By Michael Tetreault, Editor
MARCH 19, 2014 – Not so fast. The title may start leading you down a creative path about why your website needs to be replaced with a Facebook business page but consider this … A study from Lab42 just last year found that 50% of people prefer a business’s Facebook Page rather than their Web Site. Really?
What is even more fascinating about this survey and other findings is that half of the respondents do prefer going to a Business Facebook Page than to a company Web Site. Why? It’s more honest and filled with customer reviews, most likely. It’s a place where patients provide honest testimonials, rave about their doctor and why every concierge medicine or direct-pay medical practice needs to get in the game and put their name somewhere on Facebook.
Some other findings from the Lab42 study are interesting but might not be considered by some, that reflective of the marketplace. Examples include:
1. People expect some promotions and discounts in return for liking a brand. At Concierge Medicine Today, we believe this is more of a survey biased response than the true motivation. Yes, everyone prefers a discount but it’s not always a deal breaker. Depending on how the question was asked this would likely be a natural inclination. Important – sure. Critical – no.
2. The #1 reason to “Unlike” a business page is due to frequent posting. So this conflicts, somewhat, with #1 because a lot of businesses post specials and deals but if that is all you do you could be hurting reputation and influence with your following on Facebook. Especially if you post too frequently. According to physician interviews and the book, The Marketing MD, physicians should post one to two times per day is helpful for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Most people might miss your post, BUT, don’t measure your Facebook productivity by engagement with others at your page/profile. You should be more concerned about reach versus engagement – meaning how many people did your various posts ‘reach’ – not how many “Liked” it or commented on a post you made.
3. The vast majority (over 80%) “Like” a business page to communicate with the business. This one makes complete sense. People know that good businesses listen to their customers and act and react based on the two-way communication that social media provides.
So what’s the best approach for concierge doctors?
Think of social media as a conversation with your patients (and possible new ones). Listen, ask good questions and provide some value. Don’t post ugly pictures or a continuous stream of recipes. Mix it up. A discount or promotion once in a while is great but tips and advice or even a patient testimonial or two will go a long way.
It’s recommended by physicians and social media teams that manage the Facebook pages and profiles of health practitioners that you post one to two times per day. There’s nothing worse than a prospective patient finding your Facebook Page and seeing that you haven’t posted or updated the Timeline in 6 months or even worse, years.
Consider these facts also:
- The percentage of patients likely to recommend a physician to a friend after becoming a fan of their Facebook Page is 56%. Source: The Marketing MD Book, © 2014
- When it comes to your Doctor’s Office on Facebook Page … experts say … “You should be more concerned about REACH versus LIKES and engagement – meaning how many people did your various posts ‘reach’ – not how many “Liked” it or commented on a post you made.”
I want you to know that you don’t need to be intimidated by all the different too many phone calls, reputation management profile sites like HealthyGrades.com or Vitals.com, and don’t avoid social media platforms. If you believe everything your colleagues tell you about marketing – think about how successful they really are right now at this moment.
You don’t need 27 thousand fans. You don’t even need 2,700 fans. There are plenty of successful medical clinics and primary care offices that have small 80-250 Facebook fan pages. What if you only had 500 or 5,000 genuine fans on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter? When they engage, they love you, they in turn, spread and share their love for your business or brand with their friends. And what if you could create that in 100 Days?
Finally remember the key point – 50% of prospective patients and current patients are visiting the Internet and Facebook to be distracted. They’re looking for a reason to click and read. That’s an important detail. So make sure you are in the game.