Facebook must like dentists. Why else would they make it easier for you to run and administer promotions on Facebook? That’s right, they’ve changed the rules and they are definitely in your favor. Here’s what dentists should know:
The Old Rules
Entrepreneur Magazine reported that previously, “Facebook’s terms prohibited businesses from using any of the website’s inherent activities as an entry into a contest or promotion.” What that means is it was against Facebook Rules to give away anything for a promotion by asking your Facebook fans to ‘like’, ‘share’, leave comments or tag themselves in a Facebook post or photo. Additionally, all promotions had to be administered through a third party app, which were usually cumbersome and confusing for the Facebook users trying to participate in the promotion. Presumably, Facebook put these rules in place for two reasons; to avoid business’ from buying ‘likes’ by offering a prize or incentive and to stay out of legal hot water that can come with running promotions.
The New Rules
What Facebook found was that regardless of their regulations, many small businesses (including dental practices) weren’t aware of these rules and were using Facebook features (likes, shares, comments) to hold contests anyway; thus putting everyone in a potential legal quagmire. So, Facebook has made it much easier (and more effective) for dentists to run promotions on their Facebook page. That’s right, no more cumbersome (and somewhat sketchy) third party apps to administer your Facebook promotions or contests. Now, you CAN run a promotion by asking for likes, comments and shares and you can do it all within Facebook’s platform. You can even use ‘likes’ as a voting mechanism. But, the possibilities aren’t entirely endless; here’s what Facebook still prohibits:
• Encouraging your Facebook fans to tag themselves in photos or posts they are not actually involved in.
• Asking your Facebook fans to share your promotion on their personal timeline as a means of participating.
Additionally, your practice’s Facebook promotion should still be ran in accordance with the laws and rules of Facebook; including clear posting of eligibility, promotion rules and compliance with Facebook. For more on that, check out the official Facebook promotion guidelines here.
What this Means for your Online Dental Marketing
Building and nurturing patient engagement is the key to any successful dental practice Facebook page, and Facebook’s new promotion rules open up a whole new world for dentists who want to build upon their current SEO strategy and increase patient engagement. Here’s how:
Likes and Shares are Social Signals – The more ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘comments’ you receive on your Facebook page, the more social signals your Facebook profile potentially sends to Google. The more social signals Google receives from you, the more impact it can have on your SEO efforts. Since your Facebook activity has 3 of the top 6 correlating ranking factors for search engine ranking, it makes sense to spend some time growing each of those. Looks like it’s time for some promotions!
Meaningful Promotions build Meaningful Patient Relationships – To meaningfully engage with your patients online, run Facebook promotions that would excite them! And no, that doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole year’s budget on a huge giveaway. But, you’d be surprised just how careful most people can be when it comes to giving their stamp of approval to a post or image on Facebook, even if it could mean winning a giveaway. If you have a cosmetic dentistry practice, consider running a promotion for FREE teeth whitening, or if you’re an orthodontist consider running a back-to-school promotion offering free braces for a child. We’ve even seen dentists do giveaways for an iPad, which is always a huge hit. Most of the time, asking your patients to like your page to enter for a complimentary consultation won’t get much response, so give them something they can really ‘like.’
If you’re a dentist considering running a Facebook promotion or building your social media profiles, contact our social media team for more information.