The simple answer is NO WAY. There is a place for Facebook in dental marketing, but doctors should not rely on Facebook for marketing or communicating with patients. Facebook is a third party, and it’s an unpaid service. The company can alter services at will, regardless of how it affects you. And remember, Facebook was developed for individual consumers – not businesses.
Facebook is in a constant state of growth, and as a marketing professional, it scares me when clients depend on Facebook as if it’s the Rock of Gibraltar. Sure, the company is huge and well established, but its growth happened in record time. To stay on top, the Facebook service/product must continue to develop. There are glitches. There are problems. There are legal issues.
I want to advise you to take advantage of Facebook by having a personal page and fan page. Business pages are up, but they’re still being tweaked. When you try to claim your business page, you’ll have to verify from your office phone. I do recommend you claim the page, though the business listing service on Facebook is still evolving. There was some wacky way they wanted to pull information from Wikipedia, but you can’t post marketing profiles on Wikipedia, so it didn’t work. Play along with the phone call verification process, and I’ll keep you updated on the evolution.
I want to advise you against spending too much time and money developing custom Facebook pages. Pages like the Victoria’s Secret page look great, and if you have extra money in your budget, or if you are one of the very few dentists who get patients from Facebook referrals, make the investment. However, if you’re looking for ways to get better return on investment (ROI) from your marketing dollars, don’t throw money into a custom Facebook page. Invest in a dental practice blog that will supplement your website and feed fresh content onto your social networking profiles.
If you’re wondering about Twitter, I’ve found that for business, Twitter offers better contacts than Facebook. The problem is, to make Twitter work, you have to be seriously engaged, tweeting multiple times each day and becoming active in Twitter conversations. Most dentists don’t have that kind of time, and a marketing company won’t touch it because of the time investment. You could hire a full-time social networking person to handle Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for you – but again, will you see good ROI?
As I’ve said before, Google owns 65% of the market for search engines. It’s Google, not Facebook or Twitter, your marketing needs to please. Rank high on Google search engine results pages (SERPs), and you will get calls. What’s the secret? Feed the Google beast. Give Google what it wants from your website: fresh content, incoming backlinks, and upkeep with Google Places.
If you need help with an effective Internet marketing strategy that balances your website with a blog, social networking, and Google Places, call MDPM and speak with Jill: 972-781-8861.