Since it launched in 2004, Facebook has not only changed the face of social interactions but also how businesses interact with their customers. The platform is so ingrained in everyday life that the majority of companies now recognise that Facebook marketing needs to be a core part of their overall marketing strategy.

Are you using Facebook marketing to reach your potential and existing patients?

The power of Facebook for business

In case you’re still on the fence about the power of Facebook, here are some current stats about the social media giant:

  • Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active users (that’s more than the population of China!)
  • 25 billion users access the platform via mobile devices
  • 936 million people use Facebook every day
  • People spend an average of 40 minutes a day on Facebook, which far outweighs time spent on any other social media platforms
  • 3 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute
  • 27% of 18-29-year-olds have more than 500 friends in their network – this means that every time an individual interacts with your business, that activity will be displayed to their wider network, immediately increasing your visibility and reach
  • 24% of people who don’t have their own Facebook account live with someone who does and share access to their account, so you may be reaching more people than you realise
  • 49% of Facebook users say that they will like a Facebook business page to support a brand they like – this is notable because it means people are willing to publically align themselves with a brand without any financial incentive
  • 41% like a business on Facebook to receive news and updates
  • Nearly 60% of people check a business’s Facebook page before they book an appointment or buy from the business

Building your organic reach on Facebook

In our experience, your Facebook marketing strategy needs a two-pronged approach using organic growth and paid-for advertising.

Building organic reach on Facebook is all about providing content that appeals to your potential and existing patients, and creating a dialogue with the people who interact with your page.

Although this sounds simple enough, building organic Facebook reach does present some challenges. For example, although you may have 1,000 people who have liked your business page, Facebook’s algorithms mean that a much smaller number of these individuals will see content from your page in their newsfeed. The more someone interacts with your page, the more likely Facebook is to show them your fresh content. If someone’s interaction tails off, they are less and less likely to see what you share.

It can also be surprisingly time consuming to create new likes, comments and shares organically. Although Facebook is slower moving than Twitter, you still need to share content on a daily basis to make sure as many people see what you’re saying as possible. You will also need to keep an eye on your Facebook insights to identify the best time to post and the kind of content that attracts the most interaction.

Facebook will reward you for responding to messages quickly and give more reach to posts that attract a high level of interactions, especially comments and shares.

The following tips should help you grow your organic reach on Facebook:

1. Create unique content

Although you might think this goes without saying, it’s amazing how many businesses forget their customers and therefore talk into the void on Facebook. It’s essential to understand who your potential patients are and to provide content that feels unique and personal to them. Write and share blog articles that answer their questions or speak to their problems, provide them with expert tips and advice, share patient experiences, take and share pictures of your team at work. By giving your potential patients a glimpse into your clinic or providing value with targeted content, you can build a strong and lasting relationship.

2. Choose the right time to post

Finding the right time to post takes a mix of method with trial and error. A study by Social Times found that engagement peaks on Facebook on Thursdays and Fridays with positive interactions spiking by 10% on a Friday. A great quote from Buddy Media sums up this trend, “The less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook”.

Social Times also found that posts at 1pm get the most likes and posts at 3pm attract the most clicks.

It’s important to remember that these are general figures taken across a range of different businesses and may vary for your business. If you run a clinic that attracts a high number of mothers with school age children, for example, you may find that interaction increases immediately after the morning school run, before 3.30pm or later in the evening. If you have silver surfers, other days and times may be more effective. You will only learn by experimenting.

3. Use images

A picture speaks a thousand words and never more so than on Facebook. The latest stats show that photos receive 53% more likes on Facebook than the average post and 84% more clicks. As a result, image-based posts tend to have greater reach. Think about ways that you can share images of real people, use lifestyle rather than product images, encourage responses, and be aspirational.

4. Get people talking

One of life’s truisms is that people love nothing more than talking about themselves, so if you can create opportunities for people on your page to share their thoughts, feelings or experiences, it can be a great way to boost engagement.

You might consider asking questions, or running a photo contest to collect images. Or why not ask fans to send photos of them using your skincare products or wearing their Invisalign aligners?

5. Refer to your page insights

Facebook provides a wealth of data about every post. From this data you can not only establish when your audience is online, but also what posts they like, what images resonate, what questions spark the biggest reactions, and much more. This information will help you to hone your future content so that it appeals to your target audience.

Facebook ads

Now we come to the second prong of your Facebook marketing – paid-for advertising.

Stats show that 40% of Facebook users choose not to like Facebook pages, preferring to keep their newsfeed focused on their friends and acquaintances. Although your page may not be able to reach these people, Facebook ads can.

Facebook ads are also a powerful way of building your reach and engagement over a much shorter time period than organic methods. More than two million small- to medium-sized businesses currently use Facebook ads as the single best way to reach their Facebook audience and be seen on newsfeeds.

The many benefits of Facebook advertising

Facebook ads are incredibly flexible, enabling you to get impressively specific about who you target. You can target an ad by:

  • Location: country, region, town, postcode or even address
  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Language
  • Interests (e.g. beauty salons, cosmetics, spas, luxury brands and so on)
  • Behaviour (e.g. shopping behaviour, the phone they use, items they’re looking to buy)
  • Life events (e.g. a dentist might want to target an ad about teeth whitening to people who are planning a wedding)
  • Connections

You can also format your ads, content and audience around your objectives. Want to attract new page likes? Facebook has the best format. Want clicks through to your website or to create local awareness? There’s ad formats for that too.

Another great feature of Facebook advertising is that you can create a custom audience – for example, targeting the people who are already on your mailing list – or a ‘lookalike’ audience where Facebook helps you target people who closely resemble your best customers.

 An option for every budget

Facebook advertising is possible for budgets of pretty much any size. You can set a daily budget or a lifetime budget, and once your budget is reached, the ad won’t be shared anymore, ensuring that you never overspend.

In some of the recent Facebook ad campaigns we have run for clients, their budgets have achieved the following:

  • £0 to £350/month (maximum of £11/day) = reach of 5.5k to 14k people per day
  • £500/month (£16/day) = reach of 6k to 16k people per day
  • £1000/month (£32/day) = reach of 11k to 28k people per day

Overall, this is a reach of approximately 44 people per click, all of whom are highly targeted potential customers.

 Tips for running an effective Facebook ad

So how do you run an effective Facebook ad? We’ve put together some tips based on our years of experience of Facebook marketing for cosmetic medical and dental clients.

1. Keep text your ad to a minimum

On June 6th 2016, Facebook announced that it is dropping its rule that ads must feature less than 20% text to be approved. However, as Jon Loomer explained on his blog, it’s unlikely that much will change in practice. Facebook users still prefer ads to contain minimal text, whereas text heavy ads are likely to attract lower distribution and higher costs.

For an ad to be successful, keep your message short and sweet.

Facebook gives some helpful guidelines to a good character count for each ad type in its Ad Guide.

2. Use a strong image

Facebook ads are image-driven with people preferring ‘real’ images, close ups of faces and lifestyle rather than product images. With cosmetic and dental – or related ads – you are not allowed to feature before and after images, so you will need to look for alternative ideas.

3. Add a call to action

Facebook gives you the facility to add a call to action button to your ad. As with calls to action on your website, this is effective because it helps people seeing the ad recognise what they need to do next.

4. Avoid making promises you can’t keep

As you’re no doubt aware, best practice for cosmetic medical and dental practices is to provide balanced, informative treatment details in advertising rather than enticing patients with promises, time limited offers or price deals. When developing a Facebook ad, it’s important to steer clear of setting high expectations, promises or guarantees about treatment outcomes.

5. Have a consistent message

If your Facebook ad links through to your website, Facebook may well check that the marketing message on your landing page is consistent with the wording of the ad before your ad gets approved.

Another great advantage of using Facebook advertising is that you get some really meaty data about each ad’s performance and have the option to change an ad at any time. There is also the facility to carry out split tests, raise or lower your budget, manage your objectives and more. If you’re strategic about your approach, Facebook marketing can be one of the most powerful advertising avenues for your clinic.

If you would like professional advice and support to maximise the return on investment of your Facebook marketing, give us a call at Cosmetic Digital on 0115 9140 640.