Believe it or not, we’ve been asked the following question more than once: Why do I need a practice website if I have a Facebook page?
While Facebook and other social media outlets are certainly an important part of any successful dental marketing strategy, it’s important to have realistic expectations about new patient performance.
And, realistically, you should expect zero new patients each month.
Facebook Isn’t Google
When patients turn to the Internet to find a dentist, they’re using search engines like Google to get the job done. They’re searching keywords like “dentist in traverse city” to return results.
From there, they have the ability to discover a number of practices by viewing various websites and getting a feel for each practice. They’ll read through pages outlining special techniques, learn more about the dentist, and check out blog posts that give an in-depth look into the practice.
On Facebook, a new patient would have to search your exact practice name to find your page in a search. How would a new patient already know your name? And if they got there, what would they find? Facebook isn’t designed to host articles or blog posts, so you’re limited to status updates to showcase what your practice has to offer.
Content used on Facebook for dentists is greatly different than content posted on a practice website.
Facebook is constructed to connect its users with people they know or businesses they’ve visited. Most Facebook interactions consist of posts that aren’t more than a few sentences long. A few sentences with an image aren’t enough to persuade a new patient to choose you.
With a website, you have a better opportunity to explain why your practice is the best choice. Websites also have the added bonus of being optimized for search engines (SEO) allowing your content to appear in search results, whereas Facebook posts do not.
If you’re choosing a Facebook page over a website, remember that the odds of your business page outranking a competitor’s website in Google are slim to none.
Focusing your marketing efforts on a Facebook page instead of a website greatly diminishes the new patient reach you have. When you share a post on Facebook, you’ll only reach the number of people who like your page—if that. New studies show that unless businesses elect to ‘boost’ a post on their page (pay to get it in front of their followers), they’ll only reach about 16% of their followers organically.
If your page has 500 fans and this holds true, just 80 people will see your post. And remember, those 80 people are probably already patients.
Realistic Expectations for Dentists on Facebook
Ready to stop posting on Facebook and deactivate your practice page altogether? We certainly hope not. Now that you have a better understanding of what to expect from Facebook, you can focus on what it can do for you—increase referrals and keep you in the minds of existing patients.
Achieve this by:
- Keeping your page active. Share one post each day to keep fans engaged. Consider asking a question, sharing a new blog post, or information about an upcoming promotion. Your daily post may be just the reminder a patient needs to schedule their next appointment.
- Interacting. People who ‘like’ your page can leave comments on photos, status updates, and even write reviews. Monitor this type of activity on your page and respond when necessary. Social media is a social entity so engage with your followers.
- Ensuring correct information. Double check your page’s information to make sure your practice phone number, website, and map listing is correct. If a patient shares a post about your upcoming promotion with their friends on Facebook, you want to be certain that those potential referral patients can easily contact you.