Social media expert Kristie Nation reviews four things dental practices should be doing on Facebook in 2016.
Your practice is on Facebook. You are trying to stay abreast of best practices and ensure that your offline and online marketing plans are cohesive. But are you really leveraging Facebook?
In 2016, these four methods can help you increase your practice's online presence and give you an actual return on investment in regard to the time and money you are spending on digital marketing.
Go back to basics
In order to leverage your Facebook page, first make sure it is complete. Does your practice page have: (1) a completely filled out "Page Info" section, including a short and long description; (2) a tagline that evokes the image you want your practice to have; (3) a beautiful cover photo that matches the rest of your branding; or (4) a call to action, encouraging visitors to contact your practice? Making sure your Facebook page is always correctly updated and kept looking fresh is one of the first steps toward success.
Show, don't tell
If there is anything certain about social media, it is that nearly every platform is making the shift to be more visual. Sharing images of your practice, your team, and your patients (with permission, of course) can be the single greatest thing you do on Facebook this year.
Facebook makes it easy to show instead of tell. Visual content already makes up the best performing posts on Facebook. In fact:
• Posts with images receive 94% more views than posts without images.1
• People retain 65% of what they read online when it is accompanied by an image, compared to 10% of text-only posts.2
• Infographics get shared on social media three times more than other kinds of content.3
Start paying to play
While Facebook's early appeal was that you could build a large organic online following for your practice with only a time investment, everyone knew the platform would eventually monetize. Facebook's "Power Editor" allows you to run campaigns to raise brand or local awareness or increase website clicks and conversions on your practice website. It also allows you to target audiences based on location, age, gender, interests, and familiarity (or lack thereof) with your practice. You can tailor campaigns to your budget and test campaigns or ads against one another for efficacy and ROI.
Stay on top of changing best practices
Finally, stay up to dateon the latest news from Facebook regarding potential marketing options and preference given to types of posts. Things changed significantly in 2015 with a continued shift away from organic views, a battle between text and visual content (visual won), and better Facebook "Ad" experiences, including an updated "Ad Manager" and a comprehensive Power Editor.
In 2016, change will happen again. Plans are in the works for live-streaming video, which is great for real-time updates when your practice's team is participating in community events,4 as well as "Instant Articles." The Instant Articles tool is still in beta, but dental practices may soon be able to take advantage of it to publish informational content that loads instantly on mobile-the device of choice for more people every year.5
Follow these four steps to increase your practice's reach, visibility, and conversions in 2016. Facebook can be one of the most powerful online marketing tools at your disposal, but only if you commit to using it to your advantage. Start revising your strategy today and see how much better 2016 can be than last year.
1. Joyce L. 6 types of visual content you need to use in your marketing campaigns. KissMetrics website. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/visual-content-you-need-to-use-in-your-marketing-campaign. Published August 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
2. Ahmad I. Internet marketing trends and tactics for 2014 (infographic). Social Media Today website. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/internet-marketing-trends-and-tactics-2014-infographic. Published December 28, 2013. Accessed February 1, 2016.
3. Kolowich L. How to get more engagement with your visual content (infographic). Hubspot Blogs. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/boost-engagement-visual-content Published February 3, 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
4. DeMers J. Live streaming is coming to Facebook: What you need to know. Forbes website. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/12/14/live-streaming-is-coming-to-facebook-what-you-need-to-know/#313e8b4462dc. Published December 14, 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
5. Instant Articles. Facebook. https://instantarticles.fb.com. Published November 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
Kristie Nation is the founder and CEO of myDentalCMO, a marketing consulting firm that provides strategic marketing "treatment plans" exclusively for dental practices. The firm was founded with a mission to prevent dentists from wasting countless dollars marketing their practices ineffectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (877) 746-4410.