Posting. Boosting. Promoting.

Ed. Note: If you haven’t read my first article on Facebook, click here to get up to speed.

Take a deep breath! Marketing your practice on Facebook seems as confusing as visiting a foreign country where you don’t speak the language –but just like learning anything else new, it’s easy when you can break it down into some simple components.

Three best options to promote your practice

There are 3 effective ways to market your practice on Facebook. I’ll go into more detail for each, but here’s the basic run-down.

  1. Post content. This is the simplest way grow your influence and presence on Facebook. Posting regular content about your practice, dentistry in general, and what’s going on in your life raises your profile and keeps your Facebook page relevant for the people who “like” and “follow” your page.
  2. Boost posts.If you have a specific post that you want more people to see and interact with, you can “boost” it by clicking the “boost post” button at the bottom-right of the post. When you do, it will show up in the “newsfeed” of the exact number of people you want – and you can even choose who will see it.

    Boost posts

  3. Promote Page. You can draw attention to your whole business page by “promoting” it – and having it show up as a sponsored ad.

    Promote Page

Some things to consider:

Posting content is free – boosting and promoting cost money.

That goes for anyone who has any type of page, whether it’s a business, personal, celebrity, brand or product page.

You may have heard that over the last year or so, Facebook has decreased the “organic reach” of promotional posts.

That means they’re reducing the effectiveness of unpaid posts that are overtly “salesy,” and turning up the traffic volume on boosted posts and promoted pages.

So if you’re actively trying to sell something – you should boost or promote it.

In essence, Facebook is trying to monetize posts by making the paid options have better reach.

So the question is:

Free or paid?

  • Free content should be the workhorse of your online marketing plan.

    If you post frequently, you raise the odds that your patients and prospective patients will see your content, “like” and/or “follow” your practice.

    When people “like” and “follow” you, your posts will show up in their feeds more frequently – which means more people will see your posts.

    There’s a whole world of guides and ideas on how to ask people to like your page and posts, and Facebook posted a pretty good list of 50 different tips to get more likes. The idea is to make sure you have a regular, relatable presence on your page – and to ask for likes and follows.

    Most importantly, this “unpaid” content shouldn’t be promotional. If it is, it will likely get obstructed by Facebook’s algorithms, which may even hurt the reach of your non-promotional content in the future.

  • Paying for more exposure has its place – whether you’re boosting posts or promoting your page.

    Both of these options cost money, starting for as little as a $1, going up to thousands of dollars.

    The decision to either boost a post or promote your page depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

    Boosting a post is helpful in getting more people to see specific content and to like, comment or otherwise interact with it. You’d want to boost a post if you think it, specifically, will move the needle for your business. It should be a strong, compelling offer for prospective patients to make an appointment or take some kind of action.  The boost feature lets you target who will see the post – whether it’s your friends and their contacts, or if you want to target specific populations of people.

    On the other hand, promoting your page is all about getting flocks of people to go to and hopefully interact with your page itself. It’s more effective in growing your audience – to get more likes and follows.

The bottom line

While the different rules and lingo associated with navigating Facebook as a business may seem confusing, just keep in mind that Facebook’s primary goal is keep people engaged – to stay on their pages.

As Facebook says, “we want people to have a great experience on Facebook, so we limit the number of ads they see.”

For a dental or medical practice, the implications are clear. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to boost or promote your page unless you have a very specific offer – OR – unless you have a very targeted campaign to capture new patient contacts.

If your goal is to simply engage current patients and potential patients, then posting good, solid content on a regular basis is your best strategy.

Facebook has been headed towards rewarding engagement and charging for ads for a while – now it’s official. They want to control the flow of obvious ads so they can make sure users aren’t seeing too many. The good news is that regular, relevant content is still a great way to reach and interact with people – and Facebook doesn’t charge you for it.

Further Reading:

One of the biggest problems with online marketing in general is that it can be extremely difficult to gauge the effectiveness of your ad spend.

Forbes recently published an article showing important trends within social media – including some simple steps to take to make sure your marketing dollars are actually generating the desired effect. Click here for the story.