Methods to extend your reach and gain new patients!
Whether we like it or not, Facebook seems to be an ever-present feature in many people’s lives and it won’t be going away any time soon. To ignore it would be wasting a great opportunity to acquire new business, particularly as Facebook has ramped up hugely when it comes to offering advertising opportunities across its platform.
Over the last three or four years, Facebook has ported from a social media platform where you could build relationships and perhaps gain a few new patients via recommendations and associations, to an advertising behemoth where, in skilled hands, you can present carefully crafted ads to thousands of people very quickly indeed.
So what are the main techniques you can use to start gaining traction for your dental business on Facebook? Let’s take a closer look.
This has always been the traditional way of representing and promoting a brand on Facebook. Here you build your practice business page and make regular posts to it to encourage “likes” and interactions. By building this community around your brand, you ultimately hope to attract attention and secure new enquiries and ultimately, business. However, there is a big issue with simply trying to grow organic reach in that Facebook has massively curtailed it in recent years. So whereas in the past, the majority of those following your business would likely have seen most of the content you posted, now less than 5% will. Here we see Facebook rather cynically removing their freebie service and pushing more and more businesses to advertise, dentists included unfortunately.
It still makes sense to build your organic reach on Facebook as people will still look there to see what your practice is doing. However, don’t expect new patient acquisition via organic reach to be anywhere near as healthy as it was before Facebook nailed it down.
When posting to your Facebook page, be sure to make the content worthwhile and something potential new patients might engage with, e.g. events at the practice, business updates, etc. This will work much better than generic, boring content you will often see 3rd party social media services posting on a client’s behalf.
This is a mechanism Facebook introduced to help you get past the block they imposed on organic reach – i.e. you pay them to boost your posts and display it to hundreds/thousands of Facebook users. You can also target the type of people who will see your post using various parameters provided by Facebook. The type of material you may consider boosting would be patient testimonials (approved of course!), updates on open days, offers, new treatment types etc.
This sounds like a great tool and in some circumstances it can be quite useful. It is popular with DIY advertisers who don’t have the time or experience to use Facebook ads correctly, however it does lack a lot of control when compared to ads. Our recommendation would be to use post boosting sparingly and keep your budget tight.
Targeted, paid advertising
This mechanism is very powerful and can yield very good results in the hands of skilled marketers. It lends much more control than post boosting and allows you to target ads to specific groups and with defined objectives in mind e.g. completing a contact form, diverting to a landing page etc. It is very easy to measure the results of your campaigns and then go back to the configuration to make adjustments and optimise.
Whilst Facebook advertising is very powerful, it is not “fire-and-forget” and needs regular updating and maintenance. For example, there is a well-researched phenomenon know as ‘ad blindness’ where users simply start to disregard content if they see it too regularly. So refreshing ad content is key to it remaining effective.
There are several different types of campaigns you can use when advertising on Facebook; from setting up landing pages to capture email addresses for ongoing marketing purposes, to “lead generation” ads designed to stimulate immediate contact, without directing the user away from the Facebook platform.
Sounds too complicated?
Facebook is rapidly becoming a key channel in the overall dental marketing tool-bag but it does take some experience and maintenance to get right. If you have the time and inclination to learn how to do it yourself, then that’s praiseworthy; however if you are time-limited and need some external help, then the team here at Dental Media will be pleased to assist. For any aspect of social media, or indeed any other type of digital marketing for dentists, please call us on 01332 672548.Google+