Please - DON'T Do These 4 Things With Your Facebook Page
by Bob Main - Web Presence Coach/Consultant
Building and managing a Facebook page for your ECP practice or optical company can seem confusing and overwhelming. But it doesn’t really need to be. There are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind when building your Facebook page that will make it a winning site. And if used properly, it can be used as a powerful tool to help grow your optical practice/business. Here are four things you definitely want to avoid.
1- Don’t ignore it
One of the most important social media goals you should have is to get patients (and prospective patients) to “engage” with your Facebook page. By that I mean that they actually post a comment on your Facebook page in response to something you post. This is great when it happens because it demonstrates people are reading the material you post and it is interesting to them. To encourage more people to comment on your posts, and to reward them for taking the time to comment, be sure to respond to their comment in a timely manner (see example of a conversation thread to the right). The key word here is “timely”. A prompt response to their comment shows that your practice is interested in “being social” with them. A slow response tends to show that your practice is not really interested in an “online conversation”. The rule of thumb is that all comments need a response within 6 hours (business hours). I also recommend that someone in the practice/business monitor the Facebook page during non-business hours so responses don’t take days to happen.
To efficiently track and know when people post on your Facebook page, without physically constantly checking Facebook, use online tools such as TweetDeck.com or Yoono.com. These free online tools (downloadable to your computer), once properly set up, will give you a real-time, running news feed of people as they comment on your posts. These programs can also be set up to monitor your Twitter account and many other social media sites. Another option is to set up your Facebook page (in the settings tab) to email you when someone posts on your site.
2 - Don’t let the banner get lost
The banner (see example) is part of the most important “real estate” on your Facebook page. When someone is visiting your page for the first time, they may only give it a few seconds to communicate to them what you do and if they should spend more time looking around the page. Since this area can be a “billboard” that communicates a quick story about your practice/business, take advantage of this space. Have your banner professionally designed, and give its content a lot of thought. It should contain photos or graphics of “what you do”. For example, if you primarily sell eyeglasses, have a high resolution photo of a person wearing a stylish frame.
3- Don’t ignore the “About” tab
Many times people come to your Facebook page for “contact information” about the practice/business. The “About" tab is the logical place to put this information on a basic Facebook page. Be sure to populate this area with your hours of operation, phone numbers, address, practice specialties, etc. Check the map that is pre-loaded into this section by default. Be sure it is correctly displaying your location. A more user-friendly option is to turn off the default map and insert a Google Maps locator (see Google Map Maker). This will allow visitors the ability to get detailed directions from their house to your practice, and they can print out the directions.
4- Don’t forget the reason people are on Facebook
Facebook can be a very valuable relationship marketing tool, if used properly. But the key is to recognize that people are on Facebook to “be social”. They are engaging in online conversations with their friends and relatives. They are exchanging photos of the grand kids and talking about the restaurant they went to last night. They are not on Facebook to get a sales pitch. Your Facebook page and the content posted should be one of 4 things: engaging, educational, informative and/or entertaining. This includes holding contests, posting trivia, posting educational eyecare information, photos of new frames you are carrying, etc. (go to www.TabSite.com to design applications and tabs for your Facebook page). Posts such as “have a good weekend” probably don’t fit into any of these four categories. If posts are not engaging, entertaining, informative or educational; people will un-follow your Facebook page and your practice will lose the opportunity to stay connected with them.
Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged with the goal of having the perfect Facebook page. Knowing and following a few simple guidelines, like these, will allow you to attract and engage with more patients and prospective patients. The end result is that you will have a powerful tool to stay connected with your patients between office visits.
Watch this video replay of a webinar on "How to Set Up and Manage Your ECP Facebook Page" by clicking here.