8 Reasons to Have a Facebook Fan Page

Posted on January 31, 2012

Is it really necessary for a dentist to be on Facebook?  Well, in recent years Facebook has surpassed Google as the most viewed site on the entire Internet, and a staggering 75% of all Internet users in the US are on Facebook1. Your current patients simply expect you to be there, and to have the chance to connect with such a majority of them (through one online tool which they already use) should make the value quite apparent.  But if you find yourself still asking this question, then you probably aren’t taking advantage of the many benefits Facebook can offer your dental practice.

1. Free Advertising

It should be stated that while it may be ‘free’, there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into creating and maintaining a successful Facebook campaign.  But, what other medium can you think of that asks only for your participation in exchange for potentially tens of thousands of dollars in business?  This is why Facebook is such a valuable resource for all businesses, including dentistry.

2. Reputation and Brand Management

When people perform searches for a specific dentist or practice’s name, the Facebook page itself will often be one of the top results. This is a valuable avenue through which potential patients will find you, and many people will prefer seeing what others in the community are saying (as well as seeing your online interaction on Facebook) before visiting your personal site.  This is also crucial because, unlike Google Reviews or Yelp, Facebook allows you to monitor and control what is being said about you, so you can delete hurtful or misleading comments and even ban problem users.

3. A More Effective Method

The average user spends more than an hour per day on Facebook, which is vastly more than any other website.  So, any time you can keep them on Facebook, users will be much more likely to stay engaged than say, linking to your own website.  That is why one of the most valuable aspects of a Facebook Fan Page it the ability to create your own ‘tabs.’ A tab refers to the icons located on the left-hand side of your Fan Page underneath your profile graphic, most commonly ‘Wall’, ‘Info’, ‘Photos’ and so on. A more complex tab could even include an entire micro-website, all within your Facebook Fan Page.  Fans can get all your crucial information without clicking through to your website.

4. Gaining New Patients

The Internet in general is the fastest growing source for new patients.  Statistics show a large segment of that is coming from Facebook.  In a recent poll of 23,000 Americans, 16% used social media as a source for health care information, with 94% of those people choosing Facebook as their primary source2. One surprising aspect was that the average age of respondents was 41 years old.  We would infer from this poll that using Facebook as a means to find and connect with health care providers is becoming more mainstream among even older Americans, and in the coming year it will be even more important for these providers, such as dentists, to increase their presence and participation on Facebook.  These statistics directly correlate to new patients, because, whenever a current patient becomes a fan of your page and clicks the ‘Like’ button, a notification is placed on their wall where all their friends can see it.  In today’s modern world when it is often quipped that ‘Nobody talks to each other anymore’, this is becoming the new word of mouth advertising.  There is almost no higher recommendation you can receive.

5. The Growing ‘Viral’ Aspect

The viral aspect of Facebook is one of the most powerful examples of reaching large amounts of people quickly.  If one fan ‘Likes’ a post, then you are instantly exposed to all their friends.  If two of those friends like it as well, then you are growing at an exponential rate.  Since the average Facebook user has 140 friends, you can very quickly be reaching thousands of people in only a few clicks.  This is not to imply that any of this is a given, only to demonstrate the potential ‘reach’ of your Facebook Page.  It still takes a lot of hard work, and it is the dentist’s responsibility to create the valued content that encourages their fans to take the action of ‘Liking’ or ‘Reposting’.

6. Engage Current Patients

When someone has become a fan of your page, you have been given the invaluable ability to reach him or her directly.  To keep them engaged and reminded of your presence, it is important to provide them with information they will value such as industry news, interesting articles, patient testimonials, patient information, pictures (but not of clinical dentistry), and videos, as well as occasionally promoting yourself with updates on practice news or current specials/promotions that you’re offering.

7. Personal Connection

One of the most important aspects of gaining and retaining patients is building a personal connection.  When you post things like pictures, videos, or patient testimonials, you begin to build and reinforce this with both your current and prospective patients, perhaps before they even set foot inside your office.  You become more that just a dentist, you become THEIR dentist, who they know and respect.  Furthermore, Facebook gives you the rare opportunity to share more than just your professional side.  Mentioning things such as favorite movies, concerts you’ve seen, your favorite musicians, and sports teams allows patients see you as a person, not just a dentist.

8. Community

Facebook also gives you the chance to become a participant in the local community.  Find other local businesses with which you’ve had great experiences, and that your fans are ‘Liking’, and create some conversation about them.  Facebook is also a great way to connect with other professionals with which you do business.  If you have a favorite dental lab, or specialists like an oral surgeon or periodontist, give them some credit for the good work they’ve done and mention them in a post.  Any recommendation in return may result in new patients.

Sources

  1. Eldon, Eric. “Facebook Started Saturating The US Market In 2011.” TechCrunch. AOL, Inc., 29 Dec. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. <http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/29/2011facebookmarketsaturationus/>.
  2. Cohen, Elizabeth. “Patients Use Facebook, Twitter, to Get Health Information.”CNN.com. Cable News Network, 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. <http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/04/patients-use-facebook-twitter-to-get-health-information/>.

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