Remember when you set up your veterinary practice’s Facebook page? Maybe, like many practices, someone occasionally posts an update about the hospital or adds a photo. But you are now wondering, where are all the comments, likes and shares you thought would happen, not to mention the new business and referrals you expected to come naturally?
Here are four reasons your Facebook page may not be part of the social media conversation, and what you can do to breathe new life into it.
Problem #1: No one is manning the ship…so it’s sinking.
Rule number one is that you have to post fresh messages to your Facebook page on a consistent basis and respond to comments and direct messages that people leave on your Facebook page. This is what social media experts term “engagement” (think: interaction). You have to show your commitment to being a part of the Facebook world before followers will engage with your page.
Solution: Assign a staff member the responsibility of posting content and responding to comments at least three times a week. You can use a free content scheduling app like Hootsuite or Bufferapp to create your posts ahead of time and then schedule them to “go live” on certain days and times. As for responding to comments or direct messages that appear on your page? In your page’s settings, you can adjust the notifications to receive an emailed alert every time someone comments or sends you a direct message. You should respond to comments within 24 hours to 48 hours max. (For tips about how to respond to negative social media comments or online reviews, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post.)
Problem #2: You don’t know how to grow your audience.
Yep, it’s a classic mistake. Around here we call it the if-you-build-it-they-will-come syndrome. Even if you’ve posted regular updates and filled your Facebook page with compelling content (download our Veterinary Newsletter Content Cheat Sheet — it works for social media, too!), you still have to spread the word that you’re on the platform and want to connect with people there.
Solution: Make sure you add the Facebook icon to your website and link it to your Facebook page. Another super-important step is running a Facebook advertising campaign – your Facebook page won’t reach many people without it. Plus, you can target people who follow local Facebook pet pages and get in front of potential new clients.
Problem #3: Your cover photo needs a makeover.
Similar to entering your hospital’s lobby, the big, horizontal image at the top of your Facebook page is the first impression clients receive of your practice. Does it look like your teenage nephew threw it up there –all stretched out, blurry with parts cut off? Or maybe you’re using one of the standard backgrounds Facebook offers. Boring. You want something that shows professionalism with heart. And every so often, the image should be updated to keep your page looking interesting and active.
Solution: You can find stock images for purchase on sites like istockphoto.com and stock.adobe.com, or other sites that offer free image libraries. Then, upload those photos to your Facebook page by hovering over the cover photo and clicking on the white camera icon that appears on the upper left side. Once you upload your new photo use your mouse to move the photo up or down and, when you’re happy with it, click save.
Problem #4: Facebook changes all the time.
Facebook regularly updates its algorithm – the mechanism used to determine which posts will show up in people’s news feeds (the first thing someone sees when they log into Facebook) – which affects how many people actually see your page updates. For example, it used to be that posts with photos received a higher number of views because Facebook, through its algorithm, placed those posts in a higher volume of news feeds or homepages. Now, Facebook is placing a greater emphasis on video posts. That means posts that contain video are more likely to be seen by a greater number of your followers. The platform also routinely updates its advertising requirements and ways to target users through its advertising program.
Solution: Make sure the staff member managing your social media strategy is following the latest social media marketing trade publications and newsletters. You can be among the first to know about Facebook updates by attending the Social Media Marketing World convention in 2017. Or, ask us. We live and breathe social media, and we offer a variety of different social media management and engagement packages for veterinary practices like yours.
Want a FREE Facebook Page Analysis?
Let us take a look at your page today to identify areas that need attention and call out the great things we see too. Click here, or contact Liz Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a complimentary review.