Most social media marketing plans will include a Facebook presence. Facebook, traditionally perhaps seen as a platform for purely social interaction, has evolved over time. There is a large business presence on the platform, and as such the way in which people use Facebook has and will continue to evolve.
There are hundreds of social networking sites across the globe, and while some break through and become a recognised and established global platform, the majority will remain unknown on a truly global scale as it were.
The most well known platforms are: Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin and Twitter. In this post, we will discuss Facebook, its benefits and opportunities.
Facebook has hundreds of millions of active daily users. They are the leading social platform in terms of global reach. Allied to general medical queries through search engines, more and more people are looking for medical information on social network platforms. As such, Facebook’s importance is increasing on a daily basis.
Medical information can signify a broad range of topics, but what is interesting from a healthcare providers perspective is that people search for information that is provided via videos, and downloadable documents, and generally these pieces of information are easily found on social networking sites.
Aside from potential patients searching for relevant material, medical and healthcare entities can connect with one another, especially with regard to specialist topics, and discussion groups.
There are of course pitfalls to Facebook usage, there are channels of communication are there for negative feedback from disgruntled patients, which has a detrimental effect on a medical practices’ image ad sense of trust. However, when staff handle these negative comments correctly; then patient satisfaction can increase. Some larger global companies in other industries have used Facebook purely as a customer service portal allowing instant communication between staff and customer.
The plus side of Facebook
Cost: Facebook is free to set up and use. There is a cost associated with Facebook advertising, but that is a separate decision. Regular attention is needed for your Facebook page; updated information, fresh content, responding to user messages, comments and posts.
If you get to a point where your practice has a successfully created a community of followers, there are analytics available to track your audience, giving you feedback about your followers will help you retain their loyalty.
Unlike your website, your Facebook page will allow the patient to interact directly with you, and also their list of friends and followers, thus your potential reach is very much driven by your followers, and their word of mouth, which is valuable and authentic.
Similar to your website, having a separate Facebook page adds one more location where people can find you. Linking your website to Facebook page is important, as it is for any other social media presence you may have.
The more social networks your practice are located in the wider the net you are casting in terms of search engine traffic.
Facebook provides you with a large audience, if Facebook advertising is something you wish to consider, then highly targeted advertising campaigns can be created. One should venture with caution though, as this will require a budget, and CPC (cost per click) and CPM( cost per thousand) represent some ways in which you can pay for results driven campaigns. Some outside consultation with a professional is worth considering before jumping in head first into Facebook Advertising.
As discussed previously, your Facebook page can earn your practice new patients, whether your current followers have referred them, or whether they have simply found some of your informative content and decided to book an appointment as a result.
At the end of the day, Facebook can provide numerous benefits and potential pitfalls. One suggestion would be to use it as part of an overall social media strategy, which includes other platforms, thus helping to spread your digital presence further.
One can have a Facebook personal profile, or can set up a Facebook Group, or a Facebook business page.
Groups are widely used for topical discussions among members and personal profiles are for friends and family by and large.
However, for a business page, one should read the rules and regulations of Facebook so as to understand the various terms and conditions. A personal profile is needed to act as an administrator of the business page.
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