Facebook is once again turning up the heat on business profiles. The world’s largest social media site is making your content more difficult for your patients to see. And prospective patients? Forget about it. Why? Because Facebook wants you to pay to boost your page and posts. Marketing on Facebook is big business. A recent update to Facebook’s system effectively puts a limit on scheduled posting. Its aim is to reduce excessive content. Yet practice owners know that publishing content is how you get your message out there. With these changes in play, you can’t help but wonder if marketing on Facebook is still worth it.
Does Boosting Help?
It certainly helps Facebook, but whether or not it will help you is yet to be seen. Paying for your ad or post to reach more people, a.k.a. “boosting”, might generate more engagement. In other words, you may get more likes, shares, and impressions. If you are promoting a blog and want to become the next KevinMD, this makes sense. So, if making a name for yourself is your goal, then boost away.
But most medical practice owners just want their marketing on Facebook to attract new patients. Unfortunately, success with Facebook seems to favor products over services. Think about it: the first component in a successful Facebook ad is the visual. Yet service buyers, such as patients, are looking for credibility. And, although you can see a pair of fancy shoes or cheap sunglasses, you can’t see great medical advice. This is difficult to show in a Facebook ad.
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Is Paid Marketing on Facebook Worth a Try?
Sure. After all, Facebook still boasts the largest number of active members of any social platform. Plus, marketing on Facebook lets you target specific groups of people. You can target your prospects by age, location, and interests. Use your existing patients to determine your target audience.
This interest-based marketing makes Facebook unique. But keep in mind that even if you identify your ideal prospects, targeting that group with ads won’t guarantee new patients. First and foremost, people go to Facebook to connect, not to click on ads. So instead of boosting your content, you could try getting social. Join your nearby neighborhood and community groups and offer helpful comments. This type of online, friendly networking, although time-consuming, can result in referrals.
Facebook vs. Review Sites
In the end, if you’re paying for advertising on Facebook, trying to connect with your community, and still not seeing new patients, don’t despair. Until Facebook finds ways for service-based businesses to get better results, it might just not be the best venue for you. Instead, you can try nurturing your profiles on review sites. Patients are increasingly visiting Yelp or Healthgrades when looking for doctors. They love testimonials that show that you are qualified and that you care. Who knows? Getting a handful of patient testimonials out to the public might just get you that “boost” after all!