Since we opened Smiley Face in May I’ve been running our practice Facebook page, responding to messages, answering questions posted as comments and generally doing whatever needs to be done to engage the litany of consumers that Angela Weber and her team have engaged for us (Bridget has been handling the inquiries that come through our website so we will deal with that aspect of the practice later). We have spent a great deal of time and effort and money driving consumers to our Facebook page and I have time so I figured why shouldn’t I take personal charge of it instead of delegating it to an employee or hiring a service. After all, at this stage in the game of starting a practice from scratch every single engagement counts big time and only one person knows the practice better than I do. As with anything the engagement on our FB page started slowly but has begun to grow. We are aggressive with our FB marketing in both English and Spanish and that, plus having someone devoted to answering questions and stoking engagement, has grown the number of visits, likes, engagements, shares, comments, questions and, ultimately, new patient appointments.
I’ve been a big advocate for an active practice Facebook page since 2009 or so but I’d always thought it was something for someone else to do. I’d never spent time looking at what happens, understating what consumers want or how they want to be engaged but now that I have I will admit it’s not anything like what I imagined. We have been open 6 weeks now and these days I average 8-10 interactions a day – interactions meaning messages sent to the page or comments made on the page asking questions. In some ways this doesn’t sound like much but it’s actually huge. I’m talking about 8-10 interactions every single day (we only see patients 3 days a week but FB is full time). That means 56-70 interactions a week or 2912-3640 interactions a year at the current level. Of course we expect the engagement level to grow as our FB marketing and word of mouth continue to spread the word on our awesome new practice model and unprecedented fee.
I can only assume that most orthodontists assume they don’t have time to run a Facebook page. I know I used to think that way but really I only spend about 15 minutes a day (and sometimes less) in 1 minute increments fielding questions. Most of the questions are similar and I just keep a set of popular answers on the notes function of my phone, modify them as needed, then copy and paste them. It’s terribly simple, very efficient, extremely effective (based on the folks we see showing up at the office) and I don’t think I could hire someone to do it as well as I can. Another benefit is that I get to see exactly what people are interested in, what they want and how they want to be engaged. I thought I had a good handle on the dental consumer’s wants, needs and behaviors but I have learned far more running this FB page day in and day out for 6 weeks than I have in doing other things for years.
Want to bring quality and value and service and compassion to your patients? Consider taking over and running your FB page. Want to maximize every opportunity you get to have quality engagements and win the shopping war? Consider taking over your FB page. Want to increase the number of new patients and starts you have? You get the picture… Instead of spending your time on orthodontic FB groups complaining about not enough patients, DTC orthodontics and General Dentists, why not use that time more productively and take action instead of just talking? The choice is yours!