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6 tips to improve Facebook engagement with dentists: Study of over 600 dental companies' Facebook strategies

April 7, 2016
You won't get a public confession from me on the amount of time I spend online, but I will say it's significantly more than the average person's 40 minutes per day.

Rachel Mele

General Manager, Vennli

You won't get a public confession from me on the amount of time I spend online, but I will say it's significantly more than the average person's 40 minutes per day.

After individually reviewing and tracking the social media strategy of 671 dental companies, it became clear that adhering to some basic best practices can make a big difference when it comes to the success of your Facebook presence. With over 1 billion daily active users,1 Facebook is one of the best ways to build loyalty with your dental customers and increase awareness. This study includes median results as some companies were outliers with more than 1 million Facebook likes. Here are six tips to improve Facebook engagement with dentists:

Link to Facebook from your website

To increase recognition, include a link from your website to your Facebook page and other social media sites. Surprisingly, only 47% of the dental companies in this study included a direct link. This is a missed opportunity to encourage your website visitors to connect! It is common to place social links in the header or footer of your website. Doing so will help increase traffic to your social media presence.

Create a Facebook vanity URL

Facebook allows businesses to create what is called a "vanity URL," a web address branded for your company. For example, Vennli's vanity URL is facebook.com/Vennli. If you don't request a vanity URL, Facebook automatically assigns an address that includes a series of long numbers at the end. Having a vanity URL is important as it serves as a direct, clean, sharable link that can be used to drive traffic to your page. Of the dental companies reviewed in this study, 79% have a Facebook vanity URL. (To request a vanity URL, go to facebook.com/username.)

Increase your likes

The average number of Facebook page likes of the dental companies reviewed in this study was 1,755. While likes can be purchased to make you look more popular, you can't grow true engagement via a purchased list-you need to grow your audience of real customers organically.

There are many ways to grow your audience. One way is to add a Facebook link to your employees' e-mail signatures. Another way is to upload a list of your customers' e-mails to Facebook so that your page is suggested to them. (For instructions, go to goo.gl/fQRTfk.)

Increase the amount of conversation on your page ("People Talking About This")

The number of likes you have tells only part of the story. Perhaps even more important is the "People Talking About This" metric. This tells you (and your fans) how much conversation is happening on your page (i.e., how many people are engaged). It is calculated using data from the prior seven days and includes the number of page likes, posts, comments, and shares.

The average number of people engaged for the companies in our study was 10. Then, if you divide the number of people talking (10) by the number of page likes (1,755), you'll get an engagement rate. Most experts recommend aiming for between 1%-2% engagement. The engagement rate for dental companies was 0.56%. In other words, the dental manufacturers, dealers, and professional services companies have quite a bit of room for improvement. (To determine the number of People Talking About This, go to your Facebook page and click the link where you see your number of page likes.)

One way to get more people talking is to improve the number of fans who have turned on the "Get Notifications" feature on your Facebook page. Doing so ensures your fans see all of your posts. Start by asking all your employees, partners, and company fans to enable this feature. Then, occasionally remind your dentists that if they want to be in the know about the latest innovations, sales promotions, and company happenings, enabling this feature will ensure they are the first to get announcements. I once received a brilliant e-mail from a company promoting a Facebook contest similar to that in Figure 1. The promotion gave away 10 Apple Watches to the first 10 fans to comment on Facebook. It encouraged their customers to like and enable notifications.

Figure 1: Example marketing e-mail

Post engaging content

The mantra these days is that "content is king." Developing and sharing content that engages your Facebook audience is probably the most important part of your strategy. If your content is boring, too promotional, or too long, then fans won't engage with your brand (i.e., they won't like, comment, or share your posts).

Some general best practices include keeping your content short, using appealing images, linking to stories that your target audience cares about (ideally on your site), and posting videos. People don't want to be directly sold to on Facebook. They want to receive value from the brands they engage with on social media. So, if you're trying to self-promote your offerings and services on Facebook, your attempts are likely to be unsuccessful. Try educating and entertaining them instead. In our study, dental companies had two likes per post. If your company has more than two employees, you should be able to grow that number just by engaging your staff! To increase engagement beyond your employees, try boosting your exposure with a paid Facebook ad.

Post often, but not too often

Believe it or not, 25% of dental companies post on Facebook less than once per month. Nearly 22% post something nearly every day.

While the ideal frequency depends on your audience and strategy, it's important to strike a balance between overwhelming and underwhelming your audience with content. Unfortunately, with an overabundance of Facebook business pages filling up users' feeds, the likelihood of your posts showing up in your dentists' news feeds is less and less. To help increase your chances of posts appearing, post a variety of content often, but not so often it causes a drop in your engagement rate.

Bringing it all together

One might argue that dental companies' target customers (dentists) are simply not engaged on social media, but I beg to differ. Some companies are on the forefront of this growing trend, but there is still significant opportunity for the remainder of the dental industry. If your company develops an effective strategy to engage dentists on Facebook, you will differentiate yourself from your competition.


1. Stats. Facebook Newsroom. http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/. Accessed February 1, 2016.

Rachel Mele is a dental executive, author, and international speaker. She runs the dental division at Vennli, a cloud platform for creating and executing growth strategy by understanding customer choice. She can be reached at [email protected] or at rachelmele.com.