As most of you know by now, Facebook has undergone (and continues to undergo) a huge transformation in the way it handles business pages.
Facebook has moved aggressively to a “pay-to-play” model. They’re tight lipped with their stats, but estimates are that they’re currently only pushing your posts to 1-4% of your fans’ newsfeeds. So, what to do?
Part 1: Boost Posts
In the old days (a year ago or so), posting killer content was enough to get Likes, Comments and Shares on your practice’s Facebook page. Today, killer content is STILL extremely important! However, the problem is that your fans aren’t seeing that content unless you boost your posts.
We have been doing a lot of boost testing on behalf of our clients in order to make the best recommendations to them. We recommend that practices spend $5.00 each day boosting a great post to “People who like your Page.”
In some cases where a practice doesn’t have very many page Likes yet (say, under 100) they could include both “People who like your Page” and “People who like your Page and their friends” when choosing their target audience. In other cases, some practices may want to experiment with targeting a local audience by choosing “People you choose through targeting.”
Not sure how to boost posts? It’s easy! Just watch Facebook’s training video.
Once you put your billing information into Facebook’s system, it only takes a minute to boost each day.
For those of you who are whining about having to pay for something that you didn’t have to pay for a year ago, here’s my advice (and I don’t mean to sound cheeky) – take off the blinders, swallow your pride and suck it up.
Facebook is still the absolute, hands-down, #1 way to build social media relationships with your patients. Period. Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla. No matter how you slice it, dollar for dollar it’s the best marketing spend around (as long as you are posting good content – not boring, automated stuff).
Having said that, here’s part two of the strategy …
Part 2: Start Expanding Your Digital Footprint
As great as Facebook marketing is right now, it’s possible that an affordable option – as a small business owner – for tapping into this resource may die a slow death. Why? Because big brands also recognize the power of Facebook marketing and they may eventually have the ability to outbid you for the limited bandwidth available in newsfeeds. In other words, take advantage of the great value right now.
With that possibility in mind, start creating some audience and social media traction in other places – for example, Instagram and email.
Not using Instagram yet in your practice? Why not? We have lots of clients quickly building an audience and momentum on Instagram. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve developed a cool little free campaign you can download to get started. Have fun with it!
The second thing I want you to work on is cleaning up and building up your patient email database. And no whining here either! Don’t tell me that email marketing is ineffective or antiquated. It’s not. It’s highly effective if you do it right. And don’t say that email isn’t part of social media.
Every time a patient walks through your door it’s important to have an easy way to confirm their email address. Just asking can work great! Then, create a system for sending them your very best blog posts. Again, no boring stuff here. Send them content that has value and that they’ll care about. If you do, they’ll open it, read it and in some cases share it.
In addition, we’ve had lots of clients experience success bypassing Facebook’s pay gate by linking directly from a patient email to a specific post on their Facebook page.
If They Don’t See It, They Can’t Share It
What’s the moral of the story when it comes to the “new” Facebook? Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.
I know you’re not seeing the same engagement on your Facebook page that you were seeing before. That’s because if you’re not boosting, your fans aren’t seeing your stuff. Don’t get discouraged. Get smart.
Right now, I don’t recommend buying Facebook ads over boosting posts. I think boosting is a better spend. But always keep in mind that your content must be really good. If your content is stinky, boosting will get more eyes seeing it, but it won’t help with the greater objectives.
At least for today, there’s no better place than Facebook to leverage the support of the people who love you most – your valued patients. And while you’re boosting, start increasing the size of your digital footprint.
Your thoughts or questions? Please share below!