Your dental practice is on Facebook. You are trying to stay abreast of best practices, and tie your offline and online marketing plans together into a cohesive whole. But are you really leveraging Facebook to the fullest extent possible?
In 2016, these 4 methods can help you increase your practice’s online presence, and give you an actual return on investment when it comes to the time and money you are spending on social media marketing.
Go Back to Basics
Your Facebook Page is best leveraged when it is complete. Does your practice page have:
- A completely filled out “Page Info” section, including a short and long description?
- A tagline that evokes the image you want your practice to have?
- A beautiful cover photo that matches the rest of your branding?
- A call to action, encouraging visitors to call your practice?
Making sure your Facebook Page is always correctly updated and kept looking fresh is one of the first steps towards success.
Show, Don’t Tell
If there is anything that is certain about social media, it is that nearly every platform is making the shift to be more visual. Sharing images of your practice, your team, and your patients (with permission, of course) can be the single greatest thing you do on Facebook this year.
Visual content already makes up the best performing posts on Facebook; in fact:
- Posts with images receive 94% more views than posts without. 
- People retain 65% of what they see online if it is accompanied by an image, compared to 10% of text only posts.
- Infographics get shared on social media 3x more than other kinds of content. 
Facebook makes it easy to show instead of tell.
Start Paying to Play
While Facebook’s early appeal was that you could build a large organic online following for your practice with only a time investment, everyone knew eventually the platform would monetize. Facebook’s Power Editor allows you to:
- Run campaigns to raise brand or local awareness, or increase website clicks and conversions on your practice website.
- Target audiences based on location, age, gender, interests, and familiarity with (or no knowledge) of your practice.
- Tailor campaigns to your budget, and test campaigns or ads against each other for effectiveness and ROI.
Stay on Top of Changing Best Practices
Finally, stay abreast of the latest news from Facebook regarding potential marketing options and preference given to types of posts. Things changed significantly in 2016, including a continued shift away from organic views, a battle between text and visual content (visual won), and better Facebook Ad experiences, including an updated Ad Manager and a comprehensive Power Editor.
In 2016, things will change yet again, with plans in the works for:
- Live streaming video (great for real time updates when your practice team is participating in community events).
- Instant Articles. This tool is still in beta, but dental practices may soon be able to take advantage of it to publish fast loading informational content that loads instantly on mobile – the device of choice for more people every year.
Follow these four steps to increase your practice’s reach, visibility, and conversions in 2016. Facebook can be one of the most powerful online marketing tools at your disposal, but only if you commit to using it to your advantage. Start revising your strategy today and see how much better 2016 can be than last year.
 Blog post about visual content. KissMetrics website. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/visual-content-you-need-to-use-in-your-marketing-campaign/ Published August 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
 Article about Facebook content trends. Social Media Today website. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/internet-marketing-trends-and-tactics-2014-infographic Published December 2013. Accessed February 1, 2016.
 Blog post about visual content trends on social media. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/boost-engagement-visual-content Published February 2015. Accessed February 1, 2016.
 Article about Facebook Live Streaming options. Forbes website. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/12/14/live-streaming-is-coming-to-facebook-what-you-need-to-know/#313e8b4462dc Published January 2016. Accessed February 1, 2016.