors that affect how often your Facebook posts show up in your fan’s newsfeeds:
- Affinity – EdgeRank monitors how closely related the relationship between the viewing user (your patient) and originator of the post (you, the dentist). So, posts from someone in your family show up in your newsfeed more often than those from an old friend from college who friended you 5 years ago.
- Weight – The type of post matters in how Facebook perceives the quality of the content. Photos, videos and posts with a link have more weight than just text-only status updates.
- Time-Decay – Facebook continually wants their users to enjoy fresh and timely content in their newsfeeds. So, the older your Facebook posts get, the less value it has.
All of these factors are important in determining if your Facebook posts work with EdgeRank’s algorithm. So what should a dentist do? Here are three tips to making sure your Facebook posts aren’t left out of your potential patient’s newsfeeds:
TIP #1 – Don’t Shy Away from Images – Not only do images receive 120x more engagement than just text-based posts, images are the number one factor in EdgeRank’s “weight” category. So, snap that photo and post away! Bonus Tip: Want even more user engagement? Photo albums on Facebook get 180x more engagement than text-based posts, according to Facebook research.
TIP #2 – Post Content Daily – The only way to overcome the time-decay factor in EdgeRank is to post fresh content every single day. Also, it’s the easiest way to get your content in front of patients and potential patients on a regular basis.
TIP #3 – Stay Relevant – Facebook says that posts that relate to but are not directly about your brand perform best. For example, a post offering your favorite children’s books about visiting the dentist (with an image) will perform better than just a link to your blogs posts or worse, posts about politics or the weather. Dentists should feel free to get creative in their posts but not stray too far from their expertise.
Bullseye now offers comprehensive social media management for dentists and dental specialists. For more information on Facebook strategies for dentists and other social media tips, contact our social media team today.
Stay tuned for our latest eBook, “The Dentist’s Definitive Guide to Social Media: Compelling Content Strategies that Work for Any Practice” and learn more about crafting the right content strategy for your practice. You can request it at www.BullseyeSocial.com to find out more.