If you are feeling Facebook phobic, you aren't alone.
Social media can be overwhelming when you don't have a well-thought-out plan of action, especially if you aren't a frequent user. However, with a little bit of know-how and strategy, your Facebook page can be manageable and an effective part of your overall web marketing.
First you need to define realistic goals. While it is not very realistic to think that you will generate an influx of new patients and exam appointments from a Facebook post, you can set a goal of getting more fans, increasing your exposure or establishing expertise and loyalty from patients. Facebook is an effective retention tool which allows you to maintain a relationship with your patients, keeping your practice top of mind when they do decide it's time for a visit.
Next, plan a campaign. Choose your goal, stay focused and plan ahead. In addition to weekly posts on a variety of topics, a targeted campaign will enhance engagement and potentially bring more people to your page. Here are three different types of Facebook campaigns and how they can impact your social media success.
1) The “Like” Campaign: To increase fan base, reach more viewers and create greater brand recognition.
A “Like” Campaign gives Facebook users an incentive to Like your page by encouraging fans to share a post to get their networks to like your page. Often it will also be publicized outside of your actual Facebook page so people that aren't already your Facebook fans will see it - such as a pop-up ad on your website homepage, an email campaign or printed materials such as postcards, posters or business cards. Your incentive can be anything- great information and deals or a gift, discount or prize.
2) The Awareness Campaign: To promote specific educational topics, publicize areas of specialty, increase expertise and trust, and enhance loyalty.
An awareness campaign is a series of posts along with engagement opportunities that focus on a certain topic. You can take a seasonal approach (back to school eye concerns or seasonal allergies) or focus on a particular area of interest (Ortho-K or glaucoma) and post facts, links to articles, photos, giveaways, testimonials etc...the opportunities are endless. Awareness campaigns can also be integrated with other online or offline media such as posters, emails, lectures, events, blog posts, press releases and more. Here is a good example of a back-to-school awareness campaign from Wesson And Mothershed Eye Center which included a backpack giveaway.
3) Post (Theme) Campaign: To provide entertainment or share interesting facts to keep fans coming back to visit your page and encourage engagement.
Create a series of posts including photos or images around a particular theme to keep visitors coming back to your page. You can create a thematic schedule for certain days of the week (Funday Monday or Trivia Tuesday) or run a few weeks of posts about a fun, interesting or entertaining topics. Make your theme interactive to increase engagement. Some ideas for successful post campaigns include Celebrity Eyewear (show the celebrity’s eye wear and have fans guess who it could be), Celebrity Eyes (the same concept as eyewear but just by the eyes), and Eye Beauty tips just to name a few. Take a look at Complete Eye Care; this Practice Facebook page has a great variety of interactive post campaigns.
Like any marketing platform, to succeed with Facebook you need to set realistic goals and plan out a strategy to achieve them. You want to post at least once a week, more often if possible, to gain exposure for your page and create engagement. Campaigns that involve incentives, entertainment or important educational messages that establish your expertise will help to retain fans by way of loyalty, interest and recognition.