Facebook is absolutely a great place for a dental office to be. But one of the most common questions asked is “how do we get started?” “Do we make a group page, a profile page, or a fan page? What’s the difference anyway?”
Well, we are glad you asked. Hopefully this short article will explain the different types of pages and help you get started.
There are actually three types of pages you can create on Facebook:
- Profiles. A profile is for personal use and the individual user controls it. The easiest way to create any of the other types of pages is to create a profile first and control the others from here.
- Groups. Groups were created to bring Facebook users together that had similar interests. An example would be “I Love The Beatles Group.” This group has tons of members that communicate with each other about the Beatles.
- Fan Pages (often referred to as simply a “page” or a “business page.” These are created to represent businesses, artists, public figures etc.
We have noticed that many of our Madow Facebook friends, fans and followers have been running their dental office page from their Facebook profile. It’s great that you are on Facebook, but unfortunately this is not the way to do it.
We have also noticed that some of you have two personal profiles set up. One for your actual personal life, and one for your dental office. Again, not a good idea at all.
The personal profile page does not give you many of the features that a fan page will. Even if you are using it solely for your office, it is still not the way to go.
Here are the advantages to using a fan page for your dental office as opposed to a personal profile page.
- No Limit to your fan base: Unlike your profile page, which is limited to a maximum of 5,000 friends, with a fan page you’re able to have as many fans as you want. Now you may be saying that 5,000 fans are totally adequate and you’ll never reach that number anyway. OK, that could be true, but you never know what the future will hold. And once you have a profile page with many friends and you want to switch, it will be almost impossible. So start out the right way!
- No barrier to entry: To connect with you on your (personal) profile, friends have to ask you to become your “friend”, where as on a business page they can choose to become a fan on their own accord.
- Viewable outside Facebook: Your dental office page is viewable for users who aren’t signed up with Facebook, your personal profile is not. So what this means is that if you are using a personal page for your dental office, you will invisible to Google. All of the work that you put into your dental page in this case is wasted because you will not come up on any searches.
- Viral growth: When you use a fan page for your dental office as opposed to a profile page, your fans will easily be able to suggest your page to all of their friends with a few clicks of a button. This is one way your base can grow very easily and quickly.
- Fan Pages Have Access to Users’ Feeds
This is probably the single most important feature within the Facebook pages product. Many call this a “Twitter for Facebook.” It’s an accurate description but for those of you that don’t understand what Twitter is, this makes things more confusing. Essentially when Facebook users become a “fan” of your dental office page, they will be notified of your status updates anytime you update the status on your dental page, via the primary news feed on their homepage. So if you send out an update saying something like “20% all whitening during the month of January,” every one of your fans will see this on their news feed! Let’s just say that this is incredibly powerful! And no, this will not happen if you are using a personal profile for your dental practice.
What if you already have a Facebook group or profile?
Maybe you’ve added a bunch of your patients and friends to your personal profile or group, but you want to get started with your new dental office page. The best way to bring your friends who are already “friends” on your profile is to click the “Suggest to Friends” button located under your page’s photo. If you’re trying to bring people from a group, send a direct message out to all of the group members with a link to your new page.
Thanks so much for reading this. There is a good chance that some of this Facebook stuff still may be confusing to you. Yes, some of this can be a little tricky. But once you understand it and get set up properly, you are on your way to many fans on your page. This means new patients and happy patients! As we have been saying, Social Media Marketing is the most powerful thing we have seen in our thirty years of dentistry. Do not let it pass you by!
Here is an actual question that came to us a very short time ago:
I have a question about starting a fan page on Facebook. We have one for Royal Oak Dental, but how do we invite our patients? Do we have to add them to be our Facebook friend first? We are thinking about doing a mass postcard mailing to notify our patients. How do you suggest we go about this? Thanks!
Dr. Thomas Gilbert
Dear Dr. Gilbert,
What a great question! No you do not have to invite your patients to be your friend on your personal page first. Only invite them to be a fan on your office page. You could start very simply by making up a little card to hand to everyone who comes in for an appointment. The card would contain your Facebook fan page address and it would ask your patients to go there to become a fan. But of course you will need to put yourself in the patient’s position. Everyone asks themself “what’s in it for me?” So you can let them know (print it on the card) they’ll get tons of free tips about dental health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Also tell them you will have contests, specials, raffles, etc. Whatever you want! Be creative. Next, send an email to all of your patients asking them to join your fan page telling them this as well. Don’t forget to always give the link or they may not be able to find you. Put a placard at your front desk and in the treatment rooms as well. A postcard mailing is expensive and we are not sure whether it would be worth it alone. But can you combine the Facebook fan page information with some other mailing you are already doing? If so, that may work! Lastly, we would HIGHLY recommend a paid Facebook ad to attract non-patients in your area to become your fans. We believe that is crucial!!! It is not expensive and the return on this investment can be great! Does this help? We are glad you are getting started with Social Media. We cannot emphasize how much of a winner this will be for you if you do it right!
We at The Madow Group are THE Social Media experts for dentists. Please contact us if you have any questions. Our phone number is 1-888-88-MADOW. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS… for ideas, please be sure to check out and become a fan of The Madow Group on Facebook! Click HERE!
PPS… Please consider joining us in Orlando for our Social Media Marketing Summit on December 4 – 5. We have a few seats left and these two days are guaranteed to be two most important days of your life when it comes to making your practice unbelievably profitable! Click HERE for more info!