Facebook’s New Algorithm Update and What It Means for Your Dental Practice

On January 11, Facebook announced a change to its algorithm that determines what people see in their news feed. This update is to prioritize posts that spark conversation and encourage meaningful interaction between people.

Why did Facebook make this update?

According to the official announcement, Facebook was built “to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience.”

However, they recently have “gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

As a result – Facebook has made this change to help people find relevant content that encourages more social interactions from friends, families and groups instead of video and other public content. Facebook feels that because of the last couple years where public content has exploded, the news feed has shifted away from helping people connect with each other.

What does this mean for my dental practice’s Facebook page?

Prioritizing posts from friends and family means people will see more posts and content from people and less from brands and businesses. While impact will vary, businesses sharing posts that don’t generally elicit comments or interaction will see the largest decrease in distribution, while those who create conversation will see less of an effect.

The good news is that most Facebook pages probably won’t see much of a change in reach because of these new updates. Facebook has encouraged businesses to produce great content that is relevant and resonates with their audience – in other words, don’t try to game the new feed update by posting a fun video that has nothing to do with your audience. Instead, play it safe and stick to content that’s relevant to your audience.

Is there anything dental practices should be doing differently now on social media?

As mentioned above – while impact will vary and is still not fully understood since the update is so new, according to AdWeek, there are a few things that businesses can do to continue to reach a larger audience on their Facebook pages:

  • Encourage patients to add your practice’s page to Facebook’s see it first This feature essentially allows each person to customize their news feed experience by scrolling through friends and pages they follow and select who they want to prioritize seeing first.
  • As a local dental practice, take steps to be included in the Facebook Local application, a standalone mobile app that helps people easily find what to do and where to go, as recommended by people they know and trust.
  • Post engaging and relevant content that sparks conversations. As mentioned above, the more meaningful content and interactive posts – the better. Use polls to ask patients for their opinions, and be responsive on your pages to encourage back-and-forth dialog on your posts. If you are looking for ideas, check out this infographic with 30 Great Social Media Post Ideas for Dentists.

The biggest takeaway is that dental practices should continue to market their practices on social media – encourage positive reviews on their page to build trust among potential patients and have engaging content that keeps them social, engaged, interacting, and informative.

To learn more about marketing your practice on social media, download our latest eBook that discusses 7 actionable strategies to win new patients on social media. Click here or fill out the form below for your free copy.