Timeline Change 2012: What it Means to Dental Practice Facebook Pages
Believe it or not, there are still dental practices out there using a personal Facebook profile for the primary practice social media presence, instead of a properly categorized business page.
And could you possibly fathom the fact that there are also still dental practices out there that have remained derelict in their social media duties?
Yeah, we can’t believe it either.
But in talking to dental patients – read: friends, family, clients, colleagues, or anyone unfortunate enough to come across our outspoken digital dental marketing correspondents on their hyper-caffeinated daily dog walks – it seems the going sentiment is;
“If your practice isn’t present on Facebook…patients would rather make themselves present in a practice that is.”
A great quote from a dog walking dentist to remain nameless…sure, he may be embellishing a bit – or is it us?
Enough with the confounding confusion of semantic social search; wait wrong blog post – more on that later.
For now let’s concentrate on the upcoming Facebook Timeline changes and how this will be affecting your dental practice Facebook (business) page.
Visitors to your page will see a significantly different layout than they do now, one with particular attention to visually captivating imagery.
How does that fit in with dentistry?
After the change takes place, you can now upload a banner or header image of sorts to represent your practice social presence – this will display prominently on your page, above the fold (the part you can see before having to scroll down the page).
Do yourself a favor and read (or at least scan and save) the Facebook page guidelines and check out this Facebook link to see what restrictions will be placed on this most prominent page defining personality image.
Basically a killer adjustment for marketers, but not so much for dentists. Just pay attention to the sizing restrictions and preview everything.
Landing Page Tabs & Apps
Many dental practice Facebook pages do employ the use of specialized applications such as landing tabs, fan gating, and like gating – which is a page strategy to have visitors ‘Like’ the page before being privy to certain content.
Many more have a branded type of welcome page as their default Facebook identity when someone first visits the page.
What are we talking about, and what does it mean to the average dental practice Facebook page?
As it stands now, when the Timeline changes go into effect it could render your welcome page, landing tab, or like-gating app invisible…or not. Plenty of workarounds are in place and development will continue, probably until Facebook addresses or enhances the experience.
Best bet is to take advantage of the ‘Preview’ function Facebook has been prominently displaying on our business pages over the last couple of months.
See what it’s going to look like, see if anything disappears – and if you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to join our ‘Feeling No Social Media Dental Pain’ circle on Google+ http://goo.gl/6exHw.
Wall Posts to Timeline
Probably the second biggest change here with regards to content and what people see when they visit your page.
Wall posts used to display vertically down the page, arranged by date. Now you will have the opportunity to keep ‘sticky’ content right in front of visitor eyes without it being pushed down the page by subsequent posts.
Basically those articles, news stories, pictures, stories, and sound-offs that generate the most likes, comments, and shares should remain – until of course time trumps effectiveness.
All social media – and digital dental marketing for that matter – is a mix of art & science.
These sticky or pinned posts, combined with the new ‘Highlight’ feature enable page administrators to exhibit more creativity in the content they make available…organization and planning will prevent stale or absent posts and maximize the most engaging content.
With the new Facebook Timeline, page navigation will now shift from the left side of the page – the tabs and apps directly under the page photo or logo now – to directly below the new featured image at the top of your page.
No big deal there for dentists, just need to be frugal with the tabs or apps you wish to display as only 4 will be visible to the visitor. Promote events, photos, videos, local press, patient reviews…etc.
Choose, but choose wisely – then test, track, and adapt.
Facebook seems to be lending less importance to page tab applications, like default landing tabs mentioned earlier. Tracking with the also new Activity Log, and consistent review of page insights will define opportunities to increase patient engagement and new patient acquisition.
Page owners and administrators will now be able to directly message users. This could have huge implications with regard to patient communications – or not, depending on your level of commitment and engagement within the space.
Will this private messaging feature be another new Timeline attribute that most dentists probably won’t maximize immediately; whether out of fear, supposed legalities (always check privacy settings), or a presupposed lack of interaction?
Still lost and have no idea how to prepare for the impending social dental change?
Facebook’s point (as far as we’ve determined with extensive testing and lots of reading what other industry experts say) with this whole Timeline shift is to emotionally connect visitors with captivating content and present a more historical view of the business – as its represented on Facebook.
Don’t fear change, embrace it. You have no choice.
And if you’re still stressing, again – we invite you to join our ‘Feeling No Social Media Dental Pain’ circle on Google+ http://goo.gl/6exHw. Join us on Google+ and get answers – from us, from other industry experts, and from other dentists.
Not on Google+?
PS – check out this old post if you need the skinny on Google+.
PPS – For more in-depth insights on maximizing the Facebook Timeline, be sure to click over to this comprehensive Facebook Timeline guide courtesy of HubSpot. This info served as more than inspirational for our dumbed down dissemination of digital dental display dissertation.