Why Facebook? Social media and your practice
By mindZplay Solutions Staff
By mindZplay Solutions Staff
When starting with social media the first thing you need to do is choose, then focus on a single platform. Facebook and Twitter are very different tools, we do not recommend trying to learn both at the same time. Twitter alone can be a challenge and may not be the right fit for every practice. This article will concentrate on Facebook – our next article will discuss Twitter, so please stay tuned.
Whatever platform you choose, doing well with social media takes time and effort on your part. You must be willing to invest yourself in the process. A poor social presence can be more harmful to you than not having one at all. If you do not wish to waste your efforts, be sure you are willing to devote the time.
Today we will focus on how to improve your organic (unpaid) reach on Facebook. You will want to get to know the platform and how it works, well before considering buying ads. Even if you have the budget for ads, organic reach is important as paid ads are more effective when you have a solid social presence from which to build.
Facebook has its own culture you will need to get familiar with. It is easy enough to pick up, but there are many mistakes you can make if you are not careful. Posting too much commercial content, for example, is a common pitfall. Imagine if the host at an open house walked up to you and began speaking as if they were part of an infomercial. Odds are, you would immediately lose interest and look for the nearest exit. If you are making an obvious sales pitch in every post, this is a big turn-off for your followers. Rather than bombarding them with special offers, focus on getting followers to engage with you. Think of Facebook as a place to connect with your clients and potential clients rather than sell to them.
You are not on Facebook to advertise in the traditional sense. You are there to make yourself and your business a familiar presence in your clients’ minds. You want them to feel confident with your expertise. Be genuine. Worry less about the message you want to put out there, and more about the type of responses you wish to receive. On Facebook as on most social media platforms, it is responses that drive success.
No one can like, share, or comment on your posts if they cannot see them. Thus, a basic understanding of how the Facebook newsfeed works is important. The newsfeed is where a user views all the posts from the people, pages, and groups that they follow. This collection of posts is very different from the timeline of your business page. On your business page, posts are arranged in chronological order. The newsfeed, where most users on Facebook spend their time, is different. Facebook uses an “algorithm” that determines the order posts appear in the newsfeed.
This may sound mysterious, but it is easy to understand when broken into less technical terms. At a basic level, an “algorithm” is a set of rules no more complex to follow than those of a children’s card game. If you have ever played “Go Fish” you can understand the idea of rules. They define both how to play the game, as well as what the goals are.
Facebook has a simple goal: To engage its audience. The point of the “algorithm” is to ensure that the content users see keeps them on Facebook for as long as possible. If users are not interacting with your content, they will begin to see less of it. This happens even if they have already “liked” your business page.
Getting clients to engage with you will expand your reach beyond the people who have “liked” your page. When a Facebook user “shares” your post, that post will show up in the feeds of all their friends and family. Comments work similarly. Even if you do not follow a page yourself, you may see that page’s posts if a friend has commented on them. Your goal is to have people “like,” comment on, and share your content to expand your reach and ultimately grow your practice.
It may be easy to encourage “likes” on Facebook, but they provide less benefit to you in the long run. Facebook attaches less worth to “likes” than it does to shares and comments. The main reason for this is that shares and comments tend to provoke further interaction – which is what Facebook wants.
Good content is both interesting and easily digested. The more complicated your message, the more important it is to include a visual element. When possible, reserve text-only posts for messages that are short and sweet. Studies have shown that visual content is more engaging than text alone. Text posts have many good uses, but sometimes people need more motivation to stop and read. Imagine scrolling through Facebook and you see a photo or video of a large man in a red suit. It takes only milliseconds to recognize an image of Santa Claus and know that the post has something to do with Christmas. Images can communicate complex ideas much faster than you can read even this short sentence. Smartphones have made it easier than ever for people to produce photo and video content. Varying your content types will help you to quickly communicate messages and keep people engaged!
Photos have thousands of uses. They can be beautiful, educational, or even inspiring. It is good to add images to your posts anytime they are relevant, but variety is important. Facebook wants to present users with a variety of content across all types.
Consider adding even more variety with posts that are not about your clinic at all. Break up the usual clinic updates by sharing motivational quotes. You can invite your followers to share their favourites in the comments! Questions are another great way to get people engaged. People love to share stories and offer opinions – this is what social media is all about. Plus, your audience can provide you with all kinds of valuable marketing intelligence. The great thing about social media is that you can not only post up useful information, you can also ask your audience to share their questions and comments about your practice.
Video can also do a lot for you. Facebook Live is a great vehicle for Q&A sessions. Pre-recorded video works well for demonstrations and communicating more complex ideas. Experiment with your video length to find what your audience responds to best. Keep in mind that on Facebook, video will auto-play with the sound off by default. This means people are more likely to stop if they can understand the message without sound. If you want people to watch a video all the way through, consider adding captions or subtitles. Three- to five-minute videos are a good place to start.
Focus on providing value to the people who follow you. Remember, social media is about being social. This means your posts need to be about more than just you and your business. Content that is useful, entertaining, or insightful all provides value. Promotions and special offers do have their place, but they cannot be all that you post. There are long-term benefits to becoming known for providing valuable content. Providing value through social media extends your reach and increases client loyalty – two of the key elements to expanding your clientele and building a strong, successful business.
mindZplay Solutions Inc. a provider of massage therapy websites and practice management solutions. To learn more, visit massagemanedger.com.