Does My Practice Really Need to Be on Facebook?
Facebook is routinely in the news—and not always to positive acclaim—so you may wonder if you really need to create a business profile on this sometimes-controversial social media platform. The answer is that in the current elective healthcare market, establishing a social media presence for your practice on Facebook has become a vital element of a successful website marketing strategy. Facebook is here to stay, and that’s actually a great thing for your medical or dental practice.
Why is it important for doctors to use Facebook for their business? Some arguments that might pop into your head—the potential to go viral with a post, for instance—may not be among the most compelling or time-effective reasons to log on. However, Facebook has plenty of useful purposes that can give your medical or dental practice a boost in its marketplace. Like these:
Establishing Legitimacy with a Social Media Presence
When evaluating medical and dental professionals online, potential patients not only review the practice’s website, they also frequently check to see if an office has a Facebook page. While they may not directly engage with the Facebook profile by liking posts or leaving comments, many visitors will scroll through posts, read reviews featured on the page, and look at pictures to gauge the legitimacy of the practice and get a personal feel for what it might be like there. A research survey performed by realself.com revealed that when savvy online users notice that a doctor or dentist does not have a Facebook page, they may interpret them as outdated or even see it as a red flag, rather than considering it a simple marketing choice.
Interacting with Patients
When compared with the capabilities of social media marketing, traditional marketing approaches can be interpreted as more impersonal and cold. Through a traditional marketing lens, the only opportunity you may have to personally interact with your patients is at appointments, unless you utilize Facebook. Through your page, you can chat with current and prospective clients, give advice, share updates about your practice, and ultimately influence patients’ healthcare choices.
Standing out from the Competition
Some quick research can show you that your competition is probably already on Facebook, which means you’ll also need to create a profile to maintain an edge in your field. If your rivals are not there yet, seize the chance to nab the prospective patients floating in cyberspace who are seeking a physician just like you.
Cultivating a Loyal Fan Base
It’s possible to create a virtual community through your Facebook posts. You can answer questions, correct misconceptions, create polls, get tips on which treatments patients are interested in most, and much more. By sharing contests, practice milestones, jokes, and facts, patients can feel like they have a closer relationship with their physicians. Quality engagement with social media followers should be the ultimate goal of your efforts.
Enhancing the Performance of Search Engine Optimization
We’re a bit biased, but SEO is a key part of successfully building an online presence in your marketplace. Social media can boost SEO, and Facebook is one more way to incorporate links, promote your unique content, and entice patients to visit your website or schedule a consultation. Every post is an opportunity to link to a procedure, contact, or event information.
Tailoring the Perfect Ad Campaign
Traditional advertising rarely allows for the precision targeting that Facebook Ads offer. You can select from a whole host of identifiers, from age and gender to household income and political inclinations. For better or for worse, Facebook knows everything about us. In some cases, though, that can be an advantage.
Finding Patients Where They Already Are
According to its latest reports, Facebook has over 2.2 billion (with a B) active users. People pop onto the social media site on a daily, if not hourly, basis. That means there’s an excellent chance your next patient (and your next, and your next) is already online searching for the right doctor to help them achieve their goals. Make sure you meet them where they are.
Of course, not all online presences are created equal. Simply posting up a business page without considering how to approach the process can leave you in an echo chamber of one. Just as important as having a Facebook business page is keeping it up to date according to the latest best practices. These guidelines can change daily, so remaining at the cutting-edge of social media marketing is a full-time job. Let our savvy strategists help. Talk to Rosemont Media today to learn more about how Facebook can be a game-changer for medical and dental practices.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on April 17, 2018.