Facebook is now the 2nd most popular website on the internet with over 300 million active users. The increasing popularity of social media is revolutionizing the ways that business owners market to and connect with their audience. Because of sites like Facebook, it has never been so easy to get your name in front of hundreds or thousands of targeted people.
Here is how Facebook marketing can greatly benefit your practice:
1. You can connect with all kinds of people in your local area for free.
2. You can position yourself as a trusted leader and expert in your field.
Let's talk about how you do this.
Some people will do what's called mass friend adding where they will find 30-40 targeted prospects a day on Facebook and add them as friends. In your case, you would find this many people in your local area on Facebook and start adding them as friends. I do not recommend this strategy for practitioners. For many businesses, this can work very well but for holistic practitioners, this approach tends to be too aggressive. If you want to quickly build relationships with people you do not know in your local area, I recommend that you use Twitter.
On Facebook, I have found that it is more effective to use it as a word-of-mouth marketing tool within your practice. The best way to create some buzz about your work on Facebook is to start your own group.
STARTING A FACEBOOK GROUP
Starting your own Facebook group is very easy to do. First, you need to set up your own Facebook account. Then, on your profile, you will see a link that says 'create your own group.' Click on that link and follow the simple instructions.
Now, why would you want to do this?
Well, when you have your own group, your perceived expertise will definitely go up. People will be impressed by the fact that you lead a wellness group. As the group spreads around Facebook, more people will join it, which means more people will be aware of your practice and potentially call you for treatment.
You want your Facebook group to become as large as possible. It is pretty easy to get 2,000 people into your group as long as you are consistent in your efforts and you are systematic about marketing it.
Let's go through a step-by-step process for doing this:
1. Call your group the name of your city with the words acupuncture and wellness. For instance, if you live in Denver, Colorado, the name of your group would be Denver Acupuncture and Wellness. The reason you want to name it this is because Google is really ranking Facebook groups high, so there's a chance you can actually get your group ranked on the first page of Google. In this example, when someone types in 'acupuncture Denver' into the Google search box, your group will come up and they will likely join your group and want to call you because they see you are well-established in the community. Your chances of getting ranked on the first page of Google for your group will increase as you get more members into your group and it becomes more dynamic.
2. Make sure to put a live link to your website or blog and make your phone number very easy to see.
3. Send an email to all of your current patients to join the group. Make sure you send them the direct link to sign up so it makes it easy on them. Tell them in the email that you'll be sharing a lot of great informaton on achieving optimal wellness. Also tell your patients to invite 2 of their friends to join the group by forwarding the link to them. This is a key point. Facebook is such an amazing website for marketing because it is so easy to share information and resources. You want your group to go viral on Facebook, meaning that your current patients tell many people, who in turn tell others.
4. On your patient intake forms, have the questions listed: Would you like to join our health and wellness group on Facebook? If they check 'yes' then email them the sign up link right away so they do not forget. As your patient is leaving after the first appointment, tell them you sent them an invitation to join your group and to please spread the word and tell others about it.
5. Start making 1-2 posts a week to your group wall and encourage your members to interact and get to know one another. Your posts can be inspiring quotes, blog posts, links to articles about acupuncture, YouTube videos, case studies, testimonials, and so on. Share a ton of valuable content. This build trust.
6. When people you do not know join the group, add them as a friend and tell them you're excited to get to know them.
7. Remind your patients on a regular basis to check out your group and to participate there. If they tell you they know someone who is interested in trying your services but is on the fence, have them email an invitation to that person to join your group.
8. Make a few posts on your Facebook wall that you started a group and encourage your Facebook friends to join. Do the same on Twitter.
If you have a big patient base, you should be able to get a couple hundred people into your group pretty quickly. If you do not, this strategy will take some time and you just need to be patient and persistent.
If you want to build your group quickly, you can certainly consider doing some pay advertising on Facebook. When someone on Facebook from your local area mentions a specific keyword like acupuncture or low back pain, you can have your ad pop up on their page with an invitation to join your group. You can often get very cheap clicks on Facebook compared to Google AdWords. Each click through to your group would cost you between .10 and .20 cents.
Remember the 90/10 rule when you are marketing to your group: 90% of your wall posts should be valuable information. 10% of your posts can be for a special you are running in your practice or an invitation to an open house or a public talk you are offering.
ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FEATURES OF YOUR GROUP
Facebook allows you to send private email messages to everyone in your group, which is an amazing feature from a marketing perspective. You can send mass emails to your group members alerting them to something new you have posted to the group wall or to a special you are offering. If you build your group up to 500 people, imagine how powerful it is to be able to email that many people at the push of a button!
I recommend that you email your group every 7-10 days. This will ensure that your group remains a dynamic and growing community on Facebook.
As your group grows, your practice will grow right along with it. You will get more people on Facebook and Google finding your group Your current patients will tell their friends and family to join the group (with a little gentle prompting from you, of course).
There are many other powerful marketing features that Facebook can offer your practice. Just be sure to commit to each your marketing strategies in a consistent and methodical way. That is where you will see incredible results.