Many of the health care practitioners we work with have smaller practices. The provider tends to wear many hats – office manager, salesperson and healer. Their ability to not only survive, but also thrive is dependent upon their effectiveness in retaining their current client base and attracting new patients. As with most providers, they rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising from current patients – but sometimes, that just isn’t enough. Enter Facebook.
We aren’t talking about using a personal Facebook page to nurture current patients and attract new ones. We’re talking about a Facebook Business Page. The separation of work and personal life is important for health practitioners. It’s not an easy task, but an important one!
Facebook is a great place to take that interpersonal relationship you’ve already built, expand upon it and share it with others. You need to have boundaries to not only abide by HIPAA regulations, but also to protect the doctor-patient relationship line.
Once you get your page launched and begin attracting followers, you will need to spend time nurturing your page, as Facebook doesn’t allow all of your followers to see every post – only a percentage. But the more intriguing the post, the further the reach. Pictures will often increase the reach, as will original content (versus third-party content).
The key is to monitor and adjust. You can also consider boosting posts or sponsoring posts to get increased engagement and reach.
First, let’s take a look at who is on Facebook. According to a Pew Research Center poll, the majority of users are women, but men are quickly catching up. The largest sector are people ages 18-29, with 30-49-year-olds a close second. Overall, nearly 80 percent of online adults, and nearly 70 percent of all Americans, use Facebook.
In order to create a Business Facebook Page, you must have a personal account. Facebook offers quite a few step-by-step help pages to walk you through the actual process. As these platforms change quite often, we won’t go through all the details here, but they are easily found online.
- Just the facts: Before you can attract “Likes” and share content, spend the time to fill in all the basic facts, such as “About Your Practice,” office hours, location, and any other pertinent details.
- Make it visual: Add a dynamic cover photo and your logo if you have one.
- Admins: If you have an office manager or someone within the practice who will be helping post items and monitoring the site, make them an admin. They will need a Facebook account, and the originator of the page will need to be connected to the person as “friends” on Facebook.
- Have a content calendar! Know what you will be posting daily. Maybe there are some community events, seminars, open houses, staff birthdays and the like. Plug those posts into the calendar with any relevant pictures or hyperlinks that go with them.
- If you have a blog on your website, make sure to post a link to it when you make the blog live on your site.
- Share third-party content your readers will enjoy.
- Pictures! Facebook loves pictures, so use them. They are entertaining, engaging and will increase your reach.
- Share pictures and stories of your staff (with their signed permission).
- Share testimonials and pictures of patients (with their signed permission).
Keep It Interesting
Facebook definitely isn’t “set it and forget it.” The key is to keep things interesting and new. Remember to reach out and “Like” other pages, such as referring physicians and local businesses or organizations.
Spend the time to “Like,” comment and tag others, and you will find they might do the same for you! Sure, the effort will take some time, but it will be worth it.
Ideally, you will want to post daily. Using tools such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts, or even the Facebook Scheduling tool, will help you get ahead of the game.
Pay a Little to Get a Lot
If you want to increase your reach so your post is seen by more people, consider boosting your post. Twenty dollars goes a long way and you can quickly see your engagement rise. This is a great way to get more people to “Like” your page. Choose a post that has gotten some organic traction, put a few dollars behind it as a “boost,” and see how it goes!
Have a bit more money to spend? Try creating an ad campaign on Facebook or sponsoring a post. These are great if you are having an event such as a seminar or a webinar, or launching a new product or service. Not only will you increase your “Likes,” but you will also reach a wide range of potential “buyers.”
Creating Advocates in the Process
If you post interesting content which is a mixture of serious and fun, you will begin to get a following. Don’t be shy about asking for reviews and testimonials, either. If your patients love you, then they will share their love via Facebook.
The magic happens when your online following becomes your advocates and starts sharing your brand with others without asking.
Wrapping It All Up
The key to using Facebook is being authentic, timely and consistent. Show your true colors, highlight you and your staff as you are in your day-to-day practice. Staging just doesn’t work!
Don’t talk constantly about chiropractic / health care “stuff” – mix it up with some fun non-chiropractic content. Make it worth your visitors’ time. If it’s boring, they will leave; if it’s fun, they will stay. It really is that simple.
Rob Berman is a partner at Berman Partners, LLC, a medical device sales, service and marketing company. He has held a variety of marketing roles during his career. Rob can be contacted by phone at 860-707-4220 or by email at . His company website for new lasers is www.bermanpartners.com and for used lasers www.usedlasercenter.com.
Cindy Donaldson is president and CEO of Red Barn Consulting, a strategic marketing, sales and business operations consulting firm. Contact her at 860-469-8090.