By Nancy Rausman
A practice web site and a Facebook page both help patients to find you online and schedule an exam. By making each one distinct in content and tone, you create a complementary set of marketing tools.
MAKE EMPHASIS DISTINCT. A web site should emphasize practical information and the OD’s credentials. A Facebook page should be personal, encouraging conversation.
UPDATEDIFFERENTLY. Facebook should be updated frequently,a web site less often.
INCLUDE THE ESSENTIALS. Both platforms should list practice location and contact info and havea link to click to make an appointment.
Many ODs maintain both a web site and a Facebook page for their practices, and this is a wise marketing strategy. To save time, however, many think they can just copy and paste the same content between the two. However, there are differences between these two mediums both in terms of the type of audience you are attracting and the type of content you want to present. Here is a guide on how to populate both your practice’s Facebook page and your practice web site, so both are used to their best advantage.
To get started, here is a quick snapshot of the key differences between your practice web site and practice Facebook pages:
A place to gather information about the practice and verify that the OD is a professional with the necessary experience.
A place to be more light and personal, showcase expertise by answering questions and providing information, and engage patients and potential patients in conversation.
The tone on the web site should be welcoming and warm, yet professional.
The voice should be confident, yet familiar. Try to engage the patient on their terms in the social realm, discussing what patients want to know and what they find interesting.
All about the practice or eyecare
Something silly or thought-provoking, links to stories about the local community, certification and awards, a place to talk and engage with patients.
At least once a month
At least once a week
Understand Basic Difference: Informational vs. Conversational
The essential contrast between the practice web site and the Facebook page can be summed up by the terms informational vs. conversational. A web site is a place a user goes to gather information about the practice and verify that the OD is a professional with the necessary experience. This is the place for a user to become familiar with the practice, the staff, the specialties and what the patient should expect during a visit. It can also essentially serve as an extra staff member available 24/7 to answer questions that prospective or current patients may have about the practice or eyecare in general, as well as provide forms and scheduling options to save the patient (and the office staff) time during a visit.
A Facebook page is a space to be more light and personal, showcase expertise by answering questions and providing information, and engage patients and potential patients in conversation. Facebook shows the human side, the humor, the interpersonal encounters of the practice. You should refer back to the web site with a link for people to click who want more detailed information about the practice and services.
Compare & Contrast: One Practice, Two Different Online Pages
Here is an example of one of our client’s Facebook page “about” section:
Notice that the about section of the Facebook page gives a brief two-sentence introduction to the practice followed by another brief description of their services which refers the user to the web site for more information.
By contrast, here is the same practice’s web site home page, with information that is more detailed and more formally presented:
Differing Tones for Facebook vs. Web Site
The tone on the web site should be welcoming and warm, yet professional above all. Social media language, on the other hand, can be more casual and friendly, (but you still want to maintain professionalism). The social voice should come across as confident and knowledgeable, yet familiar with the end user. The OD should try to engage the patients on their terms in the social realm, by discussing what patients want to know and what they find interesting. For example, each week on the Facebook page, you could feature FAQs about common eye conditions or tips on finding the right kind of eyewear, along with links to stories about the local community. Or you can post jokes or news stories that are not eye-related at all, but entertaining and conversation provoking. It can take some trial and error to see what works for your audience.The goal is to find common ground and “bond” with patients. But there are boundaries. The OD should not be inappropriate or controversial, (politically or even about his/her own industry).
A good way for you to create content that will engage the different types of patients you see is to take a look at your clientele and to develop personality groups or “personas” who tend to be drawn to your practice. Then you can create social media content that appeals to the different types of social personalities you see. For example: a joke for those who like to joke around, an interesting innovation for the more curious, or a question for those who like to interact and be challenged.
Facebook v. Practice Web Site:
Key Best Practices
Practice Web Site
Include information a patient would need to know about your practice and your services to make a decision to make an appointment with you.
Use professional and grammatically correct language, avoid technical language and think about what will catch the patient’s attention.
Give visitors the tools to make an appointment including phone numbers, forms, contact information and calls to action such as: “Call today to schedule an appointment,” “Book your eye exam” or “Contact us.”
Practice Facebook Page
Try to get into the head of your patients to post topics that are interesting and engaging. What would make them interact with a post on Facebook and keep them coming back to visit your page?
Remember, content doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, only eyecare related. The rule is that only 20 percent of your posts should directly promote your business and sales and the rest should be fun and interesting.
Talk about local interests. You are not just selling eyecare; you are selling eyecare in a specific location. Google will need to learn to associate your practice with both eyecare and your city/town. In general, ODs do a very good job of talking about eyecare, but still need a lot of practice about talking local.
Difference in Needed Frequency of Updating
Facebook should be updated at least once a week, and more frequently, if possible. Social media activity sends out important signals to Google about your practice and has a greater chance of engaging fans.
A web site should be updated at the very least once a month, but preferably a couple of times a month, whether that is through an integrated blog or news section or other updates to the site’s content. Otherwise, Google will think the site does not contribute enough to the web to be considered valuable and will push it lower in the search listings.
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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