Written by TeleVox partner, Wpromote
Facebook has grown to be more than just a social network: for many people, it’s an integral part of everyday life. Facebook is one of the most important parts of marketing any small business or medical practice, and in many ways, it rivals even your medical practice website in importance. Facebook ads are a great way to promote your practice online – but there’s more to Facebook than just ads. With some ingenuity and know-how, you can use Facebook to promote your practice for free!
The first step to promoting your practice on Facebook is setting up a Facebook page. Pages are like profiles for businesses, organizations, and public figures. They’re generally public, and they allow anyone to “like” your practice and follow it with newsfeed updates.
Pages are free to use and easy to set up. To set up your Facebook page, you can use either your business logo or a picture of your main doctor or staff members as your profile picture. Your cover photo should relate to your practice and convey what you’re all about – you might choose a photo of the team, of your office, or anything else that seems relevant. Just make sure the photo you use is one that will draw the eye of the visitor. You could even put your contact info in the cover image.
The “About” section displays below your practice logo. Here you should use your most important keyword phrases as this section is indexed by the search engines. Be sure to put good info in the About section that tells people what your practice does and why it’s unique. Keep this information friendly, informative, and relatively informal. You can include your address and phone number in this section as well.
Facebook pages also give you some power to customize what visitors see when they go to your page. Specifically, Facebook lets you choose a call to action for your page. For most dentists, doctors, and medical practice owners, the best call to action is either to call your practice or to schedule an appointment – these both encourage new patients to join the practice and provide a reminder to current patients to set a checkup appointment. Integrating these features with compelling on-hold messaging and an automated text or email appointment reminder system makes it even more effective.
When posting information on your page’s wall, make sure it is useful to your followers. Avoid being repetitive or posting too many updates. Some examples of what you can post include links to your blog entries, info on special deals you’re running, announcements concerning new products, practice news or hours of operation. Ideally, your content strategy should focus on providing value to your viewers: you might consider including helpful facts about dental health, tips on caring for teeth or staying healthy, and other things that benefit patients while still representing your practice.
To maximize the impact of your Facebook page, you should feature links to it wherever possible. Place social icons on your website that allow visitors to like your page, and include your Facebook page link in the email signature of every employee. Don’t forget to include social proof – that is, evidence that other people support your business. Include metrics like the number of people who like your page on your website, as this will help convince new visitors to like your page as well.
Facebook Groups for Your Practice
Facebook groups are seeing a resurgence.
While Facebook groups were once used only by specific organizations, groups are quickly becoming a premier forum for like-minded individuals to connect online – and if you’re willing to put a little work in, you can use Facebook groups to build your practice and engage with patients.
The most obvious way to do this is to create a Facebook group specifically for patients of your practice. Forming a group like this helps to foster a sense of community amongst your patients, adding to the sense that your practice and your patients constitute one big family.
To raise the chances that patients will join the group, try to go beyond just sending a boilerplate invite on Facebook. Instead, use more personalized methods – you might even consider sending a card to patients asking them to join the group. Putting a little more effort into the invite can drastically increase the number of people who sign up for the group, which will make the group a more vibrant community and help to grow your practice.
Promoting Your Practice Indirectly Through Facebook Groups
Another strategy for using Facebook groups is to create one or more groups not specifically centered on your practice, but more focused on general dental or medical health topics. Don’t be afraid to get specific with these groups: for example, creating a group like “Orthodontic Moms in Denver” and targeting the group towards Denver area moms whose children have braces would be an excellent choice.
In creating these groups, you’re providing value to members in two ways: first, as a healthcare professional, you can provide expert answers to any specific questions they may have about treatment or general health. Second, you’re giving individuals in similar situations an opportunity to connect with each other, share stories and knowledge, and get support for any issues they’re facing.
Creating groups like this isn’t a direct way of promoting your practice, but if you’re an active member who regularly answers questions from other members, it’s inevitable that you’ll build goodwill with group members – and eventually, that will translate into new patients. In this way, you can use Facebook groups as another funnel to acquire new patients and grow your practice.
Facebook Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
While paid Facebook ads should still be a part of your social strategy, it’s important to realize that Facebook can be a powerful free tool for growing your practice. Combined with Facebook ads linking directly to your medical practice website, free Facebook pages and groups can help to bring in new patients and build a thriving practice.