With organic reach of business posts continuing to decline, how are dental professionals supposed to grow their audience on Facebook? It’s simple: have your patients post on your behalf!
Consider these Facebook stats: In 2014, studies found that the average organic reach of business page posts was around 6 percent. This means that without paying for post promotion, a business’ post would only reach about 6 out of every 100 people that follow them! In 2017, it’s estimated to be even less, around 2 percent. Additionally, Facebook says to expect organic reach to eventually arrive at zero. All major social media platforms are following this trend.
A large following doesn’t guarantee that your practice’s posts will make it to many of your patients, even less so to your ideal potential patients. And if you’re starting your dental practice’s digital marketing strategy with less than 100 social media followers, as we suspect many reading this post are, how are you supposed to build your online presence in the first place? An important part of the solution is patient posting.
What do we mean by that? Well, because posts from personal accounts aren’t subject to the same organic reach limitations that business posts are, your patients’ personal posts have a much higher chance of being seen by their family and friends — people who remember and trust their recommendations. The best way to introduce your practice to the people most likely to become new patients is through your existing patients online!
Inviting Patients to Post For You
So, how do you actually get patients and fans to post to their own accounts on your behalf? Start by following these simple guidelines:
- Provide a remarkable patient experience.
We won’t attempt to lay out exactly how to run a dental practice here, but we can give you some insight into what people are most vocal about on social media:
- Outstanding customer service
- Friendly, personable team members
- Businesses that ask for and implement feedback
- When a business does something unexpected to make them feel appreciated
Of course, any changes to your practice culture require everyone to be on board, and specific, organized training. Effective social media marketing is a team effort that will be rewarding and fun. As long as the initiative is organized with a specific goal in mind, your team can rally around the experience and make the entire office a better place to work and visit.
Teach your team members to bring up social media with everyone who visits your practice. Don’t assume for whatever reason that one of your patients isn’t on social media. Studies show that nearly 70 percent of all adults in the U.S. have a Facebook account.
- Turn positive feedback into patient posts and reviews.
Train your team to listen for patients’ in-person and online compliments and ask them to turn that positive feedback into a review or social media post. Here are a couple examples of what you might say when a patient expresses how much they love your practice:
In person: “Thank you! Your feedback means a lot to us. We would love to take a photo with you and have you as one of our Patients of the Week! If you tag our practice when you post your photo you will be entered into a drawing for a gift card!”
Online: “Thank you so much! We’re so glad you chose us and we wish we could have more patients like you! To help us do that, could you turn your comment into a Google review for us? Here’s the link to our reviews page…”
- Make snapping and sharing photos fun and easy.
Everyone loves to snap selfies. And as mentioned before, photos shared to a patient’s own account will do more to help new patients find you than almost anything else. There’s a lot you can do to create natural, fun opportunities for patients to snap and share a photo:
- Use Social Signs. My Social Practice offers a wide variety of signs you and patients can hold in photos, with captions to fit any occasion. They’re great icebreakers!
- Have a dedicated photo area. This can be in a well- lit area of the waiting room, with a table that has fun props and background posters.
- Give them a good reason to participate and share a photo. Run practice campaigns and contests giving patients a chance to win a prize, support a charitable cause, or commit to better oral health.
About the Author
Jackson Hadley is a marketing strategist with My Social Practice, which provides a complete social media marketing solution for dental, orthodontic and optometric practices. A public relations specialist, Jackson combines the advertising and trust-building aspects of social media to help businesses connect authentically with their communities.