There has been a huge cry of angst and anger directed at Facebook due to small businesses (actually, the larger Facebook pages are hit even harder) seeing fewer and fewer of their posts reaching their members.
While some of the vitriol is warranted, Facebook DID push everyone to ‘buy’ as many likes to their pages as possible even though they could probably see this issue I’m going to speak about looming on the horizon. They, however; are not totally to blame here.
Since February 2012 when a FanPage could reach approximately 16% of their fan base with a post, to recently (Mar 2014) we could expect to reach about 6.5% of our fan base we are fighting to be heard in a constantly louder environment. See Post Here For More Specific Details
What does this mean for your Dental Office? Let’s assume you have 300 fans on your page. Two years ago each post (assuming relevant, interesting etc.) would net you a reach of about 50 people before it depended upon viral-ability to really push it along. Now, you have to make do and capture the interest of about 20 people.
Or, as Facebook now encourages, you can pay to push your post out to more of your fan base which is why everyone is so upset.
Most companies are complaining that they already spent money to get them in the first place, now they have to pay a toll to reach them when they post?
Well, yes. That is if your post(s) are pretty poor (not interesting, not relevant etc.) you have to pay to get the message (poor as it is) out. This goes doubly for what are essentially sales posts. So, consider it a cost of sending ads out.
The main issue here is that over the last couple of years, people on Facebook have been ‘liking’ more pages, so now they have more pages which send them content. However; how many posts they read through their timeline didn’t double. So, in order for Facebook to be relevant to people (and not make them feel they are reading from a firehose) Facebook tweaks what they call the News Feed Algorithm to keep those posts interesting and people reading Facebook.
If they don’t read Facebook, they will read Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so on. Just one of the reasons Facebook purchased Instagram in the first place. If someone is taking the readerships eyes, you compete or buy. Facebook has done pretty poor with building similar functionality into their product (see their Twitter clone) so purchasing Instagram was the preferred choice. They recently purchased WhatsApp (a big world-wide play) as well.
What Can I Do About It?
First, realize this isn’t all Facebook trying to get your money. Some of it is, sure. However; we have become accustomed to trying to game the system for free advertisement. As long as your plan is to use time instead of advertising spend, you will be on this bus for the foreseeable future. MySpace a few years ago, then Facebook and some of you are trying Pinterest and other social tools.
However; at the end of the day the main takeaway is to deliver interesting and relevant content. You need to think of it as ‘benefits based outreach’ which may have little to do with a service or product you offer.
Remember, just because you find a new tool or service you provide interesting, there is a significantly small group of your clients who will find it to be the same. However; there is a REASON you are purchasing the new machine, providing the new product or introducing the new service. Reach out to your clients and leads and explain the new benefits to them.
For example: There are bleaching kits available at the local store. Why is the bleaching you provide better? Typically, the answer is whiter teeth in a shorter time for less pain. It would be harder to say ‘more convenient’ as coming into the dentists to get this done is NOT considered convenient to most any normal consumers.
However; there are other items to compensate for this. I would suggest playing up the fact that as a dentist, you are a smile coach. Few people like to work out, however; they pay people to help them go through the pain twice a week. Sometimes for up to $700 or more a month. (Yes, I bought one of these 10 pack deals one time for the special price of $500. I missed two lessons which I had to pay for and felt that they were a constant stress to deal with but I wanted the results and the knowledge they provided).
With The 8 Secrets Of Smiling, people find out how many huge benefits just the effort of smiling provides and some are so afraid of showing their (non) pearly whites or scary teeth that they fail to gain these FREE benefits. You, however; are the personal life coach and can provide the ability to learn about the benefits (free) and if they want to perhaps gain an edge with an effervescent and healthy smile you can help them accomplish this in their life.
Think about your content. It needs to be about them, not you. When you provide the right, benefits based content it becomes about you caring enough to help them no matter what. And the karma, as they say, comes back to you with new clients who appreciate what you do for them. Even when what you do is painful, expensive and a little bit scary.
Then, when your office staff provide the ‘action plan’ at the end of their visit, it isn’t viewed as a blatant attempt to grab more money, but a considered approach to get them to a beneficial state in life.