Facebook Marketing and Your Medical Practice

April 3, 2014

Facebook is a great way to engage patients and attract new ones, but you have to be smart about how you are using it.

It seems that you can’t read the news without coming across some major article regarding Facebook marketing, such as how Facebook algorithms work and whether business fan pages really show up in Facebook news feeds.

All of this news coverage of Facebook sends a flood of questions into my inbox from clients asking what they should do with their fan pages, and if Facebook is still a worthy place to spend their time and advertising dollars.

The short answer is yes, if you utilize this avenue carefully.

As I typically advise, advertising and using Facebook as your major social media platform will only work for you if you have worked out who your ideal patient is, and you know that your ideal patient “hangs out” on Facebook.

Assuming your ideal patients use Facebook, it's time to consider your Facebook advertising strategies and goals.

Sure a ton of “likes” on your fan page is great goal, amazing even.  Currently Facebook’s algorithm is set so that roughly 20 percent of your fans see content you post that they can view while remaining “in” Facebook.  Things like static pictures, text only status updates, and some videos would be examples of updates your fans can view without navigating out of Facebook.

For status updates that require fans to click a link and leave Facebook to view the content, you can expect 10 percent or fewer of your fans to be able to see those status updates.  Those numbers can vary slightly dependent upon interaction.  In the next few months, Facebook plans to drop that rate from 10 percent to 20 percent down to 1 percent to 2 percent to encourage you to spend your hard earned money on boosting posts and advertising your page.

So what’s a practice to do?

If you are just starting a Facebook fan page for your practice, you may have to pay to grow the likes on your fan page, either directly by paying Facebook or indirectly in another form of advertising outside of Facebook that says, “Go like our page.”

In either regard, you must pay Facebook directly to get your content in front of more than 10 percent or 20 percent of your fans.

If you have a page with 100,000 fans, you may think getting your message in front of 20,000 isn’t so bad, and you’re right. But if you have only 1,000 fans, or 500 fans, or 100 fans, then you are not using your time and money wisely. When the numbers drop to 1 percent to 2 percent, the results will be even more dismal.

Change your goal from gaining more likes and fans on Facebook to extracting those fans of your practice into a list in your possession by asking patients to sign up for your e-mail updates instead of asking them to “like your page.”  You can also post on Facebook inviting your fans to sign up for e-mail updates.

Once you have their contact information in your own stay-in-touch marketing queue, you can then ask those people to like and interact with you on Facebook. 

This way you only pay to gain the potential patients' attention once, then you control how often you stay-in-touch.

Don’t give up on Facebook yet, it is still a great way to engage patients and attract new ones.  You just have to get a little savvier in the way you use it.