Well, we now have Timeline for individuals and businesses. If your dental practice has a business page, you may have noticed a pop-up that asked you to create a special offer this week — that’s new. But everyone has been talking about Facebook for a few years now. If you’re asking yourself how a dentist can use Facebook in marketing, join the club. I ask myself that question every day. Yes, I’ve seen, read, and heard other marketing experts share their advice. To date, though, I’ve not had a dentist tell me that Facebook brings in new patents and has a great return on investment (ROI). Websites do, blogs do, microsites do, but Facebook? Not so much.
Should we continue to do what’s not working? Absolutely not. That’s the definition of insanity, according to Einstein. We have to find an application that will make Facebook that serves us well.
I’m a problem solver by nature, so I’ve dived into the challenge of trying to determine how to leverage Facebook for dentists — without purchasing Facebook ads. Can it be done? I’m not sure, but here are some things I want to share based on the new boot camp video series that Facebook created and the feedback I’ve received from dentists over the years.
Keep in mind, everything you do on Facebook belongs to Facebook. If you invest in custom widgets and whatsits, they could disappear, and you’re left with nothing. Just keep that in mind.
Facebook Promotions in the Dentist’s Office
I’ve been told (and have read) that Facebook has pretty strict guidelines about using their company name and logo for promotions. However, in their recent video series, they suggest that businesses (ie: dentists, in our case) give incentives for Facebook likes and promote Facebook checkins and likes with posters, flyers, etc.
To a restaurant, this might mean giving away an appetizer for a positive review on Facebook. To a retailer, you might get 20% off your purchase for liking their business’ Facebook page. But how does it apply to dentists? Some hold a monthly drawing for one lucky Facebook fan to win a Sonicare toothbrush. Others give away $5 gift cards or a discount on teeth whitening.
Here’s what I suggest. Buy a roll of raffle tickets. In your lobby, in operatories, in the restroom, and at checkout display posters that say:
- Check In on Facebook Right Now for 1 Ticket
- Like Us on Facebook (or show us you already have) for 1 Ticket
- Leave a Testimonial on Facebook Today, and get 3 More Tickets
What are you going to give away in your drawing? Depends on how much you think the advertising is worth. I recommend something everyone wants: $100 toward fine dining; $100 worth of movie tickets; $100 savings bond; family pass to a local amusement park. I would certainly take 15 minutes to check in, like, and write a testimonial if I could win a prize like that! Wouldn’t you — especially if I were (not that this ever happens in your office) waiting for the dentist?
Be specific about the prize, drawing date and time, and how the winner will be announced. Require that the winner have his or her photo taken with you so that you can post it on Facebook. Include all of this on your posters!
Your front office staff will have to know what’s going on. They’re responsible for dolling out the raffle tickets.
Increasing Facebook Likes
In one of the Facebook boot camp videos, I was not surprised when an audience question came in asking how to increase Facebook likes without spending money. The advice Facebook gave was basic: interact, ask people to like you, and promote your page. Well, duh. I was talking with some of my team here at MDPM, and one of our staff members had great success doing PR for a page she created. She took the time to go to local community pages — like the city page, neighbohood pages, large local restaurants and parks pages — and she liked the page or club, then put a messaged out there asking locals to return the favor. You know what? It worked! She increased her fan base substantially.
Engage with Fans
If you’re an MDPM client, you know that we post your blogs to your Facebook business page under your name — we ghost post them, if you will. Facebook recommends that you post to your business page no less than once a week, preferably more often, to engage patients. While posting your blog will keep your business page looking fresh, it does nothing to reach out and engage with your fans. That’s up to you and your staff.
At MDPM, we create an editorial calendar for our dentists’ blogs. Facebook suggests the same concept for social networking, but they call their idea a conversational calendar. Bottom line is, if you’re going to commit to blogging or posting to Facebook, you need to get organized and simplify things. Creating a calendar of ideas, and making social networking posting a task on your to-do list should make your Facebook engagement more consistent. If you, the dentist, don’t have time for this, assign the task to someone on your team. Make the calendar, then hand off the assignment. Just be sure to follow up!
Is Facebook Worth It?
This question brings our article full circle. I have not seen that social marketing with Facebook has good ROI for dentists. But, perhaps dentistry is such a niche, and Facebook has grown so fast, we simply have not yet discovered how to make Facebook valuable in dental marketing. Rest assured, I’m working at it — and I’ll keep you posted.
COO @ MDPM