2018 is ushering in some significant changes to Facebook, and dentists should take note.
In January, Facebook let it be known that for page content to appear in individuals’ news feeds, it would require a high level of authentic engagement from his or her own personal networks.
In early February, the “thumbs down” or disapprove button was reported to be in a testing phase. It’s seen as another measure to decrease the amount of inappropriate or abusive content appearing in news feeds.
Finally, Facebook last month announced a new measure to bolster social interaction between friends and family on the platform. Its “Lists” feature, which is just what it sounds like, allows individuals – but not branded pages – to comment on and engage with the poster.
These moves comes on the heels of other measures implemented in 2017, such as demoting businesses’ text status updates. If you’re still using text status updates, you need to switch to updates that incorporate an image and all the supporting metadata.
The upshot for dentists is that Facebook is placing renewed emphasis on posts from people that foster engagement, rather than branded page feeds. It’s also valuing updates that engage, rather than simply inform.
Don’t misunderstand – Facebook remains a potentially lucrative platform for dentists. But the move to de-emphasize branded page feeds means that you’ll have to look at more paid ads or promoted posts specifically designed to appeal to and engage your audience.
Facebook has come under fire for several issues recently. Many people believe that it’s devolved into a platform for pointless and even vicious arguments. The result is a loss in under-25 users, which doesn’t bode well for Facebook’s future.
The platform is also trying to cope with the revelation that Russian “bots” used the forum to influence the 2016 elections. Given that this issue is also a high national security concern at the moment, it’s understandable that Facebook has moved to impose additional controls on content.
Still, that presents a challenging scenario for dental practices that seek to reach a broad, if local, audience.
The name of the game on any social media platform is engagement. That’s an area where too many busy dental practices fall short.
Your dental prospects need the condition-specific dental information you can share. But that content should be about 20 percent of what you post. Use the other 80 percent to ask intriguing questions, share “fun facts” with your audience, post surveys, and foster a lot of back-and-forth between your practice and your followers.
It’s vital to encourage “shares” of the posts that offer the greatest potential to influence prospects to choose you. And don’t hesitate to pay for boosting those posts to reach a wider audience.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize
It’s easy to focus on likes and shares on Facebook. Those are good and necessary things if you’re going to make your investment of time and money pay off. But likes and shares are steps on the road. The end goal of all your marketing is to put more new patient butts in your chairs.
Keep abreast of changes to Facebook’s algorithms and adjust your social media marketing strategy accordingly to achieve the one marketing goal that really matters.
If that sounds too time- or cost-intensive, there’s another option that will let you focus on actually doing the dentistry while getting a steady stream of new patients.
Visit www.smartboxdentalmarketing.com and click on the “Get Started” button. Schedule you free, no-obligation Practice Discovery Session™. Following the 25-minute phone call, SmartBox will send you your completely personalized, free, Patient Attraction Roadmap™.
We’ll show you a Patient Attraction System™ that will provide a steady stream of new patients so you can focus on doing the dentistry.