November 5, 2012
So, you’re the owner of a dental practice and you are trying to figure out the best steps to get on to Facebook to drive new patients. It can be a daunting task and with little extra time in the day, how can you be expected to spend time promoting your business on Facebook? I completely understand the challenges of running a small business as well as a dental practice. After speaking with many other small businesses, I’ve compiled the following list of strategies that should help ease the process.
1. Contact Your Fans Directly
While digital media companies and large brands may have thousands upon thousands of fans, most dental practices don’t end up with as many fans, especially if they are local. When you first start growing, it’s a good idea to
interact with each new fan on an individual basis. Send users a message after they’ve become a fan of your Facebook page. Build a relationship with each fan and they’ll become a fan and a customer forever. Once you build a connection there’s a good chance the user will tell their friends. I’ll be discussing that strategy further in an upcoming guide. The main point here is that each new fan can be considered a new lead for a dental office. Selling on Facebook though is subtle and should not be done in an overly aggressive way. Just because someone became a fan does not mean you should send them a message saying “Buy my stuff today!” Instead, reach out to each new
fan individually to welcome them to your Facebook Page and begin a dialogue. Many times these initial conversations will lead to lasting business relationships.
2. Create A Facebook Page, Not New Profiles
A quick way to get banned from Facebook is to set up multiple accounts and multiple profiles. I have multiple friend requests in my inbox currently from people who’ve set up separate accounts to promote their business. Don’t do this! You can go to http://www.Facebook.com/advertising/?pages to set up your own Facebook Page while keeping your existing profile. Under no circumstance should you be creating separate accounts. Not only is it against Facebook’s terms, but it provides no additional value.I could spend more time explaining why this is flat out a bad idea but I won’t. It’s much better to spend the time focused on the activities you should be doing!
3. Go Slow And Steady, Don’t Overdo It
Any form of promotion is like compound interest. It takes time to build up the residual returns but if you stick with it, the pay off can be substantial. Many people hear that Facebook is a great way to promote their practices
but after trying it out for a few days or even a couple weeks, they don’t see significant results so they give up and decide to keep paying for Yellow Page advertisements. Who knows how well Yellow Page ads pay off but that
monthly check must be going towards something, right? The difference between Facebook and more traditional promotional channels is that the dentist or a dental team member needs to invest a little bit of time. The extra effort can go a long way and can even provide a rewarding experience as patients begin to provide feedback and communicate directly with you. So, how much time do you need to be spending? Not hours a day! While promoting via Facebook can become an addictive process, you can allocate little more than an hour a week to your promotional activities.While it’s never bad to start off enthusiastically, you don’t want to waste all
of your efforts in the first few days.
4. Don’t Spam
I’ve written about this before and it never gets old: don’t spam your users. As the owner of a blog, I get countless people who try to spam the comments and I’ve seen the same thing take place on Facebook. Spamming
your users with too many links or trying “black hat” tactics to rapidly drive up your Facebook Page fan base is not worth it. Facebook is aggressive at stopping spam and there is a good chance that they’ll stop you
somewhere along the way, and it can potentially cost a lot.
5. Consider It An Educational Experience
Rather than looking for an instantaneous return, look at it as a longterm educational experience. As you improve your strategy, you’ll attract more fans. It takes time to master Facebook promotion and time to reap
the rewards but the payoff can be significant. The main point of this rule is clear: stick with it for the long haul. If you blow out your budget in the first few days and expect to have a massive response, you will be seriously disappointed. Learn from the experience, take notes, and improve your strategy over time. It may sound like a lot of time but you can do much of this in as little as 15 minutes a day. One other benefit of considering it an educational experience is that the whole process is deductible in your taxes. You can write off the expenditure as advertising or education (you need to speak to your accountant to determine the best way to file an entry for this).
We’ll explore rules 6-10 in the next installment of The Digital Dentist blog post.