Practice Web Site Plus Facebook: A Marketing 1-2 Punch

povertywhyInternet and Web Development

Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Practice Web Site Plus Facebook: A Marketing 1
-
2 Punch

Mar 13, 2012



By Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO

Your practice web site is your primary marketing tool

and your Facebook page can be a powerful adjunct to
generate new patients and fill out your appointment book. Once you understand the features of each medium, you
can make
them work together.

Practice Facebook pages offer a way to get in front of your audience of existing patients who use Facebook between
visits and to get noticed by their circle of friends. I don't substitute my Facebook marketing for any other marketing;
F
acebook is a closed community with increasing but still limited effect on search engine optimization, so I look at my
Facebook page as an "addendum" to my marketing efforts. It is a place where I am present because of the sheer
number of my existing patien
ts and their friends. I gain on average about 220 new "likes" a year on my Facebook
page, but do not focus my Facebook marketing efforts solely at gaining "likes." My previous practice "group" page
had more than a hundred new "fans" per quarter before Face
book changed its functionality to no longer allow group
pages. Practices must now set up pages as businesses rather than groups. Here is a summary of the key benefits of
your practice web site and Facebook.


Practice Web Site: Greater Functionality, Design

and Analytics
Capabilities


Practice Web Site = Your Digital Office

Your website is the digital equivalent of your brick
-
and
-
mortar office, but in the virtual world. That means it should
offer as similar an experience to walking through your office door a
s possible. It is a place to convert visitors into
patients by giving them a taste of your patient experience; a place to grow a reputation within a search engine so
people can easily find you when they search for the products or services you offer in your

geographic vicinity. It's also
a home base where you can sell from, offer online forms, capture data for benchmarking, and much more. The longer
your practice web site is listed in Google under your URL (web address), the more value you get toward rising
to the
top of searches in your area.

Right now, there are 845 million Facebook users, so it's somewhere you need to be. But since it is a closed network,
new patients are much more likely to find you through a Google search that leads to your practice web
site.

Greater Analytic Capabilities on Practice Web Site

You can register for Facebook Insights, Facebook's branded analytics tool, which will give you an idea of the number
of visits and a limited amount of other interactions that take place on your page,

but you can use Google Analytics on
your practice web page, which is a much more powerful analytics tool.





Facebook: Viral Marketing,
Time
-
Efficient

and Youth Appeal

FB: Campaigns that Require High
-
Volume
Participation

A few years ago, I launched a campaign on
Facebook in which I donated a free eye exam to
someone in need for every one hundred people
who "joined" our Facebook group. I videotaped the
people who benefited from the program and used it
to help market the pra
ctice on my YouTube
channel. Click
HERE
to see what it looked like.

More recently, I ran a patient appreciation day
which we promoted to our Face
book audience,
subsequently posting photos of the event. Click
HERE

to see what we did.

Facebook a Low Time Commitment Marke
ting
Tool

We add to our Facebook page regularly, and it isn't
very time consuming
--
no more than 15 minutes per
day, at the most; I have fed my blog into the page,
so when I blog it automatically updates my
Facebook page; I have a great free feed from
"
allaboutvision.com
" that feeds the page. I also just
started feeding content from my Google+ page to
Facebook via the "Chrome extended
-
share
extension," which helps take one post and easily
proliferate it through
numerous social networks, cutting the work of posting dramatically.

Facebook Gives Credibility with Younger Patients

Facebook enhances your reputation with your patients who use it regularly, typically in the 25
-
55 age range . The
presence of so many young
er (and some older) patients on Facebook means you can easily market special events
like trunk shows and patient appreciation days that result in profits.

Resources

Be sure to stop by and connect on the

ODs on Facebook
group, the leading industry Facebook group where thought
leaders and clinicians and optical industry folk from around the world engage in compelling conversations on practice
management, the latest cl
inical news and get to know each other in a laid back, non
-
political discussion format.


Limitations of Facebook

Facebook is a great way to build
a following to your
practice by digital word
-
of
-
mouth and to drive patients
to your web site. But it also has some limitations to
consider.

Limited Functionality on Facebook

Facebook pages only offer so much functionality. You can
subscribe to apps like
Demandforce

and

Zocdoc
to have
patients "schedule online" on your Facebook page, but these
services are third
-
party web sites that you have to pay for. On
your web si
te you can set up this functionality and own it.

Facebook Owns Whatever You Post

Anything you post on Facebook is no longer your intellectual
property. Facebook has access forever to posted videos,
photos and any other media you feature on your Facebook
pa
ge.

Facebook Design Limitations

Facebook pages have the specific page layout Facebook
wants; on your web site, you can feature a design that reflects
your practice brand.

While some of your brand may bleed through on your
Facebook page, it's nothing compar
ed to your web site
where, for example, you could even display the same colors
or design theme as patients see at your office.