Our company president Dr. David Hall and our social media team answer a question we have been asked from several of our clients: “Why should I be on Facebook if I am a dentist?” Watch to find out our top reasons your dental practice needs to be on Facebook in 2013.
Archive for the ‘Facebook 101’ Category:
Thank you for continuing to read my Facebook 101 series. If you’ve been following so far, I have gone through how to claim a page you didn’t create, optimizing your about section, customization, and what to post. Now is the hard part: getting those pesky Facebook likes. In a day and age where absolutely everybody is asking you to “like” them on Facebook, it can be pretty tough to cut through the chatter and get them to like your company. It takes time, strategy, and finesse to build an interactive and faithful Facebook community. Here are some ideas on how to get started. If you have any to add, please do so in the comments.
Start with your inner circle
Have your staff, family, and friends like your page first and ask them to share a couple of your posts on their own timelines. If your family and friends don’t find your content interesting enough to share, nobody else probably will either. This is also a good way to test if your content strategy is falling flat.
Put up signage
As a dentist, you have a very specific advantage that should not be wasted; a captive waiting room audience. When you look out into your waiting room, what are the majority of your patients already doing: playing on their phones. Half of them are probably checking Facebook already! Let them know that you’re there too with some banners or posters. If you show an informational video in your waiting room, add a bit about your Facebook presence. Hand out toothbrushes at the end of the visit with your Facebook url on them. Be creative.
Unless your patients really love your practice, they are going to need some incentive to like your page. The intricacies of configuring legal Facebook contests require a whole separate blog post but there are other ways to encourage likes. An idea that I like is announcing to all your patients that once your page gets 500 likes, everyone who liked gets a free whitening. This is a tangible and worthwhile incentive that will really get the word around to your patients and help build a sense of community.
Showcase your fans
Dedicate a day or two every week to “Smile Appreciation” day where you take a picture with select happy patients after their visit. Ask them if they would like to be featured on your Facebook page first and have them sign a release. Most of them will be flattered and want to see where their picture is posted and will like your page for that reason. You can always take more pictures than you post and tell them to look for their picture in the future.
Get your staff involved
Your staff is your most valuable asset in this endeavor. Make sure they understand the value of the Facebook like. You don’t want to be pushy, but there is a big difference in a “Please Take One” sign above a stack of flyers and having somebody actively hand you a flyer and inquire whether they know you’re on Facebook. One idea is to create a little competition among your front office staff to see who can get the most Facebook likes each month. It may be a little involved and requires tracking and monitoring but the added incentive of a prize could be just the motivation your staff needs to get the job done. We actually have one office who does this and they average about 40-50 new likes per month.
Of course, we all know that contests are a great way to get likes and I plan to address them in a later post. However, I suggest trying these first and seeing how far you can get without the time and expense of managing a Facebook contest.
Did I miss anything obvious? How did you get your patients or clients to like your Facebook page?
If you’ve been following my Facebook 101 series so far, your page should be claimed, optimized, and designed already. At this point, you should be ready to make your first post. This is your chance to show the world what you’re about. Don’t know where to start? Here are some things to keep in mind;
You’re Not as Boring as You Think You Are
The #1 complaint I hear when I ask for Facebook content is ” But we’re such a boring office… we don’t really do anything”. This is simply not true. Remember that you’re treating your practice like a living, social being. Have you seen what the average person posts on Facebook? Half the time, it’s describing what they had for breakfast or that they’re bored. Remember: there is no detail to mundane to share. I’m not telling you to start posting stupid content, just that if your posts seem real and ring true, your followers will like and comment on them, no matter how mundane.
Have Camera phone, Will Travel
Posts with images get about twice as many responses as those with just text. The good news is that anybody can take a high-quality picture with an item they already have within arm’s reach: the camera phone. Many smartphones have the ability to post a picture directly to your Facebook page in less than one minute. Unleash your inner photographer and take pictures of anything happening in the office. Take a picture of a co-worker hard at work, your office fish tank, a happy patient (have them sign a release first), a toothbrush pyramid, the view from your desk, etc. Images are the currency of social media, so get snapping. Remember to have fun and don’t be shy!
Know Your Audience
Nobody knows your patients better than you do, so take their demographics into consideration when you’re posting. If your patients are mostly families, they will probably respond well to content about children’s wellness. Older patients usually respond to cute old-fashioned dental comics or information about healthy aging. If you’re an orthodontist, you can be much more current and trendy with your posts because most of your patients are tweens and teens. If you see a lot of young women, highlight your wedding season whitening specials. You get the idea.
Humor+Cleverness=A Great Post
Everyone loves to laugh. If you can show your followers you have a sense of humor it will greatly increase their comfort level with you. Things that are humorous in a new and original way are the most shareable, and shared posts get exponential exposure. If you don’t have a funny bone in your body, don’t force it; there are plenty of dental comics out there that need no clever explanation.
Content that is current, trending, seasonal, or holiday-related is viewed as significant and gets commented on often. Staying abreast of current news topics that may be relevant to your industryis a great way to garner discussions on your page. Seasonal or holiday-related posts are generally well-received. Familiarizing yourself with obscure holidays like Lief Ericson Day or National Toilet Appreciation Day is a great way to start a conversation when you are out of ideas for posts.
Showcase Your Giving Side
If images are the currency of social media, images of your involvement in the community are the $100 bills. Show your followers that you’re not only a talented, likeable dentist but a person who loves to give back as well. Social media and charity work go hand in hand because of the instant awareness it can create for a cause and the ease of finding others that support your cause as well. It’s also a great way to advertise yourself without actually selling anything. If you’re not involved in your community, start getting involved. It can be something as small as sponsoring a little league team to something larger like hosting a Dentistry From The Heart event. In 2013, social responsibility should be a part of every business plan, whether the company’s big or small.
Check back next week for the most important Facebook lesson of all: how to get people to like your page.
You’ve claimed your Facebook page and optimized your about section. Next comes the fun part: designing your profile picture and cover image.
The Profile Picture
Many companies like to put their company logo as their profile picture for branding purposes. While I agree that this makes a lot of sense for a large corporation like Target or Red Bull, I don’t believe this is the best strategy for a small, professional service like dentistry. Larger corporations are supposed to be faceless entities with their own reputation and easily recognized logo. I believe that dental offices should always have a professional photo of the top dentist for their profile picture. Dentistry is a highly personal and trust-based industry and facial recognition is a great way for your people to get comfortable with you before they even meet you. Every post you make also has your profile picture next to it. I also think that readers respond better to news feed posts that show a human is creating them especially in an industry with face-to-face contact.
Profile picture size is 160×160 and is shown as a square but the image you upload has to be 180×180 or more to be accepted. A professional head shot where you look relaxed and approachable works best. If you use a rectangular image you will have to edit it after you upload to get the best visual. Keep your profile picture current by changing it up once in a while. When you change your profile or cover image it shows up in people’s news feeds.
The Cover Image
Facebook cover images are relatively new. For those if you not familiar with them, they are the large banner images at the top of your Facebook profile page. They are available for both personal and business accounts. For a business page, the cover image is very important. It’s the first thing people see when they view your page and gives the first impression of what your business is about. Here is where you want to show off your creativity and eye for design.
The dimensions for the cover are 851×315 although I like to design them a little bigger so I have room to move the image around a bit in the given space. This is where you want your logo featured and possibly your tagline or practice motto. Just keep in mind that in the bottom left of the image you need to leave sufficient space for your profile picture to overlap (see below).
Keep it colorful, interesting, and eye catching and don’t forget to change your cover image every once in a while. I like to change up covers when the holidays roll around and when a practice is doing a promotion, I’ll feature that on the cover as well. Just keep in mind to keep in Facebook’s cover image guidelines, which include not having your website address in the cover and not having more than 20% text.
Here are some examples of cover images I’ve done for various dental practices:
Experiment with different ideas and see what you can come up with. Remember, this is the fun part!
So, you’ve claimed your Facebook page and have full administrative access. Now what?
It’s time to optimize your “about” section. The about section is important because this is where all the key information about your business goes. Placing the right keywords here brings you up where you want to be in graph search. Additionally, Facebook Pages are indexed in Google, so you’ll want to have your perfect keywords in your About section to improve your chances of being found. Some things to pay special attention to:
- Category: Make sure you categorize yourself correctly. If you’re a dentist, you will most likely be picking “local business” and “health/medical/pharmacy”.
- Topics: Choose carefully. What is your Facebook page about? Facebook lets you have three topics; use all three. Facebook will auto-complete your answers when your start typing. this helps you know what the popular options out there are.
- Sub-categories: These are also important. Facebook will let you have three sub-categories at most but only if you are an actual “place”, or have a physical location. Try to use all three they give you. Facebook will suggest some based on what you’ve given them.
- Username: If your page already has 25 or more fans, go ahead and pick a username. This will appear after the facebook.com/_____ so it is important to keep it simple as possible. If your practice name is Bedminster Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, maybe go with /BedminsterDental or /BedminsterDentistry.
- Address: Make sure it’s the same address that is on your website and Google places for maximum clarity. It will be displayed on the map from what you enter here.
- Hours: Always put your hours in. When people visit your page, Facebook displays when your open for business. If you’re closed, it will tell users when you re-open. This is a nice feature to have as it lets people know if you are available or when you will be.
- Short description: Your company motto or mission statement is good for here since you only have about three lines. If you’re mission statement is short enough be sure to include the services you want to promote the most as well.
- Website(s): Be sure to include your correct website address along with links to any other social profiles or blogs you have.
If your page is brand new, make sure you ask your colleagues to like it and share it with their friends. Also, make sure your check-ins are enabled and encourage those among your patients. They should be enabled if you set yourself up as a “place” correctly.
You’re well on your way to having a beautifully-designed Facebook business page. Stay tuned next week for Profile and Cover Photo Design.
After years of resistance, you’ve finally decided to start a Facebook page for your practice. Problem is, where do you start? You are already familiar with Facebook for your personal use, but a Facebook business page, you soon realize, is a whole different animal. Before you even start, there is something you need to know: You probably have a page already. If your office has been around awhile and has a decent number of tech-savvy patients, it’s highly likely that you already have one or more unclaimed pages floating around on Facebook. These pages are valuable to you because in most cases, they already have likes and check-ins. I even had one case where a dentist didn’t think he had a Facebook page, but when I scoured Facebook, I found our that he indeed had an unclaimed page with 57 check-ins! If you have more than one page you have to claim each one separately then merge them later. To claim a page, you have to first prove you’re a representative for the company. Here is the step by step guide:
- Log into Facebook as yourself: You will manage your business page by logging into your personal account but they are separate entities. You will be able to switch back and forth between managing your personal and business pages without one affecting the other in any way.
- Find your business: Use the Facebook search tool to find your business. If you can’t find your business by it’s current name, try any past names it may have had. Additionally,try your website name or, if you’re a dentist, your own personal name. Try doing this several times at different times of day. Facebook search is quirky and often pulls up different information at different times. If you can’t find your self anywhere, skip ahead to setting up a Facebook business page.
- Once you find your page(s), click on the gear symbol right next to the number of likes and scroll down to “Is this your business?”.
- Claim that you’re an official representative for the business.
- Now, one of two things may happen: If whoever made your page took the time to provide your business address and phone number, you will be asked to verify your business with a business e-mail or a phone call. I usually find the phone call easiest. Facebook’s automated system calls you and you have to listen for the 4 digit pin then enter it. If the person who created your page did not provide address and phone information, you will be asked to provide that along with a scanned phone or utility bill with the name and address of your business. Facebook will let you know if you’ve been verified by e-mail. This can take a few days.
- Once you’ve received the e-mail from Facebook, you now have administrative access to your page. Next step is optimization and customization or branding.
Read next week’s article: Setting up your Facebook business page.