Whether you are an old hand at Facebook, or are just getting started, Facebook ads appear to be here to stay. The rise of paid content promotion was fast and emphatic; between July 2012 and July 2013 alone, paid reach increased by 221%. Since then, many practices have seen their ROI dropping, and new-to-Facebook practices have found it harder than it might have been a few years ago to establish a foothold.
Allocating some of your digital marketing budget may be the answer, but simply throwing money at Facebook won’t magically solve everything – like any other marketing tactic, you need a plan. The first step is understanding why paid social is worth the time and money.
What about Organic Reach?
Previously, many dental practice owners found it easy to maintain an organic presence on Facebook by dint of high quality content creation and interaction. With the advent of pay-to-play social, some balked – “Wasn’t social media supposed to be the great free branding platform?”
Facebook rules have changed, however, and paid social is here to stay. The sting of the cost of promoting posts is mitigated, however, by the fact that (compared to traditional advertising strategies) Facebook ads are still relatively inexpensive – and can be remarkably effective.
- FACT: Facebook ads are the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions ad in history, averaging around $0.25 per 1,000, which is only 1% of the cost of TV ads.
- FACT: Paid ads are far more likely to result in action than simple views, and lead to direct results such as a potential patient calling your practice, requesting an appointment, or otherwise converting.
Facebook Ads in 5 Easy Steps:
There are five steps to effectively using Facebook’s post promotion option.
- Research. Your practice’s brand, your dental niche, and topics of interest to your patients should generate keywords you can use in your ads. FACT: Buzzsumo is an excellent comparison and research tool; use it to search social media for mentions of your target keywords, and filter directly them through Facebook. This will show you what is working and what isn’t among competing practices in your area.
- Create. While sharing great content is fine, you also need to be bringing smoothing original to the table. Consider making short videos; after all, more than 50% of people who use Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily, 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook, and videos alone accounted for 80% of all interactions on Facebook in December 2014!
- Target. Facebook’s “Custom Audience” feature (great for subtly reaching out to patients you haven’t seen in a while) lets you use email lists to either create a custom audience, or to exclude them if you want to reach out to a fresh, new audience using a New Patient promotion.
- Budget. While “promoting” a post via Facebook’s Ad Manager is a little more complex than simply “Boosting” a post, the former method makes up for its complexity by allowing you more control when it comes to targeting.
- Measure. A 2013 HubSpot survey revealed that 34% of businesses either cannot or do not calculate their inbound ROI at all! What are they thinking? Facebook hosts a handy conversion tracker on-site, so you can see exactly who has interacted with your ads!
Once you have these five steps figured out, all you have to do is rinse and repeat for winning Facebook Ad strategies that create a positive impact on your practice. From there, move on to other platforms that have instituted a paid social model – Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms are close on the heels of Facebook and you can adapt your strategies for each platform. Pay-to-play shouldn’t be the end of your social media involvement, just a new chapter in your practice’s marketing direction!