Today’s digital world lends its way to an “always on” lifestyle,
with social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and
more recently Google+ and Pinterest competing for attention
in our personal lives, and enhancing the way businesses interact
and communicate with their customers. Social networking for
a dental practice is about fostering a community, and building a
following with a degree of consistent engagement through a dialogue
between practice and patient.
If you already have a Facebook page for your practice, you likely
learned that the old adage “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t
really apply here. The signal-to-noise ratio is simply too great to
expect patients to stumble upon your page with no prompt or
incentive to do so. So how can you reliably build your Facebook
following and get more “likes?” Practices without a Facebook page
should know, according to Google, 57 percent of people talk more
online than they do in real life. Think back to the referrals you used
to get when one mom asked another mom on a soccer field about
her family’s dentist. Those same referral conversations still exist
today, but are now more likely to happen online, through social
networks like Facebook. It is not enough to simply set up a
Facebook page and check a box on your long list of marketing todos.
To effectively engage your practice’s community online, you
must have something compelling to share online. Whether it is a
community event you are participating in, a contest in your office
or even a new and exciting treatment, you must keep the content
flowing on your page to keep patients interested. Earlier this year,
Dentaltown published an article of 52 weeks of Facebook post ideas
to support you in building your content strategy for social media.
Content, while critical to a successful Facebook marketing strategy,
is just one piece of the puzzle. Consider the following best practices
for Facebook business pages to drive up your Facebook likes and
grow your practice’s online presence.
1. Set up a Facebook Vanity URL
The default Facebook Web address for your page includes a long
randomly assigned string of letters and numbers. Once you’ve hit 25
likes on your Facebook page, you can set up a unique URL (Web
address) for your Facebook page. Having a short URL will make
it more memorable and much easier for your community to find
your practice’s page. To see if you have a vanity URL, go to your
Facebook page and look in the address bar. If your address is
www.facebook.com/yourusername, you are all set. If it is not, go to
www.facebook.com/username and follow the instructions on screen.
2. Link to Facebook in All Your Marketing Efforts
Social media icons are on nearly every marketing medium
seen today. Ensure each page of your practice Web site has a link
to Facebook. Add your Facebook vanity URL to all of your advertisements
including your business cards, letterhead, TV ads, newspaper articles, radio placements, electronic communications
and digital signage.
3. Add QR Codes to Your Practice Swag
If you give away swag (practice-branded items like postcards
and flossers), be certain to include a QR (Quick Response Code) for
marketing purposes. QR codes are barcodes readable by smartphones
and can link to your Facebook page. Place these codes on
your practice T-shirts, mugs, toothbrushes, bracelets, bags, magnets
and lip balm.
4. Include a Link to Facebook in Your
Patients prefer to receive their appointment reminders via email
over phone by three to one (Sesame Communications, 2010).
If your practice uses e-mail for appointment reminders, you have a
great opportunity to promote your Facebook page to a captive audience.
Whether you are sending appointment reminders, reactivation
e-mails, no-show alerts or practice e-newsletters, be sure to include
a link to your Facebook page. Utilize a patient communication system
and send personalized e-mail to each of your patients with a
specific message requesting they like the practice on Facebook.
5. Include Facebook Links Within E-mail and
When sending e-mails to anyone, current patient, prospective
patient, friend, family or even mom, be sure to include a signature
line with a link to your Facebook page. This same practice works
nicely on online forums as well. When replying to a thread, for
example, on Dentaltown.com, include your Facebook URL in your
signature. To update your signature on Dentaltown.com, go to “My
Profile,” and click “Signature/Avatar” under “Public Profile.”
6. Donate to a Charity
For every like you get on Facebook donate $1 to a community
charity. This will provide an opportunity to not only support a good
cause, but also drive prospective patients to like you on Facebook.
Be sure to promote your charitable giving through press releases,
announcements in your office and through your Facebook page.
Find a charity in your community with a big voice, one that is the
most likely to help spread the word.
7. Create Signs in the Office
Design a simple page with a Facebook logo and Facebook QR
code, and print and place it within picture frames. Place each frame
in highly visible areas including the front desk, bathroom and beside
each patient chair. Place a sticker on your window promoting your
Facebook page. Web sites like Speedysigns.com sell these types of
decals for a few dollars each.
8. Provide an iPad or an iPod Touch Chairside
One doctor grew his practice’s Facebook likes by a thousand in
one month by having an iPad in the office for patients to play
with. The practice explained they were able to drive such significant
growth to their page by only allowing patients to use the
device if they first liked the practice’s Facebook page.
9. Run a Contest on Facebook
Contests are a fantastic way to leverage the network effect of
social media as your patients recruit their friends and family to
vote or even enter your contest. Unfortunately contests aren’t
quite as simple as one might hope. To be in compliance with
Facebook, specific rules must be followed. Since a contest is
required to run within the applications section on Facebook, it’s
not an easy do-it-yourself project that can simply be posted to
your timeline. Contests must include a release for Facebook from
any liability and be in compliance with state and federal laws.
The contest cannot require a consumer to like your Facebook
page, a wall comment or a picture/video to be entered to win.
There are services available to manage your practices’ contests,
ensuring guidelines are met. Sesame Communications has a contest
platform that includes robust reporting and captures entrant
information, allowing you access to contact potential patients
drawn to your page. For the most up-to-date Facebook guidelines,
10. Incentivize Your Team
Everyone likes a contest, especially if there is a prize involved.
Set a goal in your office to increase the number of Facebook likes
by a certain number in a month. Some practices will put a dollar
per like in a pool for the entire team to split at the end of the
month. Other practices will incentivize with a pizza party. Create
a poster or sign and put it in a visible place in your office to track
results, just as you would for a food drive. Setting a goal with a
specific target and timeline will get everyone talking.
To download 10 additional ideas to get more
Facebook likes, visit info.sesamecommunications.com/FacebookTips.