by Rick Kuwahara COO of Paubox
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How To Use Facebook To Market Your Medical Practice
by Rick Kuwahara COO of Paubox
With over 1.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook is undeniably the juggernaut of all social media platforms. As a result, 2/3 of doctors use social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community.
This makes having a Facebook business page to market your medical practice a no-brainer, whether it’s for a dental practice or a private physician. A strong presence can help humanize and elevate your brand, helping you to stand out from the competition.
However, how to capitalize on this value can elude a lot of doctors. Below are a few basic steps to follow in order to maximize Facebook and grow your practice.
Verify your page
Letting Facebook and your potential clients know that your business actually exists is the first step in creating a winning, quality Facebook page. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Click Settings at the top of your page
- From General, click Page Verification
- Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started
- Enter your business phone number, your country and language
- Click “Call Me Now”, and Facebook will call you with a verification code
- Enter the four-digit verification code and click Continue
Don’t skimp on the description section
There are a bunch of things to do when first setting up your Facebook Business page, selecting the url, choosing photos, making sure that addresses and phone numbers are correct etc.
In the midst of it all it is easy to forget one of the most important steps in writing an informative and accurate description of your practice. The age of your practice, specialties, and any other factors unique to your office can not only help but make you easier to find, but also endear you more to a potential patient.
Keep it short and simple
Care to guess how many characters Facebook allows in its posts? 140? Nope. 500? Try again.
If you guessed 63,206 you are the winner!
This number is huge (and seemingly completely random). While this ridiculous character limit may lead you to believe that you need to post long diatribes to get noticed, the truth is that the peak performing posts on Facebook are right around 80 characters.
Remember that Facebook users generally engage with pictures, videos and links. Don’t make your business page your new blog.
Give your visitors some direction
A thousand likes on your business page is great, but it’s meaningless if none of those likes convert into new or returning patients.
Be sure to create calls-to-action (CTA) on your page as well as individual posts. Decide what metric is the most useful and will help grow your practice (site visits, form fill outs, post shares, etc.). Then craft your content and posts to meet those ends.
And remember, there is nothing wrong with having multiple types of calls to action, just make sure each one is thought out, managed and measured.
Quick Tip: Don’t be afraid to test your CTAs to see which ones engage people better.
Pictures, pictures, pictures…and video too
Facebook’s algorithm generally favors posts with photos over other types, like text and links. Therefore, as much as possible select high quality photos that relate to whatever it is that you are posting.
If you are handy with your smartphone, video is extremely popular too, and you don’t need to worry about high production quality. Just be authentic. There’s a reason why Facebook is pushing it’s live video feature so much.
However, be sure not to violate any HIPAA rules with your posts. Avoid photos and descriptions of patients, procedures or any other potentially sensitive information that can expose protected health information (PHI).
Quick Tip: Pictures of people tend to perform better than those of objects or illustrations.
Post good stuff
While pictures are important, be sure that your posts are diversified in subject matter, informative and/or entertaining.
If your posts are the equivalent to billboard ads (GET YOUR BRACES HERE!), there is little to no value in people returning to your page. Along with your pictures, sharing infographics, links to reputable articles and brief commentary on your practice will go a long way in engaging your followers.
Quick Tip: Take a look at other similar practices that have Facebook pages with high engagement and see what types of posts they share.
Know when to post
While, generally speaking Thursdays after work hours are among the best times to post on Facebook, there is no hard and fast rule.
Your post views may peak on a Tuesday afternoon, but you’ll never know if you don’t pay attention. Be sure to track how your posts are performing. Facebook is a great platform when it comes to providing analytics and will even suggest which posts to boost with a Facebook Ad.
Quick Tip: Try to maintain a consistent posting schedule, you can use automation tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule your posts days in advance.
Promote, Promote, Promote
This is another often overlooked factor in building a Facebook Business page as many practices view the page itself as the advertisement.
The fact is that you do have to promote your page. Whether it’s through word of mouth, Facebook Ads or other means of promotion. Remember that your Facebook business page is a means to funnel patients into your office. Therefore enhancing your page’s visibility is always critical.
This includes adding links to your Facebook page on your website, business cards, and other social profiles like LinkedIn.
Boosting your posts can be extremely effective in expanding your reach easily, especially if you utilize video.
Take advantage of Facebook’s powerful targeting to put your ads in front of people who live near your practice, and even target by their interests – who wouldn’t want a waiting room full of Star Wars lovers?
You can even ask your existing patients to leave reviews on your Facebook page. This will give new visitors some confidence in your care. Even negative reviews have their value.
Quick Tip: Use offline flyers in your office to encourage patients to like your Facebook page.
Ultimately Facebook business pages are a must have for online marketing. It’s simple, effective and measurable. With a little effort, research and common sense, your page can be a communication hub for your patients as well as a filler for your waiting room.