Whether you’re a seasoned dentist with years of experience or fresh out of dental school opening your first practice, growing your Facebook community can be seem like a daunting task. What kind of content should you post? Who should you engage with? How often should you post? And just WHO is going to find the time on your staff to do all of this social media work? No wonder social media often falls to the end of many dentists’ to-do lists.
But it’s important. In today’s marketing world, a robust social media profile is not only key to connecting with your patient base; it’s crucial to successful online marketing. Here’s why:
- Social Media sites like Facebook and Pinterest bring the most referral website traffic. – SproutSocial.com, 2013
- Google places value on social media engagement and includes signals like Facebook Likes and Facebook Shares to help determine your website’s search engine ranking. – Forbes, 2013
- Facebook’s Graph Search is quickly becoming a popular way for people to find services that their friends have “liked.” It’s essentially a new method of online recommendations. – Searchengineland.com, 2013
So, what does all of this mean for dentists who are opening the doors to a new dental practice? Let’s break it down:
- Many new patients are likely to find your website when they are using social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. But you have to be there and be active to be found.
- Google considers many things when they decide which websites to show first in a search for a local dentist. If your practice has a Facebook page with engaging content that is “liked” and “shared,” you will likely see the benefit in how well your website is ranking when someone searches for your services on Google.
- Many of your patients will search for a new dentist right within the Facebook platform – bypassing traditional search engines like Google and Bing. Within the Graph Search function, they can search “dentists my friends like” and it will pull up all of the dental practice Facebook pages that their Facebook friends have “liked.” It’s an instant recommendation for you…but you must have a Facebook profile.
So how do you take advantage of all the new possibilities Facebook has to offer a brand new dental practice? Create a Facebook page and start getting page “likes.” Simple, right? Well, maybe it’s more complicated than that. Regardless, here are three great strategies to get you started:
Ask your Family, Friends and Staff
We must admit; established dentists do have it a little easier when they create a practice Facebook profile because they can simply ask their patients to like their Facebook page to get them started. Dentists who are creating their online marketing materials (including social media) in conjunction with their new practice don’t have any patients to ask yet. But you DO have a staff and presumably friends and family that you CAN ask. Not all of them will say yes (and that’s okay), but many of them will and it’s a good way to get at least 20-30 page likes. If you really want a good start, ask them to share your page on their own Facebook timeline for a little free promotion and extra page likes.
The number one way to increase engagement (ie- get more likes) on your practice Facebook page is by creating and sharing compelling and engaging content. Period. No gimmicks or tricks out there can replace good, old-fashioned content, no matter how enticing they seem. Photos receive 120x more engagement than text-only posts and are key to Facebook success.
Additionally, images are an important part of the “weight” category of Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm. We wrote about Edgerank here. In short, Edgerank determines how often your posts show up in the news feeds of the people or patients who have “liked” your page. One of the elements of the formula is called the “weight” or the quality of the post. Since Facebook has determined that posts with links and photos are higher-quality than text-only posts, it tends to show them more in user’s news feeds. So…if you use quality images in your posts, they will show up in your followers news feeds more AND give them more opportunities to “like” and “share” your content with other Facebook users who can then “like” your page if they choose to.
Join Seasonal Conversations
Creating a content calendar for your social media profiles is a great way to stay on top of your posting schedule; and even if your practice isn’t open during the holidays, your Facebook page should not be. The best way to get your content “shared” or “liked” is to join in on the seasonal conversations. For example, if it’s back to school time, share a post about “back to school” teeth brushing tips. During the holidays, share a teeth-friendly holiday recipe. These types of posts are what your followers will share with their own Facebook friends, increasing your social media exposure.
Facebook doesn’t have to be a daunting task, even for a new practice. We offer 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.