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November, 2012

Use Facebook to Get New Patient Referrals

By Glenn Lombardi

It seems that more and more, healthcare providers are utilizing Facebook as a tool to provide a level of engagement with patients that previously did not exist. With more than 500 million active users logging into this popular social channel every day, the opportunities to connect and engage with new patients are ever growing.

Word-of-mouth has always been the most trusted, effective form of referral marketing for chiropractors. People will always rely on the opinions of other patients for recommendations concerning their health, and Facebook amplifies this 1 to 1 phenomenon, offering chiropractors the ability to instantly get their practice in front of hundreds, if not thousands of new patients.

Facebook "Like": It's Viral

facebook - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The popular thumbs up Like symbol is commonly found on websites, flyers and blogs, just to name a few. A seemingly simple concept, the Facebook Like button is an important tool that can be used to grow your Facebook following and referral network.

From the moment a patient Likes your Facebook Page to become a Fan, every piece of content you share on your Page will be published onto the patient's (Fan's) newsfeed. Not only is the Fan seeing what you posted, but also potentially hundreds of other people are exposed that otherwise wouldn't have been. The average Facebook user has about 130 friends, some many more. If you get just 20 patients to Like your new Facebook Page, all of a sudden there are 2,600 people who could potentially be getting to know your practice better!

When a patient Likes your Page, you also have the opportunity to make repeated impressions on him or her. The patient will be notified of new updates, special promotions, photos, or whatever type of content your practice deems relevant to contribute to the Page. More so, every single interaction the patient makes with your Page—from liking a post or making a comment—will be visible to all of the patient's Facebook contacts. The simple act of clicking Like opens an invaluable window of marketing opportunity for your practice, not only between the chiropractor and the patient – but also between the practice and more than 100 other of the patient's contacts.

Getting started with an effective Facebook Page for your practice can be challenging. Where do you start, and how can you nurture an engaging social presence? Here are a few tips for maximizing the impact of your Facebook strategy.

Establish Your Network

After you've created your Page, the first step to a successful social media presence is getting people to Like your Page. A quick and easy way to start growing your Fan base is to leverage your existing patients and staff. Those already using Facebook, which a majority of your patients and staff are, will be happy to Like your Page—just ask!

Let patients know about your Facebook presence by placing a sign at the front desk in your office. Alert staff to remind patients about your Page and the benefits of following your practice on Facebook for important news updates, patient education and exclusive promotions. Similarly, you should communicate your Facebook presence by including social sharing buttons on the homepage of your website which link directly to your Facebook Page. Your Facebook URL should also be included on any other marketing materials such as brochures, newsletters or emails.

Have a Strategy

Social media requires you to be just that—social. Without a carefully, thought-out plan it's easy to be overwhelmed by Facebook and fall off course. If you aren't contributing consistent, quality content to your Page, your Fans will not be engaged, and you will not be growing your network.

Appoint one member of your office to administer all Facebook activity. Whether it's you or a staff member, one person should be the gatekeeper for any and all posts, comments or other interactions that occur on your page to ensure all of your messaging being distributed is consistent, accurate and in line with your marketing goals.

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