You may be a great dentist, but is being a great dentist enough to run a successful practice? Running a practice requires dentists to be on top of the science of dentistry while maintaining a place in the world of business. This is not always easy, but something that must be done in order to find success.
In 2019, running a business means being social media savvy. Social media provides many opportunities, but also many challenges. A platform such as Facebook breaks down barriers between you and your patients. It allows you to more easily reach existing and new patients. But patients now expect you to be accessible. They want you to provide insightful tips, suggestions, and guides about their dental health on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, are you taking full advantage of it?
Facebook is a social media giant. With more than 2.3 billion active users, including more than two thirds of the US adult population,1 Facebook has massive reach. With so many users, it would be imprudent of you not to have access to this wealth of potential patients. But what does a Facebook account really mean? There are three basic tiers of activity.
There are individuals who do not have Facebook accounts. But if you’re reading this, you probably don’t fall into that category. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2018, 78% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 use Facebook.1 Of those who have a Facebook account, 74% log in everyday.1 This means that the majority of people in your community, many of whom would like to see a dentist, are checking Facebook every single day. This seems like quite an opportunity. How can dentists take advantage of this?
You likely have a personal page. These are great for reconnecting with old acquaintances and staying in touch with friends. However, it’s not a great platform to promote your business, for a few reasons. First, you’re limited to how many people you can reach with a personal account, which is capped at 5,000 friends.2 This means that of the 2.3 billion Facebook users, at most you’d be able to reach 0.0002% of the user base. Also, most people don’t like to receive a ton of promotional material from their friends. An occasional post to celebrate a milestone is fine, but daily posts about your practice should be reserved for another medium—the business account.
Most businesses today have a business page on Facebook.3 A business page has many advantages over a personal page. For one, business pages do not have a cap on the number of people who can friend (or follow in the case of a business account) the page. Unlike a personal page, posting daily updates about the business is completely fine. Additionally, business pages have an assortment of features that allow you to showcase your practice. You can post hours, prices, and even sell products from your business page.
With a business profile, you can connect with current and potential patients in different ways, such as Facebook messenger. If your practice doesn’t have a business page on Facebook, you should look into how one of these accounts can help you grow your practice. Best of all, creating and maintaining a business page on Facebook is free. Once you have a business page and you’re happy with the content (photos, updates, etc.) that your practice is publishing, you should consider extending your reach with Facebook ads.
Why a Facebook ad?
As I said, there are a lot of Facebook users. What’s the most effective way to reach these users? The Facebook ad. A Facebook ad has a tremendous advantage over traditional advertising mediums because it can be highly targeted. Many modern advertising mediums struggle to provide advertising that is as unobtrusive and relevant as Facebook. Putting up a billboard, buying a radio ad, sending mailers, or placing ads on Google can lead to some great results. However, these types of ads can be very costly, and the ratio of people who are exposed to the ads to the number of (new) patients in your practice will likely be low. This means it is very costly to acquire new patients.
Facebooks ads are great for two reasons. First, you can create an advertisement in a variety of formats. Think of the content that you typically see on a Facebook newsfeed every day. Text, images, and videos are some of the most popular posts on Facebook, and your advertisement could take the form of any of these. With other advertising mediums, you’re limited to specific formats that may hinder your message. Second, your Facebook ads can be highly targeted. For example, you could target 25- to 35-year-olds who live or work in your zip code and are interested in items for babies. Why? Because these individuals might be new parents, who would be good candidates for your family dental practice. Your Facebook ads would not only reach potential customers, but customers who you’d like to keep for years.
Online booking on Facebook
If you’ve read this far, I’ll assume that your practice has a Facebook page or will soon. Depending on your Facebook content and whether you advertise on the platform, you could have a sizeable amount of high-quality traffic visit your business page. Are you taking full advantage of that traffic? With the ever-changing landscape of consumer habits, patients today want ease and convenience. If booking an appointment at your practice is difficult, you could lose many potential patients. By partnering with a company such as NexHealth, you can add an online booking feature to your page. This way, visitors can book appointments directly without the need to call, email, or search for you online.
For the time being, it looks like Facebook is here to stay. It’s an enormous platform and it continues to grow. Despite how you might feel personally about the social media giant, Facebook is an amazing tool that you should be using for your practice. With a Facebook business page, you share pertinent practice information with your current and potential patients. Additionally, you can market your practice to the exact demographic that you’re going after with Facebook ads. Patients can even book appointments from your Facebook page.
So, how effectively are you using Facebook?
1. Anderson M, Smith A. Social Media Use in 2018. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018. Published March 1, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.
2. Why Can’t I Add Someone as a Friend on Facebook. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/help/211926158839933?helpref=faq_content. Published March 2019. Accessed March 26, 2019.
3. Cooper P. 41 Facebook Stats That Matter to Marketers in 2019. Hootsuite. https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-statistics. Published November 13, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.
Alamin Uddin is the CEO and cofounder of NexHealth, a software company empowering doctors to run thriving businesses with modern features such as real-time online booking, text message billing, communication, and more. To learn more about NexHealth, email [email protected] or call (888) 875-0851 to speak with Mr. Uddin or another member of the NexHealth team.