3 Ways Dentists Can Use Facebook Advertising for New Patient Acquisition

Can Dentists Advertise on Facebook Effectively?

 
Social media for the dental practice has come a long way in just a few short years.

We hear reports every now and again that more traditional new patient acquisition efforts, like Yellow Pages & Direct Mail, are still useful in certain areas (targeting certain demographics), but without a complementary social media identity, dentists are not maximizing their new patient recruitment efforts.

The emphasis has shifted from over-bloated underperforming dental marketing, to content creation and digital word-of-mouth amplification, which social networks such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter facilitate.

For the sake of this article we will concentrate on Facebook advertising for dentists.
 

Dentists Advertising for New Patients on Facebook?

 
Dentists advertising on Facebook can use these three forms of media in their new patient acquisition efforts — “owned,” “paid,” and “earned” — to increase potential and existing patient engagement, extend the reach of their offers, contests, or promotions, and turn Likes (just like in grade school, you can’t buy friends) into new patients happy to spread the social dental currency around to their friends.

Let’s define what we mean by each term as it relates to dental practices advertising on Facebook, but first we’ll give credit where credit is most due – the inspiration of this post belongs to this Facebook Advertising article via Practical eCommerce.

Owned media. Content created by dentists for use on Facebook Pages.
Paid media. Ads such as Facebook Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories.
Earned media. Conversations about dental health brands and products shared among Facebook users.

Dentists maximizing Facebook’s advertising options effectively enable each of these advertising formats to integrate with the others to increase their overall new patient acquisition impact.
 

Owned Media: Create Engaging Content

 
The first step is to create content that your dental Facebook connections want and will likely engage with. What types of content qualify as engaging to a potential or existing dental patient?

Promotional: This includes practice product announcements, in addition to promotions only targeting your Facebook fans.

According to this Constant Contact post, Syncapse reported back in June of 2013 that the top three reasons why people decide to like a Facebook page are:

  • 49 percent: To support a brand I like
  • 42 percent: To get a coupon or discount
  • 41 percent: To receive regular updates from brands I like

Informational: It makes sense that prospective & existing patients will respond to content focused on their needs and interests. Give your followers the beneficial information to empower their health care decisions and enlist them in their own dental health!

A generally accepted rule of thumb for dental Facebook posts is to keep the promotional content at a ratio of 1:4 as compared to educational, local, or entertainment driven information.

Here are some tips dentists can use to increase engagement with the content you create:

  • Use images. According to KissMetrics, an analytics and tracking firm, images and photos receive 39 percent higher interactions than average posts, and receive 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more clicks. Include an image in most, if not all, of your posts.
  • Keep posts short. Posts with less than 80 characters get 23 percent higher engagement.
  • Post often…but not TOO often. Among retail brands, posting 1 to 2 times per day gets 40 percent more engagement than posting 3 or more times per day. Don’t be that dentist that posts 6 useless pieces of content before 10am!
  • Schedule posts for optimal days and times. Facebook activity peaks around 3 p.m. Eastern Time each day. There are also spikes around 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday seems to be most active day during the week. Schedule posts to take advantage of these peaks.
  • Pin and highlight posts. Pin important posts to the top of your page to increase exposure, as well as highlight such posts so they span the width of both columns in the Timeline.
  • Use Facebook Insights. Use Facebook Insights to analyze the types of content fans most respond to, as well as the effect post format, frequency and time of day has on engagement.

Paid Media: Dentists Can Amplify Social Media Content with Facebook Ads

 
Use Facebook Promoted Posts to extend reach and increase longevity of posts that receive higher engagement.

In our experience, the most sharable posts for our member dentists happen to be contest results – even more so than the contest itself.

Dentists using Facebook advertising in the form of Promoted Posts have the targeting capability to reach fans, friends of fans, and even a group of users based on age, gender, location and language.

Your dental practice Promoted Posts will show up in the newsfeed of your fans – people connected to your page – if you post often enough, have an engaged following, a fully optimized Edgerank @$$ kicking presence, and maybe experiment with some hashtags…etc.

When your most dental-centric fans engage with your posts, their friends may see the story in their news feed too, enabling you to extend your reach.
 

That is Facebook Advertising for Dentists Force Multiplication!

 
Another way for dentists to advertise beneficial content on Facebook is through a Sponsored Story to further amplify the post.

Sponsored Stories do not require any additional budget, but will share the cost with your current ad campaign.
 

Earned Media: Dental Practices NEED to Interact with their Fans

 
We know it sounds silly, but it’s really a make or break point. It’s unquestionably important to interact with fans…and friends of fans…who engage with your posts.

  • Respond to comments. This lets people know you’re interested in what they have to say and may increase the likelihood they will continue to pay attention to your posts over time.
  • Get fans involved. Ask people to create their own content and share it on your dental practice Facebook Page. Be sure to ask fans to take action on your posts. This could include asking them to like a post, vote in a contest, or share the post with their friends.
  • Asking questions helps, too. Posts that include questions garner 100 percent more comments than “non-question” posts.
    Feature fans. Feature a “fan of the week” and include testimonials from patients that are also fans of your dental practice Facebook Page.

Dentists Can Actually Force Multiply New Patient Acquisition Efforts with Facebook Advertising

 
Facebook makes it easy for any dental practice to integrate owned, paid and earned media to increase the effectiveness of your digital dental marketing.

But dentists need to take advantage of this capability by creating engaging content, promoting content that receives the most engagement using ads, and interacting with fans and others to stimulate the digital dental health conversation centered around your practice.
 
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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.

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