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Using Facebook for Medical Practice Market Research


If you’re just getting started on Facebook for your practice, it helps to know what other similar practices are doing online. Here’s how to find out.

In the first part of this two-part series on Facebook, I covered the three primary types of content physicians should be sharing on Facebook.

Today I’ll show you how to use Facebook as a market and social media research tool.

The number one reason I hear that physicians don’t want to get involved in social media is that it takes too much time. I agree that our time is valuable. I don’t want to waste mine either.

By using Facebook for research purposes, you’ll quickly realize how easy social media can be, whether you do it yourself or you farm it out to an assistant or other office staff person.

Here’s how you can use Facebook to:

• Find out what types of information you should post or share

• Tap into an almost unlimited source of new content

• Get ideas on what your Fan page should look like

1. Find similar practices already on Facebook.

Get used to the idea of using Facebook as a search engine. You want to find practices similar to yours who are already on Facebook.

Start by typing your specialty name into the search box and hitting return.
Look for practices similar to yours with a lot of “Likes.” Usually anything above 50 is good.

Hold down Control/Ctrl (or Command on a Mac) and click the name of the practice in the search results. This will pull up the practice Fan Page in a new window. Just go back to the search results when you need to look at a different Fan page.

Take a look at the Fan page of the practice you found. Make notes on the design of the Fan Page. What picture and text are used? Pictures of the doctors, the building, the staff, the logo?

Start forming an idea of how you could reproduce this for your page. Then you’ll be able to either do it yourself or tell a social media specialist what you want.

How frequently is the practice posting content?

If there doesn’t seem to be much there, move on to another practice, perhaps one with more “Likes.” Pay closer attention to the practices with lots of posts and content.

2. Look for popular posts.

Look at each post on the timeline of the practice’s Fan Page. How many “Likes” and comments do you see? Generally the more, the better.

This is an indication of how popular each post is with the fans of that page. Since their readers will be similar to your target patients, you can use this information to start building a list of types of content to post and share on your own page.

Generally, posts with videos and posts that ask questions will be popular. You’ll start to notice some patterns as you browse various Fan pages.

What’s not immediately obvious is that some posts you see are created by the practice who owns the page. Others are created by readers of the page who share things on the page.

If readers are sharing content on a practice’s page, that’s a very good sign of a healthy, busy, and popular Fan page for the practice.

3. Start interacting with other practices who are posting relevant content.

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and start "being social," "engaging," etc., with some other medical practice Fan pages.

To do this, you’ll need to use Facebook "as your Page." You can do this after you’ve set up your Fan page for your business.

Start “Liking” other practice Fan pages "as your Page." Don’t do this as your personal page, but only as your business page. You can find instructions on doing this here.

One way of posting and sharing great content for your readers is to find a good post on another similar practice’s website and share it on your page. You can find instructions on sharing in Facebook here.

Though it seems like plagiarism or stealing, this is exactly what Facebook is designed for - a community of friends and fans sharing information with each other.

The next level: how to make content your own

You can begin contributing value to your Facebook Fan page immediately by typing a useful, interesting, or even controversial comment along with the post you want to share.

If you find something you disagree with, share it on your own Fan page and write a few sentences about why you feel differently than the original author.

Finally, using someone else’s post as a springboard, ask your community of readers and fans a question about whatever you’re posting or sharing.

This simple method of finding good content produced by others, then sharing that with your readers, is an easy, low-maintenance way to get started delivering value to your fans on Facebook.

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