In Part I of this article group I talked about the Facebook basics for dentists and doctors, and about personal Facebook pages. Here in Part II I will expand upon what was discussed in Part I and discuss fan pages for your office and why and how "Likes" can help you grow your practice.
As I mentioned in Part I, individuals have personal Facebook pages. Bringing your practice into the mix, while your office can't have its own individual Facebook page, your office can have what's called fan page. So individuals have personal Facebook pages and businesses have fan pages.
Thus, I, David Wank, have my own personal Facebook page where I share things with my Facebook friends only. But i also have a fan page for Short Hills Design where I can interact with my clients and potential clients - and this page is public. A major concern of many dentists and physicians is that somehow their office fans will be able to see their personal Facebook pages -- but remember that these two entities are totally separate so one does not need to worry.
When you go to create a fan page for your office, you will first need to have a personal Facebook account, and then, while logged in to this personal account, you can create the fan page for the office. Moving back to my personal example, I was logged into Facebook as David Wank, and then I went ahead and created a fan page for Short Hills Design. I also --- under the same David Wank personal account -- created fan pages for a few other of my business endeavors as well, But the idea here is that you start with a personal page, and then from within this account you create your fan page (or pages).
Remember, unless you friend someone, they will not be able to see your personal Facebook page. So if a patient is a fan of your office's Facebook page, they will have no more or less access to your individual Facebook page as would a friend from high school who was looking for you on Facebook. That is -- whatever information you mark as private in your personal Facebook page, will stay that way and having a fan page will not change this privacy.
Remember - a core idea of how information spreads around Facebook is via a "Like". A person "Likes" a product, a service, a news article, etc., and when they do so, their Facebook friends now see the item that the person liked.
Putting this into play with your practice, let's say you were running a tooth whitening special in the month of June to prepare for the beach time in July and August. In order to get the most exposure for your special you could do the following:
1) Put an article on your website's blog about the special and about whitening (if you have a blog -- if you don't -- get one)
2) Put the article in your practice's monthly (or bi-monthly) email newsletter (if you have one -- if you don't strongly consider starting one).
3) .Post the article on Facebook.
By putting the whitening special in all three places your special gets exposed to the maximum possible people. People who visit your website or blog regularly (or people searching for whitening on a search engine) will see your blog post on your website, and people who get your email newsletter (usually your existing patients) will learn of the special this way.
That leaves us with Facebook and here's where the magic starts. If you post the article on your Facebook page, and a fan of your page, Mary, "Likes" the post about your whitening special, then Mary's friends will see that Mary "Liked" your special. Now Mary's Facebook friends are not going get a notification every time Mary likes something (Facebook as you may have guessed has an algorithm so people aren't completely bombarded with information) , but even if a few of Mary's friends see that Mary liked the special, then these friends, in turn, may decide to check it out. And naturally if one of Mary's friends, John, likes the special, then the whole cycle starts again with John's friends.
The take-home message here is that Facebook is "icing on the cake" in that by posting on Facebook (your special, an article commentary, a blog post, etc), your are potentially getting exposure to people who otherwise may not have interacted with you in any way. Think about it -- why would any of Mary's Facebook friends have gone to your website or joined your mailing list -- they wouldn't! But because Mary "Liked" the post about your special, you now have potential exposure to all of Mary's friends and more. And these are people who are all potential patients.
Facebook is a great and FREE way to generate new patients for your practice, and to help you interact with your existing practice (there are paid advertising opportunities on Facebook but this is a different subject) If you don't have a Facebook fan page for your dental practice or medical practice I strongly recommend that you consider creating one, and if you do have one, keep it current with relevant and helpful posts