Facebook is a vital component of an integrated online marketing strategy and it can be cost-effective, especially when compared with more expensive channels, such as television and print ads.
A practice must rely on the power of its identity, creativity, and understanding of its target audience to gain Facebook traction affordably. If you are not getting enough dividends, it’s time to put your Facebook activity under a microscope and commit to making some strategic improvements to move the needle forward in 2015.
Facebook is not all that different from Google and other search engines anymore. You can’t just set up your page and wait for people to find it and “like” you. It doesn’t work like that.
Once your page is created, your job is just beginning. Think of your page as a customized magazine for your practice.
Here is how to fill the pages with enticing content:
- Do keep it fresh.
- Like your website, your Facebook page should be constantly updated. Not only should you be adding fresh content daily, but your “about” section, timeline tabs, cover photo, and profile image must remain current and relevant.
- Do keep it interesting.
Creating content that will get shared lies at the heart of every social media channel. The kiss of death on Facebook is to be boring. When posting content to your page, ask yourself: Will my audience find it useful? Is it entertaining? Is it visually appealing? Attractive-looking content that meets these criteria will not only increase engagement, but it will also serve to encourage fans to share your posts with their friends, which exposes your page to a whole new group of potential fans to grow your audience.
- Do keep it light. Your tone should be conversational, not too stiff or formal. For a healthcare practitioner, it should also not be overly casual to avoid undermining your reputation as a trusted professional.
- Do include videos, photos, and graphics. Add your logo to brand your graphics and personalize them, so when they are shared, your signature is still present. Tip: The best Facebook graphics are square. Graphics that are too small won’t get seen, and if they are too big, they will get cut off.
- Do mix it up. Don’t post a steady stream of the same type of content such as a chain of status updates, or deals and offers, or the same stock photos of women. Keep your fans guessing about what will be posted next.
- Do share. Check out other pages (organizations you belong to, women’s magazines, beauty blogs) with content your audience would find interesting, and share it (with credit, of course!). Facebook offers easy-to-use tools, cool features, and a robust Help center that will enable you to turn your page into a multimedia experience.
- Do edit. If you make a mistake, you can correct a post even once it is live. Tip: If you want to change the image, however, you have to delete and start over.
- Do use Facebook’s toolbox. Facebook offers easy-to-use tools, cool features, and a robust Help center that will enable you to turn your page into a multimedia experience. For example, Facebook ads, boosted posts, as well as using keywords and popular #hashtags will help new fans find you. This often comes with a price tag. Facebook ads offer many options based on your goals and budget. Click on the Create Ads tab at the top of your page, and the intuitive step-by-step tutorial can walk you through the process. [sidebar float=”right” width=”250″]Facebook offers easy-to-use tools, cool features, and a robust Help center that will enable you to turn your page into a multimedia experience.[/sidebar]The more narrowly you target, the more cost-effective your ad campaign can be. Without spending some money on promotion, it is almost impossible to grow a robust fan base unless, of course, you are famous or infamous. With billions of people using Facebook daily, your content likely won’t get seen without sending up a flare.
- Do join in on common social tactics. “TBT” or #ThrowbackThursday (a photo or memory of something in your past or a milestone), “MotivationMonday” (inspirational quotes that are extremely engaging), or #HumpDay (surviving Wednesday) all resonate with Facebook users. Holidays and notable dates are fair game, including some that may seem obscure, such as Take Your Daughter to Work Day, Cranberry Day, or Coffee Day. If Hallmark has a card for it, you should have companion Facebook content. Every conceivable food group (potatoes, chocolate), disease (breast cancer, skin cancer), condition (acne, rosacea) is likely to have a day or a month to commemorate it on the calendar. Many of these may be relevant to your audience.
- Do create a Call to Action. What exactly do you want fans to do when they read your post? Sign Up? Call for a consultation? Ask the doctor? Share? Comment?
- Do ask questions of your fans. What’s your favorite sunscreen? What do you like most about winter? Questions encourage engagement—which is your ultimate goal.
- Do create a monthly script. Always leave wiggle room to improvise along the way for current content.
Don’ts can be just as important as do’s when it comes to growing your Facebook presence.
- Don’t automate posts. Yes, it saves time to automate your Twitter and blog posts to appear on your Facebook page, but it is ill-advised. Each platform has a distinctive style, format, and audience. Twitter is a 140-character-maximum format that is highly restrictive. By contrast, Facebook is a platform where you can write more and readily add visuals. Having a fully automated presence sends the message that you are not invested in your audience and are just going through the motions.
- Don’t overdo “look at me” posts. When Facebook fans don’t think you are being authentic, they will ignore your page or block your posts.
- Don’t focus on selling. Facebook is not about “do this,” “buy that,” flash sales, deals, and discounts. Think of Facebook as a social platform where the optimum goal is engagement and reach—ie, how many people like, share, and repost your content, and how many people are actually seeing it.
Remember, it takes time to build an audience. Once you have accumulated a substantial fan base, you must continually engage with your fans to keep them interested. Follow Facebook Insights to see how you are doing, what works well, and what doesn’t. This will bring you closer to your ultimate goal—a legion of loyal and vocal brand ambassadors.
Wendy Lewis is president of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, www.wendylewisco.com, founder/editor in chief of beautyinthebag.com, and a contributing editor to Plastic Surgery Practice. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Social Studies with Wendy Lewis” is Plastic Surgery Practice’s newest monthly feature. The column features actionable insights from Lewis, whose latest book, Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age, is slated to be published in June 2015.[/sidebar]