THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Human Interest Marketing – Part 5

In the week in which Twitter announce that they are closing down their video application Vine as they post losses of over $100m for the company’s last quarter, Facebook announce sales approaching $7Bn for the quarter and profits of almost $3Bn in the same period.

I wonder whether Dr. Zuckerberg has recovered from his son’s decision not to follow him into dentistry?

The figures are so large that they become impossible to comprehend, including the 2Bn people (thereabouts) who use Facebook on a daily basis.

You might not like Facebook but you cannot ignore it – and those who tell me that “our patients aren’t on Facebook” may be correct(?) but are they standing in the right place from a marketing perspective?

On the inside, Facebook isn’t a social media platform, it’s an advertising business, with over 75% of the boggling profits mentioned above coming from those innocuous adverts that populate the right hand side bar on your news feed and timeline.

Yet it still seems to be a very blunt instrument for marketing – my adverts this morning include:

  1. Running shoes from Amazon – I bought a new pair last week – from Amazon – so why would I buy again?

  2. Virgin Money offering me a credit card – I don’t use credit cards

  3. Adobe Stock offering me a free trial on downloading stock images – I’m already a paying member

  4. An Adwords optimisation tool – I don’t use Adwords

At least the invitations to take up Saga cruises have stopped.

In an earlier post I shared my lack of confidence in Facebook advertising with the feedback that most of my clients have tried and given up after subjecting their receptionists to frustrating phone calls, following up leads with time-wasters, price-shoppers, bargain-hunters and other “messers”.

In fairness (and on Facebook), a few dentists did respond with success stories that seemed to revolve around certain very focused patient demographics and treatment modalities – they are clearly a happy minority.

I cannot help but draw the overall conclusion that somebody, somewhere needs to create an evidence-based formula for dental Facebook advertising, rather than making big claims for dentistry based on the experience of dissimilar e-commerce sectors.

However, in the context of human interest marketing, I want to move on to the use of Facebook to generate up-sales, word of mouth recommendations and web site visits (for the Data Capture mentioned in the last post).

I recommend that my clients post to their Facebook Pages daily – and that the majority of those posts are human interest stories and not that plain vanilla stuff about National Smile Week, “how to floss” and news from around the world on dentistry.

Human interest posts include:

  1. selfies of team members at interesting moments in their personal and professional life

  2. selfies of patients at the end of treatment

  3. selfies of VIP visitors to the practice

  4. special national events (Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries)

  5. Local events or those particular to the practice – open evenings, children’s days

For the record, I’m assuming that, in every instance, the appropriate consents have been obtained.

More important nowadays is the request that a visitor “checks in” to your Facebook Page whilst they are in the practice.

This will demonstrate to their followers and friends that they trust you as their dentist.

Also, you will have seen (if you check in to places yourself) that Facebook now automatically generate a notification to the visitor, 24 hours later, asking them to write a review of your practice.

This is Facebook taking the initiative in the Reviews War that they are currently conducting with Google and can increase the number of reviews you receive (you had better keep an eye on the quality of what you do) – thus improving your organic search position now that Google have started hoovering up other reviews to add to their own.

The Facebook mantra now sounds like this:

  1. consents (every time)

  2. daily

  3. selfies

  4. posts

  5. comments

  6. likes

  7. shares

  8. check ins

You have three commodities with which to grow your practice:

Time : Money : People

Given the choice of two out of the three – which two would you prefer to deploy?

Personally, I choose Time and People – leaving my money free to work in other areas of my business and my life.

Many dentists I meet tell me that they are Time and People starved and so throw Money at the marketing problem.

Never a good idea – and most of this series is about how to reduce your marketing spend, not increase it.

Facebook is a fantastic way to spread the message about your core values, about the outcomes that you deliver and about the people you love to work with (it also happens to be great for recruitment as well – a story for another day).

Here are some well-managed Facebook Pages from my clients:

The Dental Suite

Norfolk Dental Specialists

Abbey Orthodontics

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