THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Why you simply cannot ignore Facebook in your internal marketing plan

A lovely message from Facebook this morning to thank me for being one of their community of 2 billion members worldwide.

I’m arranging attendance at both of my daughter’s graduations this month via Facebook Messenger.

The same channel through which I communicate with all 5 of my adult children, arrange social and fitness events in my life and will be attending a fellow Bear Grylls Islander’s wedding next month.

It does beg the question “how much longer will we use email?” and, if the nice people at Facebook have their way, the answer to that question will be less than 5 years.

In 2016, we passed the 50% mark for percentage of the UK population regularly using Facebook – that is projected at 52% (35.4 million) by 2020.

89.9% of all UK social media traffic is in Facebook, so don’t think that the WhatsApp/Snapchat communities are making much in the way of inroads.

81% of UK Facebook users accessed the channel via a mobile phone in 2016, that will rise to 88% by 2020.

(source e-marketer)

Here is the demographic distribution:

That’s a lot of people – and they include your patients and the family, friends and colleagues of your patients.

It’s for that reason that I get so excited when I see practices that are taking advantage of this superb way to encourage digital referrals via:

check ins

reviews

posts

comments

selfies

videos

The paradox here is that Facebook isn’t a social media platform – it is a advertising company. Look at their 2016 results (and the increase over 2015):

The numbers are as mind-blowing as Apple.

But I’m not about using Facebook as an advertising platform for dentistry, in fact I remain dubious as to the results of this form of self-promotion in the dental landscape (except for the private squat).

When I say Facebook, I mean REFERRAL and those referrals will occur, provided you encourage the actions listed above and make sure that whatever you do post is share-worthy.

A reminder of The Barrow Rule on marketing content:

  1. 80% human interest stories about patients

  2. 15% human interest stories about your team

  3. 5% dental education

Facebook allows you to reach massive numbers of potential new patients, almost free of charge, with positive messages about the difference you can make.

A systematic approach to your Facebook Page management is an essential component of a 2017 marketing plan.

I predict, within 5 years, complete patient communication systems within Messenger.

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