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Dental Facebook Marketing: How the Algorithm Works

Facebook for dentistsEvery time you open your Facebook News Feed, something happens. One of the world’s most misunderstood yet influential computer algorithms springs into action.

It’s a frustrating equation for businesses, as they scramble to figure out why their posts are or aren’t reaching their customers. As a dentist, your goal for Facebook is to stay connected with current patients and (if you’re willing to pay for it) attract new patients.

Before outlining what you can do to improve you dental Facebook marketing, it’s important to first understand how the algorithm works.

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What’s Behind Facebook’s Algorithm

Facebook is an excellent internal marketing tool. It’s a way to build patient community, which in turn will improve patient retention and boost referrals.

And while no one knows exactly how Facebook’s algorithm works, we do have insight into some key factors. The value people place in Facebook is to stay connected with friends and family. It’s the core proposition which the company was built upon.

Facebook’s VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri says they are looking to protect this proposition in three ways:

  1. Help users see the content they find most meaningful
  2. Figure out how they can share to users the “moments that matter”
  3. Work better to facilitate conversations based upon all these factors

Facebook’s initial emphasis was to predict how likely it is someone will read an article or watch a video. But greater emphasis is now being placed on how likely a given story will facilitate a conversation between users.

In other words, how engaging the content is that’s being posted.

Among many others, here are four key elements of the News Feed equation:

  1. Inventory: This is the entire collection of content a user can be shown, based on their friends and pages they follow.
  2. Signals: The algorithm assesses potential posts based on questions like: “Who posted the content?” “When was it posted?,” and “Would you engage with it in some way?”
  3. Predictions: During these assessments, the algorithm makes predictions. For example, “this user will likely share the post, comment on it, or like it.”
  4. Score: Finally, the algorithm will roll all these factors into a score. That score determines where or whether a post will show up in a users’ News Feed.

How to Improve Your Dental Facebook Marketing

So… why does Facebook’s complicated algorithm matter to your dental practice?

Because if you can’t convince Facebook that you are worthy of visibility, your posts could get buried.

Every time you post content ask yourself this question: “Will my followers engage with this piece of content?”

Here are a few ways to “combat” the algorithm and improve your social credibility:

  • Post regularly: A dormant Facebook page that has been inactive for a month won’t get you far. Stick to a regular posting schedule, like daily or a few times per week.
  • Make it visual: There’s nothing less engaging than updating your page with a single line of text. Making your posts visual with beautiful – and sometimes personal – photos will increase engagement.
  • Interact with followers: People who follow your page can write reviews and leave comments on your status updates. Monitor your activity and respond when necessary. Remember social media is intended to be social.
  • Diversify content: Mixing your page up with a diverse range of content will keep your followers engaged, which in turn gives you favor from Facebook’s algorithm.
    1. On Monday you might post an inspirational quote
    2. On Tuesday you introduce a new staff member
    3. On Wednesday you post a fun fact about oral health
    4. On Thursday you remind patients to make their bi-annual checkup
    5. On Friday you announce an upcoming event

Paying for Visibility

Even if you do everything right, it’s still difficult to gain top-notch visibility in your followers’ News Feeds. Quite simply, there’s no guarantee.

ppc-mouseHowever, Facebook monetizes its business by allowing you to advertise on its platform. This is an opportunity to ensure visibility. It’s a paid advertising solution that guarantees visibility to your patients while attracting prospective patients who have yet to hear about you.

The targeting options are astounding. You can couple interests with location so you only target those who might be seeking dental care near your practice. Are you a pediatric dentist? Set your targeting to mothers and fathers. Screening patients for oral cancer? Target users by age. And on and on.

You can even run “remarketing” campaigns where you will only target users who have already visited your website. Our Facebook Ads specialists have actually found this as the most effective method for getting and keeping more new patients.

Learn more about Smile Marketing’s Facebook Ads service here.

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To Sum it Up…

  • Cater to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm by posting content that people will engage with.
  • Post regularly, interact with patients, and deliver a diverse range of visual content.
  • Use Facebook Ads to increase visibility and put your practice in the face of potential new patients.

Want to learn more about Facebook dental marketing? Download our free “Dentist’s Guide to Facebook” and put your social media strategy into action today.

Guide to Facebook