Grow Your Business with Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” He built his business and fortune on this one simple principal. Think about it and you’ll see that this idea works for everything. Looking for a good restaurant – ask a friend. Can’t decide which movie to go see this weekend – ask a friend. When you need a dentist, who do you trust for recommendations? Your friends.
Twitter has more than 316 million active monthly users (Twitter, 2015). Google+ has over 300 million monthly active users (Statista, 2015). Facebook has nearly 1.5 billion active monthly users (Statista, 2015). Not all of them are your friends, but many of them could be. It’s like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, only substituting your dental practice for Mr. Bacon. This is why social media works for growing businesses – six degrees.
First Degree. Create a Facebook page for your practice. Facebook opens endless possibilities for you to engage with potential customers and raise awareness. However, ensuring that you meet your objectives and create a consistent brand voice can be daunting and time consuming. An Internet marketing company can help you build a plan and maintain content that fits an overarching marketing strategy for your practice.
Short of that, you can begin with your first degree of connections. Put together a page for your practice and invite your close personal friends and family to “like” it. While your family and friends will probably like your page no matter what, it’s important to remember that this page will make a first impression with potentially 1.5 billion people. The nicer it looks the better your chances of making a second impression and getting new patients. So take your time and do it right.
Second Degree. Develop a plan to invite your current patients, as well as “not-so-close” friends and acquaintances to your page. Be careful, nobody likes spam. Don’t send requests too often or in bulk. Being reported as a spammer can get you suspended from Facebook and creates an unwanted image for your practice. If you need help, an Internet marketing company can help you create a strategy that works within Facebook rules of etiquette to build your network of friends without being considered a spammer.
These first two degrees of connections are foundational. Most, if not all, of these requests to “like” will be with people who are already familiar with your business.
Third Degree. What do your patients, friends and acquaintances care about? We can safely say that most don’t want to be hammered over the head with marketing content. Do some research to discover what they engage with on Facebook – news stories, fun facts, humorous memes? Take a look at companies that have been successful in engaging similar audiences and see what has worked for them. The goal is to get your followers to not just like, but share your posts. Getting this engagement is how you introduce your practice to an exponentially larger market of potential patients.
Fourth Degree. Likes are good, but shares are valuable. A share is an endorsement that goes out to everyone on the sharer’s friend list. A post has to connect emotionally with a person in order for them to share it. Posts that offer almost universally common denominators (think complaints) tend to get shared most often. We’ve all seen and laughed at posts about long work days, bad weather, and tiring family members. Although unfounded, people like to complain about dentists too. Creating a funny and smart series of memes involving teeth may fit this trend.
The key to your content plan should be to develop a balance between posts that talk about your company and those that engage on a broader scale. Although you may want every post to highlight your practice’s people and services you may discover it’s not an effective strategy. Finding the right balance takes time and testing.
Fifth Degree. Social media is a conversation. Now that you have an active social media plan for your practice – you’re building your network of friends, regularly posting content, getting engagements – it’s time to take part in conversations. You probably know that should always respond to people who comment and share your posts. But you may not know the importance of commenting on other stories and posts within your network of friends and followers. If Facebook friends think of your practice only as a business your social media plan can still bring in new patients. And, if your Facebook friends think of your practice as a personality that they can converse and share with, you’ll hold a position of trust and authority.
Sixth Degree. “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” Zuckerberg’s comment was aimed at explaining why social media can have a major impact on businesses. But what happens when a business becomes a trusted friend. Friends are influencers and ambassadors. When your practice holds a position of trust and authority on Facebook, you may have thousands of friends and followers ready to be your ambassador and recommend you when that simple question is asked – “Anyone know a good dentist?”
There is no quick answer or magic meme that will instantly build your authority. While social media can be fun, planning and implementing a social media campaign takes time. If keeping up with your social media marketing is not where you want to utilize your skills, a qualified Internet marketing company can help. To learn how ProSites can create a strategy to meet your practice’s goal, contact us for a personal consultation at 888-932-3644.