There are nearly 1 billion daily active users on Facebook. About 163.5 million of those are in the United States. Racking up followers and likes for your dental practice isn’t really the hard part. There are numerous articles floating around the net with quick-fix tips to increase your followers. The real trick is building strong relationships in your market area – engaging with both your current and potential patients. This is where brand equity and loyalty are built.
So how do you make Facebook work for you? Follow these eight simple rules and you’ll be off to a good start.
1. Know Your Goal. This rule is often overlooked. Set a goal for your Facebook marketing plan. [Note: It should not be to generate revenue.] Facebook marketing is all about building a community that reacts to and engages with your posts. It’s about brand recognition. A good goal is to increase followers by a specific percentage. The more specific the goal, the more likely you can develop a Facebook marketing plan to accomplish it.
2. Establish a Brand Style. What do people think of when they think of your dental practice? Is your practice family-oriented, professional, fun-loving or something else entirely? Remember, what you post on your updates is what you project to potential patients.
It’s okay to be an expert authority in a content-heavy post one time and a light-hearted friend in an image-driven post another time. The key is making sure your posts always seem to come from the same voice. This can involve setting rules for image types, colors and more. Before you go too far with images and colors, try this: think about the words and phrases that represent your practice. Establish a list of words or phrases you won’t use and a list you like to use. Disney is a great example of this approach. Employees are always cast members and customers are always guests. It’s a small touch, but one that changes the entire demeanor of a conversation, experience or ad.
3. Create a posting schedule and stick to it. It’s important to understand your followers and potential patients. When are they on Facebook and what do they look at? If you’re not sure about the answers, try running a few Facebook ads and study the analytics. This is the kind of information that can help you create a posting schedule that will get results.
Did you know that companies posting more than seven times a week actually see a negative return? According to Facebook, users get annoyed by business posts crowding their feeds. So a couple times a week may be all you need. Just make sure your posts are relevant to you and your patients.
Once you have the information, plan your posting schedule accordingly. Followers like to know when and where they can expect posts. So be reliable. If they can’t count on you, you won’t be able to count on them to share or like your posts.
As you can see, the first three rules are organizational in nature and allow your dental practice to understand the who, what, when and where of your strategic approach. Now let’s look at content.
4. Keep It Short and Simple. It has been shown that short posts get two thirds more engagement than longer posts. People on Facebook might be learning about world events, but they’re also being social and having fun. Try to develop a mix of content that offers fun and enjoyment as well as information that may solve a problem for free.
5. Use Pictures. They’re worth a thousand words. It’s an old saying, but it’s very true. All of the highest rated posts on Facebook include images and videos. They’re eye-catching and can be understood quickly (see #4.). If you can get Facebook fans to stop their scroll for a moment you might just get them to engage.
6. Create a Clear Call to Action. This doesn’t mean you have to ask for followers. It means that you need to give people on Facebook a reason to engage with your post. Ask a relevant question that prompts a conversation. Offer a quick fill-in-the-blank that entices followers to give their two cents. Ask a poll question – people are always curious about the results. Remember to be clear about the action you want from your followers and state it in your text.
7. Offer Contests. Thirty five percent of Facebook users like pages so they can enter a contest. The good news is you can easily increase your followers. The bad news is that they may not be qualified followers. Limit the bad news by carefully crafting your contest offer. Although your target audience may think iPads are cool, they don’t relate to your dental practice. Maybe you should consider offering half-price crowns or discounted teeth whitening. These are items that relate both to you and your potential patients.
The final rule is all about service.
8. Always Respond. It may be time consuming and difficult, but the reason people are active on Facebook is to build relationships. You can’t do that if you don’t respond. Take the time to like responses to your posts. Respond with a comment when possible. Respond with a blanket comment when your time is limited and there has been a good discussion on one of your posts. This validates your followers and encourages them to continue engaging.
For companies that utilize Facebook for marketing their services it’s becoming an invaluable tool – helping to build brand recognition, encourage customer loyalty and draw in new clients. Follow these eight simple rules and give it a go on your own or see how we can build a Facebook strategy for your dental practice. Contact ProSites to schedule a personal consultation at 888-932-3644.