Our timing is impeccable. A few weeks ago, we published this blog about what dentists shouldn’t do on their Facebook and Twitter accounts; one of them was using Hashtags on Facebook. In our post, we explained that hashtags are used primarily on Twitter (not Facebook) for two reasons:
- To Filter your Timeline – Searchable hashtags can be used to organize content around a big event, theme or news happening. So, if you only wanted to read tweets about what people are saying about the Fourth of July, you could search #FourthofJuly or #JulyFourth or #IndependenceDay.
- To Add Ironic, Sarcastic or Witty Commentary – Many users add hashtags to their tweets as a way to add “aside commentary,” as opposed to wanting your tweets to be found in a larger search about an overall theme or event. They are usually used to be ironic, sarcastic or witty and are used on all social media platforms. So, for example, a patient may post the following on their Twitter feed: “On my way to the dentist for a root canal. Time to take better care of my teeth! #ugh #numbmouth #Istilllovemydentist.”
Once we published the blog post (and literally it was the same day), Facebook announced that like Twitter, Instagram and Google+, it too now supports searchable hashtags on their social media platform. You can read about it here. Guess there is no time like the present to share some of our favorite articles about Facebook hashtags! We think these will help dentists and dental specialists understand what the new hashtag system could mean for you and your Facebook business page.
# 1 – Facebook’s Hashtags will be Great for Marketers (users, not so much)
The tech journalists at GigaOM pointed out that Facebook’s hashtags are much more beneficial to marketers and advertisers (or your practice’s Facebook business page), than for actual users of Facebook. Why? A user’s privacy settings will always control what others can see on their Facebook profile and status updates, including hashtags. So, if a potential patient posts a status like this…
“Looking for a great pediatric dentist for my 2 year old. Any suggestions? #pediatricdentist #babyteeth”
…but has strict Facebook privacy settings and only allows her Facebook friend list to see her status updates (as opposed to all of Facebook), that status would only show up if her friends searched the hashtags. What does this mean for you? If you’re not a Facebook “friend,” this status update won’t show up in a hashtag search of #pediatricdentist for you. Since the purpose of searchable hashtags are to put your status updates in the wider conversation about the same topic, strict privacy settings kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
However, they do point out that for businesses with more than one social media profile (Twitter, Google+ and Facebook), the new Facebook hashtags will better brand and connect your content from network to network.
#2 – Why Facebook Hashtags will Revolutionize Small Business Marketing
Online marketing news source Business2Community offers a great marketing tip for small businesses (dental practices included) wanting to take advantage of the new opportunities Facebook hashtags offer. Here’s what they say:
Use hashtags to find customers. For example, if you sell engagement rings, you can monitor Facebook conversation by searching #engagement to see who’s talking about their “dream ring”. The possibilities are endless.
Kind of genius, right? So, let’s say you have an orthodontic practice and are in need of some new patients. If you have an active business Facebook page, you can search any of the following hashtags: #orthodontist #braces #Invisalign #clearbraces. Your search would result in any status updates (that don’t have strict privacy settings) that included those hashtags. For example you might see:
“Ack! My thirteen year old needs braces! Anyone know a great orthodontist? #braces #orthodontist”
– Or –
“Finally going to invest in a beautiful smile for myself. Thinking about #Invisalign!”
#3 – Five Things Facebook Should Have Included When It Rolled Out #Hashtags
Online advertising magazine AdAge decided to burst everyone’s bubble by pointing out the flaws with Facebook’s hashtags. But, we have to hand it to them; their points are very valid. The most important and critical one for dentists is the inability of your Facebook page administrator to track how many of your Facebook post’s page views come from a hashtag stream. Without that data, there is no way for you to know if the hashtags you’re using are really suitable for your marketing or not. It’s a little like choosing keywords for your online marketing strategies and then never testing them. Definitely a big downside.
New technology developments, like Facebook hashtags, are always exciting for online marketers and small businesses like dental practices. But, we understand that implementing an effective social media plan for your practice can seem daunting and time consuming. It doesn’t have to be – we can help!
We will customize your social media profiles to provide a consistent brand image across all of your accounts. We will post relevant, timely content to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts that will not only connect you with your current & potential patients, but also support and supplement your other online marketing efforts.
Want to know more? Contact our experienced social media team by calling (800) 506-9817 today.