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Facebook Business Page: Do I Really Need It?

One of the questions asked often is:  “I already have a Profile page on Facebook, do I really need a Facebook Business Page?”

That’s sort of like the question (in dentistry) “Do I really need to floss?” You know the answer ….Only the teeth you want to keep!!

Originally, Facebook was only for making connections, not for business, hence PROFILE pages. It was a profile of you, your personal information, likes and dislikes.

Then businesses began to see the power of Facebook and started creating PROFILE pages for their businesses (which is actually against Facebook rules).  So in true Facebook fashion…Facebook started making changes (imagine that!) and created the BUSINESS page portion of Facebook.

Profile pages are very limited as to what can and can’t be done as far as a business is concerned.  The most noticeable being viewers have to wait to be confirmed after sending a “friend request”.

To see how the two differ let’s look at PROFILE -vs- BUSINESS page this way:

Your PROFILE page is really a personal page (and not to be used as a business per FB).  It’s like your home.  If someone comes to your door at home, they knock on your door and have to wait to be let in.

Your BUSINESS page is just that….your Business.  When someone comes to your place of business, they walk right in (during business hours of course). They don’t have to wait to be “confirmed”.  Remember we live in an age of ‘instant gratification’!

With that said, think about people interested in doing business with you having to wait outside until you let them in (PROFILE: waiting for you to confirm their ‘friend request’).

That could sometimes take days.  By that time, you may confirm them, but they may have already found someone else to do business with.  You’ve lost a potential client or patient.

With a BUSINESS page on Facebook, your visitors walk right in as soon as they “Like” you.  The “Like” is just opening your door.  No waiting for you to approve them.  Come to think of it, when did you ever have to wait to be approved before you could enter a store or business to shop or receive services?

We also talk about branding and how important it is to brand our business.  In fact we spend a lot of time…writing posts, uploading pictures, creating videos, posting our bios, responding to viewers…branding our business…to get viewers and potential clients and patients to come to our Facebook page….only to have them….wait while you approve/confirm their friend request!

That’s like finally getting a new prospect to call your office….only to be put on endless hold…and hope they are still on the line when you get back to them!

Why would you want to make a prospective new client or patient wait to see all you have available to them when they don’t have too??  You’ve spent and invested too much time in getting that prospect to your Facebook site to make them wait!

Then if you’ve seen the light and are thinking….”OK, If I create a Business page, will I lose all the people I’ve connected with on my Profile page?” Absolutely not!  You still are connected to them, can market to them, and will point them to your business page.

If you’re comfortable with creating Facebook pages, you can create your own business page (connected to your profile page) or outsource it to a social media specialist.

So in answer to the original question: “…..Do I really need a Facebook Business page?” Answer:  “Only if you’re in business!”

The point is, when you’re in business, you always want to put your best business foot forward. So unlock your doors and be “Open to the public”.  Create your Facebook Business page and let your new prospects… walk right in!

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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals, who want to keep it simple and easy to understand.  Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie:  Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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4 Social Media Myths

Social Networking Icons
Social media is the buzz word in marketing. You can be watching TV, eating in a restaurant, or on your computer and you will see or hear some mention of a social networking site. It may be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogs, or another of the many social platforms.

Whether you are on the social networks or not, you’ve even come to recognize their logos. Social media has become a way of life and a powerful marketing avenue for businesses.

But as powerful a source as social media presents, there are some business owners who still aren’t utilizing this incredible opportunity to grow their business sighting one or more of these 4 myths:

Myth #1: It’s Just A Fad

Social media is still in its infant stages, however, it’s already proven its value and is definitely here to stay! Facebook just announced they have over 500 million active viewers who spend over 500 million minutes per day on Facebook alone.

Traditional advertising, newspaper ads, telephone ads, and direct mailers are static in nature. They are usually advertisements about your services. Once the printed piece is presented there is no opportunity for connecting with and engaging the viewer and answering their concerns.

Social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs allow you to connect and engage your viewers with one on one conversation or group conversations.
What does this mean for you: More potential new patients and more treatment acceptance.

Do you know anyone who likes…really likes…going to the dentists? I don’t and I’ve been in it for almost 30 years. But one of the most amazing facets of social media is the ability to become real, not just an advertisement or a picture in a telephone ad…you become real!

Your viewers get to see their dentist as a real person, your personality, your hobbies, your likes and dislikes, even your ups and your downs… you’re real…you’re human. You also have become their “go to” person in your field of expertise.

Viewers are reading your posts, learning more about dentistry, finding out why they should visit a dentist and have their treatment done, seeing there can be medical complications when treatment goes undone. All because you are presenting valuable information in your posts previously unavailable to patients due to limited time and access for information while visiting your office.

All of this combines into establishing credibility, gaining trust, and building relationships and hopefully take some of the fear away associated with “going to the dentists”…and if a patient or potential new patient knows someone with a dental problem, who do you think they are going to refer them to….you!

Myth #2: Social Media Platforms Are Only For Teenagers

Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are no longer sites just for teenagers. Businesses have found these networking sites to present an incredible opportunity for connecting with and engaging their audience.

According to Inside Facebook, a Facebook tracking source ,the fastest growing demographic, is Women over 55. Women also comprised over 56.2% of Facebooks audience, and 45% of Facebook’s US audience is women over age 26.

What does this mean for you: Women make around 80% of the decisions concerning purchases for themselves and their family.

What percentage of women are in your practice and what’s their average age…bet they fall into one of these two ranges above. Women are extremely active on the Internet and social media networks. When your phone rings at the office, well over the majority of the calls are from women scheduling appointments or getting information.

Myth #3: Too Time Consuming and Overwhelming

The number of social media platforms available and all the information about social media can be overwhelming, IF you try to use all the networks starting out.

One of the best pieces of advice is to start with just one, possibly two, of the social networks and become comfortable with how to use it. It’s better to be active and consistent on just a couple of sites than to be semi-active and inconsistent on a bunch of sites.

Time is always a big factor in managing social media, but once past the learning curve, much of the work can (and should) be put on “auto-pilot”.

If you determine you want to be active on the other sites but may not feel confident enough or may not have the time to manage the sites, you can always choose to outsource some or all your social media activities.

What does this mean for you: Choose where you want to start and jump in…take action!

Realize you can assign someone in your practice (person must see the benefit and be social) to manage your social sites, however, this person should never post for you in the 1st person as speaking for you. You will also want to have social media policy in place for “what to and what not to” post.

As you grow you will learn much of your posts and information can be done ahead of time and preset to post in the future. There are a lot of sites that allow you to make one post and then that site will automatically post your information to several other network sites…sort of “one post does all”

Myth #4: It Will Cost Too Much

Your advertising budget is one of the largest expenses associated with your practice. You have your newspaper and telephone book ads, magazine ads, direct mail outs, and possibly printed newsletters.

Two major problems with traditional print ads: 1) They are static as mentioned earlier in this article and once read, there’s no interaction with the viewer. 2) With print ads, especially direct mail outs, at best there is only about a 5% return on the investment…what happened to the other 95% of your investment dollars?

Solution: Social media marketing – interacting with patients and potential new patients.

What does this mean for you: All the social media networking sites are Free to join, come with unlimited use, and are marketing your practice…24 / 7 / 365!

It would be a mistake to pretend social media is totally free because there is the time involved with maintaining your sites, especially when maintained well whether maintained in-house or outsourced to a third party.

When you factor in how many, or should I say how few, people are actually reached with traditional advertising, the cost of budgeting money for an ongoing social media presence pales in comparison.

Add to that the fact only about 15% of the population still uses telephone books and print ads with the other 85% using online sources, you can see why creating and maintaining your online presence is critical to your practice.

Bottom line: When done correctly, social media marketing has the ability to cut your advertising budget by as much as 90%! This translates to more money into your children’s college fund, more money to travel and enjoy life, and …last but not least, more time on the golf course (or your favorite hobby)!!

The primary objective of social media marketing is a bridge that gives you access to people, information, and even companies that in the past, you didn’t have access to. Its one-on-one contact and its word of mouth advertising in the best of forms and…most of its ….Free.

Through your social media communities and patient inactivity you establish your practice’s online visibility, make contacts, gain their trust, and build profitable relationships ultimately leading to more new patients, more treatment acceptance, and more product and services sales.
Isn’t that what you’ve wanted to do since you opened your practice? With social media…you can!
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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals, who want to keep it simple and easy to understand. Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie: Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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7 Marketing Strategies: Then and Now

In the late ’60s, Virginia Slim cigarette ads used the saying: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” I don’t think there’s a more targeted saying that could be used to describe marketing as we know it today….from even just a few years ago.

Traditional marketing meant direct mailers, print ads in magazines and telephone books, radio and TV ads, even billboards to reach viewers and potential new patients. But the problem with traditional marketing is as people have become better at blocking these traditional messages, traditional marketing has become less effective.
Let’s take a walk back in time a few years ago to get a better picture of Then and Now:

1. Then: An employer could purchase a “targeted” e-mail list of names for sending newsletters and special offers.

Now: Spam filters are used extensively plus marketer’s are limited by the National Canned Spam Act from sending “unsolicited messages”

2. Then: Sending out direct mailers to large lists of purchased names for a specific area

Now: Peoples mail boxes are full of junk mail and the mailers rarely make it past the trash can

3. Then: Specific trade publications had a large subscriber readership for reading your ad

Now: Publications are losing subscribers, laying off staff , and in some cases have stopped publication or scaled back their issues

4. Then: Businesses hired telemarketing firms for business solicitation

Now: Caller ID has become a standard feature on home, work, and even cell phones plus more and more people are adding their numbers to the national Do Not Call Registry making it more and more difficult for even the best of trained telesales reps.

5. Then: Radio and TV advertisements in cars and homes were almost guaranteed to generate results

Now: Commercial free channels and programs like Sirius radio, DVR’s and TiVo, DVD’s, MP3, iPods and iTunes has dramatically limited radio and TV effectiveness in advertising.

6. Then: Trade Shows were great for reaching the business audience and came with high “booth” rental fees

Now: Trade shows today have seen a huge decline in their attendees due to airline and hotel fees and lost production if the practice or business had to close while attending the trade show, causing many shows to scale back or to go out of business.

7. Then: The effectiveness of your marketing for the most part was measured by the amount of money you were able to afford to spend on your advertising budget. But even the “big guys” ads were static in nature, meaning no contact, no engaging, no information exchanged, and no relationship formed. Once placed they just sat there until they expired or they were renewed.

Now: Today people are tired of the barrage of marketing messages and are very good at deleting, trashing, and blocking traditional marketing, which is also changing. However, with social media marketing you no longer have to spend vast amounts of money for advertising to reach your target market. With social media, you build your online communities, you build relationships with your followers, and there IS contact and engaging conversation, information IS exchanged, and relationships ARE formed and the good part is….it’s working for you and your business 24/7 – 365! You really have come a long way, baby!

Consumer shopping has totally changed from Then! Is your marketing ready for social media Now?
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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals who want to keep it simple and easy to understand. Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie: Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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