Are Dentists’ Facebook Fans Local?

Some interesting information hit my email box this morning, thanks to Dr. Emmott’s blog. An article at tells us “Most Facebook Fans of Small Businesses Aren’t Local, Study Finds.” I know that’s the case with the MDPM Facebook page. We have fans from all over the globe — but we also have a client in Australia, so it’s to be expected. For a dentist, however, even if he has a patient from Australia or Timbuktu, you’d expect most of his Facebook fans to be local.

The study was conducted by Roost Local Scorecard, and it covered 800 small businesses on Facebook. Get this: For those surveyed, just 15% of fans were local.

We rarely see data for these types of trends in dentistry, it’s too granular to attract much attention, so there’s no indicator that the research holds true for dentists.

Just this morning, I was asked by a client what we do to SEO Facebook. That question makes me realize, more than ever, dentists generally do not know what Facebook can do for them. I recently worked with a high-end cosmetic practice that held a contest that attracted 500 visitors to their Facebook page in about a week. The client was disappointed when the second week brought fewer lookers — and then traffic dropped to normal levels.

I want to share some truths with you — these are what I’ve witnessed. You can be an exception, but it will take work, and I’m not sure the ROI is there…

  1. Orthodontists tend to be the best at social networking…probably because of all the kids they treat.
  2. Facebook and Twitter only work well when the dentist is engaged, daily.
  3. I still have not heard one of my clients say they got a patient as a direct result of a Facebook business page.
  4. I think it’s wise to have a Facebook fan page, because it’s free and it can’t hurt.
  5. We post our clients’ blogs to Facebook but rarely, if ever, see interaction from patients or the dental staff.
  6. Facebook is SOCIAL NETWORKING. If you aren’t going to make conversation and be social, you aren’t going to be very successful on Facebook.

That brings to mind the question, what is success on Facebook? Is it measured by the number of fans — we now know those fans may not even be potential patients. Is it measured by how many fans interact on your page? If you aren’t interacting, why would someone else? Instead of answering your questions, I’ve left you with more questions. The problem is, I just don’t see Facebook as a good time investment for dentists.

If new patients are your primary goal, a search engine optimized, custom dental website and blog are the way to go.


All of that said, I’m writing an article on Google+ next, and there are some SEO benefits there. So stay tuned. And while you’re here, +1 us over on the right sidebar!