By now you’ve heard our views on the need for your practice to have its own Facebook page. It’s a great way to really engage with your patients (and potential patients) outside of your office, plus it’s free. Of course, the time spent making posts on your page isn’t free, but it’s oh so worth it.

Here are some friendly ways to get the most out of your practice’s Facebook page.

Make it complete

Make your practice‘s Facebook page full. Put in pictures of your offices and your staff. Show some of your newest equipment. Be sure to include your hours, various contact options, and a link to your website.

Post on it regularly

The only reason to have a practice Facebook page is to use it to engage with your patients and potential patients. To do that you need to show them your page is active and worth visiting regularly. Decide how often you want to make new posts, maybe once or twice a week. Don’t overpost — that can bug people and make them unlike/unfollow you.

Strive for quality, rather than mindless quantity. If you have a new piece of equipment, you could even promote a brief Facebook Live event to your followers for a first look at the new technology.

Once you make a post, pay attention to it. When visitors comment on a post rather than simply liking it that means it was more successful. How do you know? They had to take the time to think about and type a comment; that takes far more effort than simply clicking the heart. What types of posts get the best response? Make more of those posts going forward.

Make every post with an eye toward engagement: brief surveys are fun for visitors, photo caption contests of staff members, links to relevant stories, those kinds of things.

Use it to find out about your visitors

Once you have some people who have liked, followed, and visited your page, check the stats on them. The Audience Insight tools tell you more information about your visitors than you would think. If your visitors skew to a certain age group, target posts that fit their interests.

Sharing means caring

OK, this isn’t the Care Bears. But posting content that visitors share with others is the path to more people following and liking your page. And those people are all potential new patients. If you make a post about a new procedure that is offered in your area only at your practice, your current patients are likely to share that with their friends who may then become future patients.

Respond to their responses

If a visitor to your page posts a comment, it deserves a reply from you. That can seem tedious and isn’t always necessary, but it usually is a good idea. It shows the visitor that you’re engaged with them and paying attention.

Of course, if a gripe or complaint is posted on your Facebook page, it should be addressed immediately. If it is something easily fixable, offer the fix. If it is more complicated, respond to show you acknowledge the problem and then offer to talk with the person on the phone or in a direct email.

Show you’re a member of the community

Also use your Facebook page to show you’re a part of the community. Is there a festival this weekend down at the pier? Post about it with a link to the event’s webpage. News of an upcoming food drive? Post it. Go beyond the immediate practice subject matter from time to time to show you’re an engaged part of the community.

Post about specials

Have a holiday special procedure? Put it up on your Facebook page. Better yet, put it up with a caption contest attached to it. Then give the winner of the caption contest your special for free.

The key is activity

Your practice Facebook page can seem like an ongoing monster chewing up content day after day, but you can’t think of it like that. You need to think of it as one of your employees, interacting with your patients and potential patients. Think of it as a window into the personality of your practice, one that makes patients feel more attached and comfortable with your practice, one that fosters and reinforces long-term relationships. That kind of engagement is priceless and on Facebook it’s actually free.

Do you have questions about how your practice can better use its Facebook page? Contact your MyAdvice representative; he or she will be all ears.

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