8 Tips for Facebook Success
Develop long-term relationships to strengthen your practice.
By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS
Many physical therapy practice owners become frustrated as they don’t have time to develop the marketing tools needed to grow their business.
Alternatively, they have the tools but don’t know how to use them. Social media is one component of marketing that if done effectively can be a successful way to develop and strengthen relationships, educate the public about what we do, keep a practice “top of mind,” and engage with potential patients, resulting in the targeted growth of your practice.
Facebook continues to be the world’s largest social network, with 1.18 billion daily active users. Additionally, the average user spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook.1 That’s five times the population of the United States!
Facebook’s platform is designed to strengthen authentic relationships. Therefore, using Facebook simply for branding, advertising, and sales will cost you money and time and provide little return on investment. To be successful with Facebook means understanding your audience, providing quality content, being consistent and making a long-term commitment. With 1.18 billion daily users, Facebook sounds like it’s a place we should all be. Follow these top 8 tips to ensure your business is successful on Facebook.
1. You Need a Business Page
It’s important to establish your presence on Facebook by creating a business page. These pages are like personal pages but show specific information applicable to your business. People connect to your business page by “liking” it and becoming a fan. Create a personal page for your business, and you may be shut down. With a business page you can add trusted coworkers to be administrators of the page, sharing the workload.
To create a business page simply click the down arrow on your main Facebook page (top right corner), select create page, and choose the category that best fits your business. You will be able to add photos, information about your practice, contact information and more. The business page will give you a wealth of additional options that a personal page won’t, including content creation tools, paid promotional opportunities, and analytics/insights into your page.
2. Write a blog and share it!
To post a link to your blog, write a sentence or two—related to your content—that will create interest and paste in the link. By linking this post readers will automatically be brought to the site where your blog is hosted. The blog post will autopopulate with a white box, title, image, and meta description. Before publishing, delete the link to make your post look clean and professional. Additionally, edit the meta description, keeping it short and engaging, giving your readers a snippet of what they can read if they click on your post! Pick blog posts that your audience will find valuable and your followers will potentially share. Finally, hit “Publish.”
3. Need content?
Follow Facebook’s @myphystherapist, a Private Practice Section resource that provides consumer-ready posts for members to use.
From this site “share” posts to your pages (business and personal). Alternatively, download the images and post yourself. These posts include links to blogs (which can also be copied and pasted) and links to the Fit Factor (www.fitfactorsurvey.org).
4. the answer to when and how often
Facebook is a tool for developing relationships, not selling, spamming, or branding. To develop a relationship, a good balance between enough posting, but not too much, is important for maintaining a well-run Facebook business page.
Create a social media calendar to ensure consistent posting. Posts can be scheduled ahead of time, avoiding the last-minute panic revolved around finding something to post. Consider a marketing automation platform that allows a post to be scheduled and posted on multiple social media channels at one time. What’s the best time to post? The answer is it depends! It is generally believed that weekday afternoons between 1 and 4 p.m. and weekends between noon and 1 p.m. are the best times to post.2
Regarding frequency, quality outweighs quantity. Spend time creating and posting engaging, quality content that readers will find valuable.
5. measure your success and learn
Measure your efforts through Page Insights, accessed by clicking on the “Insights” tab at the top of your page. Here you will see an overview of the activity on your Facebook page and a wealth of analytical information. Likes (how many likes you gained), reach (the number of people your posts were served to), page views (how many people got to your page), shares (people who shared your post), 10-second views, and average watch time can all be used to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Learn what kind of content your audience engages with and the best times of day to post. By studying your page insights you can strategically create the most valuable social media marketing plan.
6. Reach your target audience
Boosting is a form of paid advertising that allows your post to be seen on the Facebook feed of a targeted audience. From the post, click on the “boost post” link. From here target the specific audience you would like to reach, including geography, age, interests, and more. Choose your budget and the time frame you would like the post budgeted for to see the estimated reach your post will have.
To maximize the effectiveness of boosting, limit the amount you boost. The more likes, comments, and shares a post gets, the more it will show up in people’s feeds. Do not boost a post immediately; wait to boost posts that are organically performing well. The longer you let it naturally acquire engagement, the better it will do as a boosted post.
Note: Facebook will not let you boost a post that is not your own. Download content from @myphystherapist, post it, wait for the engagement, and then boost it!3
7. encourage active engagement
Reach and likes at least lets you know your audience is “seeing” your content, but comments, shares, extended watch times tells you the audience is actively engaged and interested in your posts. Ask questions or consider offering a prize.
8. Welcome Followers
Encourage new visitors and followers by adding your posts and the Facebook icon to your e-newsletters, welcome emails, and website. Ask patients to follow your page and leave a review. Make sure your staff are engaged, following the page and sharing posts on their personal pages. Provide the opportunity for staff to participate in the generation of content—blogs, photos, and videos—to increase their engagement.
The Facebook platform is an effective way, when used correctly, to develop long-term relationships to strengthen your practice.
1 www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/04/15/facebook-marketing. Accessed July 2018.
2 www.hubspot.com/facebook-marketing. Accessed July 2018.
3 www.facebook.com/myphystherapy. Accessed July 2018.
Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, is the chair of the PPS PR and Marketing Committee and chief executive officer of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.