Eighty-six percent of small businesses use Facebook as their preferred channel to connect with customers. If your practice happens to be a part of the other 14 percent, please stop what you’re doing and create a Facebook Business Page. Everyone else, please continue reading.
Marketing your practice on Facebook is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to build brand awareness, stay top-of-mind with current patients, and attract new ones. Facebook is the most used social platform for users aged 55 and above. In fact, 68 percent of Baby Boomers use the site daily.
But of course, that doesn’t mean your Facebook page is actually reaching all those Boomers.
On any given day, there are an average of 1,500 posts that appear in a person’s News Feed—the main page where people scroll through and view content from friends, family, and businesses—that’s a lot of competition!
And, Facebook recently changed its algorithm to prioritize personal posts over brand page (business) posts to encourage more “authentic interactions” and “meaningful engagement.” In other words, it’s more difficult for businesses to achieve the same kind of exposure, organically. Unless you’re a large corporation with deep pockets, your page’s reach is largely limited by the number of followers/fans you have on your page.
But fear not—below are several ways your practice can amplify its reach on Facebook and drive more engagements without spending additional money.
- Optimize and personalize your page
It’s important to enter as much information as possible about your practice. While some fields might not apply, there’s no excuse for not entering your address, phone number, email, website URL, and hours of operation. This information will help your page appear and rank higher in Facebook and Google search results. In addition to basic contact information, including a practice description and mission statement is equally as important. Leaving those sections blank only hurts your credibility.
Your profile picture should be your practice logo or a staff photo. Your cover image should be a high-quality photo of your team or office that isn’t overly busy or text-heavy (you can use a stock image, but if you want to make a real impression, avoid generic photos).
Most important is that your cover image is the correct dimensions and optimized for both desktop and mobile. Stick with an image 820px wide by 360px tall and keep all text and graphics in the middle “safe zone” as shown in the graphic below.
If your uploaded photo is smaller than these dimensions, Facebook will stretch it to fit, making it look blurry. TIP: header image dimensions differ for Facebook Groups and Facebook events so don’t expect to use the same image.
- Post content that’s fun, informative, and timely
I know—easier said than done. Perhaps it would help to first clarify what kind of content you should NOT post: anything that Facebook might consider too salesy or spammy. Instead, focus on providing content that’s valuable to your followers and humanizes your brand. Tell your story and tell your patients’ stories. Share articles and infographics that illustrate the importance of good hearing health and the risks associated with untreated hearing loss. Show your followers what the latest hearing technology has to offer. But don’t just educate your followers—entertain them! Post a joke. Post a meme. Post a photo of your staff wearing silly hats on “National Hat Day” (Jan. 15).
Whatever you post, just make sure it includes some sort of visual. As far as how long your posts should be, organic engagement peaks at 40 characters while posts with 80 characters or less receive 66 percent higher engagement (40-80 characters is the sweet spot).
The good news: you don’t have to create all your own original content! Sharing posts from other industry thought-leaders (manufacturers, hearing health advocates/non-profits, etc.) is just as important. Bonus: Facebook rewards posts that receive engagements (likes, comments, shares) with increased reach (more eyeballs).
- Incorporate (mobile first!) video into your content strategy
The only things people like more than images are videos. Proof. That’s why Facebook has even started to prioritize video content. When it comes to creating videos for social, the most important thing to keep in mind is that most people watching them on their phones (96 percent) and without sound (85 percent). Videos designed for mobile-first are usually optimized to play without sound. Regardless, any video that you post should be two minutes or less, have movement in the first two-three seconds, a thumbnail that will grab people’s attention, and subtitles if necessary.
Not sure what to film? How about an instructional video showing patients how to properly clean and maintain hearing aids? Or inspirational testimonials from patients about how hearing aids have improved their lives? Is anyone in the office celebrating a birthday soon? Fill an employee’s cubicle with balloons, record his/her reaction, upload the video, then get ready for the “likes” to start pouring in!
Oh, and if you’re camera-shy, it’s worth noting that there are endless hours of videos already available all over the internet and social media that you can easily share.
- Be social
Social media engagement increases loyalty and generates word of mouth. Above all, that is why you have a Facebook page in the first place. But engagement is a two-way street. If someone “likes” your posts, then “like” theirs. If they leave a comment on a post, respond to it. The same goes for any questions and recommendations/reviews you receive. And try to do so quickly—over 70 percent of users expect a response within an hour.
- Be consistent
Consistency will make it easier to create and execute a content calendar every month. If you don’t currently have a third party to help run your social media, then designate one person in your office to manage and regularly update your Facebook page. While there’s no magic number, most experts suggest posting once a day or at least three times a week. What days and what times, you ask? Stats show that Facebook engagement peaks on weekdays between 12 pm-3pm. You can also use Facebook Insights to find out which days and times your specific followers are most active (at the top of your business page, just click on Insights > Posts > When Your Fans are Online).
- Connect with your existing community
The easiest way to increase your Facebook audience is to connect with the people and businesses you’re already connected with in the real world. This includes your staff, current patients, manufacturers, other industry partners, community groups/organizations, and local businesses. These are the people who will most likely find your content interesting and are, therefore, more likely to share it. Not only is Facebook prioritizing content from friends and family over businesses, but people are 16 times more likely to read posts shared by their friends and family than those shared by brands. So, definitely encourage your employees to share your content with their own Facebook networks. Then, go ahead and “like” the pages of your colleagues, industry partners, and any other industry influencers so that they’ll be more inclined to return the favor
- Promote your Facebook page
If you’re not driving traffic to your social media pages from your website, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Links to your social media should be visible not only on your homepage but in the footer or header of every single page. In addition, include social media links/icons in your email signature, business cards, marketing email footers, and all of your other digital marketing materials. If you want to go one step further, add a simple call-to-action to the end of your emails (i.e. “P.S. Like us on Facebook”).
So, there you have it —the foundation for a successful Facebook marketing strategy!