By Nancy Rausman,
Managing Editor, EyeCarePro
Dec. 16, 2015
Even though Facebook currently has billions of monthly active users, this alone doesn’t mean that it is an effective place to engage your audience. Like so many businesses out there, we’ve been investing time, money and resources into Facebook marketing for our clients for years. We have a team of experts dedicated to knowing how optometrists can get likes and engagement on their Facebook Pages, but there seems to be something missing:results. We’re measuring, but we aren’t finding web site traffic or foot traffic as a result of this engagement.
And it seems we are onto something. In a survey conducted last April by Manta, which asked small business owners for insights on their social media return on investment (ROI), 59 percent reported that they did not see ROI from their social media activities. Similarly, in its 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner found that only 45 percent of marketers interviewed reported that their Facebook marketing is effective.
What is Facebook Success?
What does it mean for Facebook to be effective for your practice? Ultimately, the goal of any marketing effort you employ is to bring in more patients and more revenue. This is what we mean by ROI. Direct ROI from social media would mean that people you are engaging there are either going to your web site or calling to schedule an appointment. Indirect results would be creating and sustaining relationships with patients through engagement (which can be measured by likes, shares and comments), getting exposure and establishing your practice expertise (basically immeasurable) and any positive effects your activity can have on search engine optimization (which at this point is really only going to happen if you pay for Facebook ads).
Facebook also seems to be aware that businesses are questioning the effectiveness of marketing through its platform. It has a “Book an Appointment,” call-to-action, button that you can put on your Facebook cover photo (see the screenshot below). The fact that Facebook is now providing this button, and giving a report of how many people are clicking on it (see the week’s Book Now results along the right of the screen), indicates that it’s aware of the issue and is trying to provide more value to businesses by offering a way to provide direct ROI and showing the results.
How Do You Achieve Facebook Success?
In general, people use social media to connect with like-minded individuals, to learn something new and for entertainment. Facebook users typically have short attention spans and a lot of information to consume. Before you can expect any success with Facebook, you have to know your audience, where to reach them and what answers they are seeking from you.
Start by asking a few basic questions:
Is my audience on Facebook? If not, where are they (Instagram, Twitter, or is it best to reach them via other channels such as direct mail or community messaging)?
Am I providing content that will engage that audience?
Am I offering something unique that will stand out and grab attention?
Am I building relationships and trust?
Real and meaningful social interaction, which is what Facebook offers, is just that–interaction. If you keep posting jokes, advice, articles, and other content and graphics, without paying attention to the response you are getting, your attempts are a one-way street. You are joining in the barrage of information that is constantly being thrown at your audience on social media, and you are likely not succeeding in achieving true engagement. You should be measuring your Facebook engagement and keeping tabs on where new patients are coming from.
Here are four steps to make the most of your Facebook page:
1. Use the Call-to-Action button that Facebook has now provided to bring patients directly to a place where they can book an appointment.
2. Know where your new patients are coming from. Ask all new patients where they heard of you, and keep track of how they booked an appointment (via phone, web site or Facebook page).
3. Measure your Facebook engagement and when things work, keep doing them! If you aren’t reaching people, try something else. You can measure engagement with Facebook Insights. At the top of your practice’s Facebook page, in the “notifications” tab, you can see all of the engagement you have gotten: likes, shares, comments and other metrics of engagement.
4. Ask your audience what they want to know. Start an “Ask the Doctor” campaign, or keep track of common questions you are asked during the day. You can do this by
writing posts that answer questions that are commonly asked, or were asked for a specific “campaign” that you are doing through Facebook. For example, every Thursday you could run an “Ask the Doctor” post where you invite fans to ask questions or answer a question that was sent in.
SUCCESS TIP: DO AN EVENT, MEASURE IT
Below is an example of a client of ours, Optomeyes Eye Care, that has taken advantage of the Book Now button on the practice page and is able to measure the impact of its social media efforts. The results you see on the page come from a week of publicity surrounding the practice’s involvement in the World Sight Day Challenge. As you can see, their posts received a lot of engagement and even one booking.
SUCCESS TIP: ASK PATIENTS WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM PATIENTS PREFER
Another EyeCarePro client, Liberty Village Eye Care, opened their doors just 18 months ago in an up-and-coming area of Toronto and needed marketing and community outreach to create awareness of their practice and get patients in the door (it helped that the doctor’s wife, Daniela, is a marketing professional). They first had to understand the demographic of their potential clients, and after some experimenting, found that their target young and hip audience is very active on Instagram. They have developed a marketing strategy that includes 2-3 posts a week on Instagram, which also feed into Facebook and Twitter. They plan a rough marketing calendar at the beginning of the year which includes seasonal messaging, merchandise milestones and health messages, and then they adjust accordingly. They don’t see or expect much engagement on Facebook, but they do find that that have a lot of interaction on Instagram, so they keep it up.
SUCCESS TIP:BE REALISTIC
The most important part of marking success is to be realistic. Take an honest look, and after time, you might find that no matter what you try, your Facebook efforts just aren’t working. If your audience isn’t on Facebook, or wouldn’t interact with you there, then Facebook is probably not going to work for you. If this is the case, don’t worry, there are a lot of other effective marketing channels out there!
Nancy Rausman is the managing editor at EyeCarePro. Nancy is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing. EyeCarePro is one of the leading providers of online marketing and practice improvement services in the industry. EyeCarePro serves both industry and practices and is the only company of its kind solely focused on the optometric space. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org