You’ve probably noticed that the number of people who see most of your Facebook posts don’t even come close to the number of fans you have. Why is that?
The number of people who see your post on Facebook is called your "reach." Facebook has an algorithm that determines what gets displayed on every user’s newsfeed. It tries to show users what it thinks they want to see based on their preferences and what they’ve engaged with in the past. So, when you release a post, it gets shown to a few of your followers. If those people interact with the post (by liking, sharing or clicking on the post), then Facebook will show it to a few of their friends and the process continues.
Reach also includes the number of people who have come to your post through an ad or by visiting your Facebook page.
Tip: To review your reach for each post, log in as an administrator and click on the “Insights” tab.
Going viral is when a post or video gets shared rapidly across the Internet. Most likely, you’ve seen your fair share of viral cat videos, but what about dental videos or dental-related posts? It’s quite possible to create content that has the potential to go viral. Just look at Dr. Milad Shadrooh, the Singing Dentist. His Ed Sheeran parody video has been seen more than a million times (at the time of publication). It’s funny, engaging and 100% dental related. If you haven’t seen it already you can check it out The Singing Dentist YouTube Channel.
However, you might not be looking for Internet fame like the Singing Dentist. He’s doing a great job promoting oral hygiene to his patients in the U.K. and around the world … but that’s not necessary to run a successful Facebook marketing campaign. Realistically, most dental office posts would be awesome if they were seen by people in your local community … because those people are most likely to become new patients.
So, how do you ‘reach’ more potential patients with your posts?
Provide content on your Facebook page that is engaging and interesting to your patients. It can be hard to toe that line between professional and entertaining in the dental world, but dental health tips, jokes, educational content and videos are all great ideas. Engaging posts generally elicit some sort of emotion, whether it makes the viewer happy, sad or surprised. We try to stick to positive emotions since our posts are shared throughout North America.
Also, people love seeing people. The most engaging photos are often those of your staff members. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, adding a team member or have just bought flowers for the office, sharing a photo of a staff member is by far the best way to engage your audience. It’s also a great way to illustrate how reach works. Your staff member will often like or comment on their own photo – which will push the photo out to their Facebook friends. Because people see a friendly face they are more likely to like or share the photo … which leads to more engagement.
Another easy way to attract attention from the people you want to talk to the most is to post about something local. If you or your staff are representing your office at a local community event, be sure to share a photo or two about it.
You can also tag other local businesses or dental colleagues to help reach more fans. Tagging will get your post out to your audience and to the tagged business’s audience. So, if you enjoy visiting the local pizza joint on your lunch break, why not share your praise with your fans and theirs? Or maybe you just finished a case that you worked on with the local orthodontist and have a great before and after to share. To tag another business, just put the “@” symbol and start typing in their name. Facebook will create a link to the other business in your post.
Unfortunately, we still can’t tag people from a business Facebook page – but you can encourage patients to tag themselves! For example, if you hold an event, you can share the photos on your Facebook page and encourage your fans to share the photos and tag themselves … Just make sure you have a photo release form signed for anyone you feature on your page.
Although it’s slightly awkward when you start using hashtags, they can be your marketing #bff. Hashtags are generally used for common phrases, subjects and events so that people can re-visit the information quickly and easily. In our marketing, we always use the #dentalmarketing hashtag so that people who are interested in the topic will be able to see our posts. As a local business, you may have to do some research to see what people in your local community use for a hashtag. In Halifax, people use both #hfx and #halifax to talk about our lovely port city.
Tips: To find out which hashtags your community uses, run a few searches on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow local bloggers or newspapers and pay attention to what hashtags they use. To be seen on a national level, try #dentist, #dentalhealth or #oralhealth. You can also hashtag any of your services from #teethwhitening to #dentalimplants.
Boosting your posts on Facebook is by far the easiest way to increase your reach. Best of all, you can target the types of new patients you’re hoping to attract for just a few dollars a post. You can get really specific with your targeting. For example, if you have a post about sports guards, you might want to target sports fans in your area. Facebook will allow you to add a button so you can link your photo post to a page on your website about sports guards or to your “Book an Appointment” page.
Tip: The boosting post feature is a mini-version of Facebook Advertising. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the advertising section but it will allow you to improve your reach and engagement for your posts. Plus, it’s much easier to use. If you’re planning to do a lot of advertising, I’d recommend diving into the audience tab and creating some custom saved audiences for your posts. That way, you can load them into your boosted posts quickly.
There you have it! Are there other things you’ve tried to increase your reach? How do you engage your patients?