Important Facebook® developments

Current Issue , Practice Development

Ian McNickle, MBA, discusses how to stay face-to-face with patients using Facebook

It should be no surprise that the largest social media site on the planet continues to change and innovate at a rapid pace. It has been very interesting to monitor recent developments and understand their impact for dental practice marketing.

Facebook® newsfeed algorithm — how to get seen

Last year, Facebook announced they would be making a change to the newsfeed algorithm so that they could better deliver relevant content to their users. They started to track what users were engaging with (likes and comments) and then gave higher relevance to similar stories being in someone’s newsfeed. This means if someone has liked or commented on a post from your practice, he/she would be more likely to see your posts again in the future. Facebook is essentially trying to understand your interests and match those topics with what would be shown to you in the future. This is similar to Internet radio stations like Pandora® that learn what you like and attempt to give you more of what you like over time.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced another change to take this concept a step further. Now they are going to track how long you interact with an article or piece of content after leaving Facebook. Monitoring engagement time gives them additional insight into what a particular user likes to read and see in their newsfeed.

What does this mean for your practice?

Relevant and engaging content is more important than ever! If a Facebook user clicks on your content and immediately bounces right back to Facebook without taking much time to read it, then this could negatively impact your visibility in the future. On the other hand, if a user goes to your page and takes the time to read the entire article, then you’re likely to rank higher in the newsfeed.

The interesting thing to note is that although this information is valuable to track user engagement and relevant content, it’s also part of Facebook’s push to get publishers using their new tool “Instant Articles,” which means more content is being published behind Facebook’s wall and less on other sites. Essentially, they are trying to keep people within the walls of Facebook and not link to external websites, thereby leaving Facebook during that browsing session.

For now, it’s important for your practice to take note of the changes and be sure that your blogs and other social media posts are engaging and targeted specifically to your audience.

In addition to creating engaging posts and content, there are other strategies to generate new patient leads from Facebook. These strategies primarily fall into two categories: 1) boosted posts, and 2) paid ads. In our next marketing column, we will continue with our Facebook theme and dig deeper into these new patient-generating strategies.

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If you have questions about your website, social media, or online marketing, you may contact WEO Media for a consultation to learn more about the latest industry trends and strategies. The consultation is free if you identify yourself as a reader of this publication.

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Ian McNickle, MBA, is a national speaker, writer, and marketer. He is a co-founder and partner at WEO Media, winner of the 2016 Cellerant “Best of Class” Award for Dental Marketing and Dental Websites. If you have questions about any marketing related topic, please contact Ian McNickle directly at ian@weomedia.com, or call 888-246-6906. For more information, visit www.weodental.com.