Guest post, a few words about the author:
Dr. Chris Salierno is a general dentist practicing in Melville, NY. He is an international lecturer on clinical dentistry, practice management, and leadership development. His content can be viewed on his blog, The Curious Dentist.
Is Facebook really a free and easy way to grow your practice? Yes and no. It can grow your practice but there is nothing free or easy about it. It’s not “free” because it takes up time out of the day for you and your staff to develop great content. It’s not “easy” because writing great content never is. But don’t lose heart! Follow a few guidelines and you’ll reap the rewards.
I like to think of an office Facebook page as a garden. Nurture your garden and you’ll be treated to a thing of beauty. Ignore your garden or be too rough and you’ll end up with a miserable lump of dead stuff.
Here’s what we need to do to see our garden thrive:
A garden won’t grow in the dark and neither will your Facebook page. Let people know it exists! I have a “Find Us On Facebook” logo at the bottom of every New Patient letter. I have a Facebook icon displayed in my reception area. I tell patients about specific content on our page that they will find helpful (more on that in a moment). These are just some of the positive ways to get exposure for your page. A word of caution: it’s a bit tacky to bombard people with requests to have their friends like your page.
Creating good content for your page is like watering your garden. Personally, I don’t like sales pitches for whitening and discounts; it sends the message that you’re more of a discount warehouse than a dental practice. I would also stay away from boring posts about dentistry. Talk about flossing and fluoride if you want to put people to sleep.
Instead, use your posts to establish your team as active members of the community. Congratulate your hygienist on running in a marathon. Promote a fundraiser that a patient is participating in. Show pictures of your team together at a social gathering. Talk about the new restaurant in town. This is an opportunity to humanize your office!
3. Green Thumb
Even with proper exposure and great content, we need to maintain the page with loving hands. Too many posts and we’ll clog up the feeds of our fans. Too few posts and our fans will forget about us. My philosophy is that Facebook should be a gentle reminder that our practice exists. Posting once or twice a week is a good amount. Try different times of day and different days of the week to maximize your exposure. If you always post on Mondays at 9 AM, you may miss developing an entire segment of your fans.
Watch your Facebook gardens grow and flourish with the right amounts of sunlight, water, and maintenance. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you see your fans “Like” and share your content with their friends.