Facebook recently rolled out a change to local business pages that will impact medical practice marketing. A new Yes/No Recommendations feature has replaced the previous five-star rating system, effectively simplifying the process for users. It’s too soon to see an effect just yet, but Adweek predicts businesses will benefit from this change to Facebook local business pages.
The shift might cause a bit of confusion at first, but the reasons healthcare practices use Facebook for business — build a platform as an industry expert, promote services, and better engage with patients — won’t change. Read on to learn more about Facebook Recommendations and what they’ll mean for your practice.
Facebook 101: A guide to getting started for healthcare practices
How Facebook Recommendations work
Allowing patients to review your practice on Facebook isn’t a new feature. Under the previous practice marketing strategy, patients were asked to rate your business on Facebook using a five-star scale and include a written review with their rating.
The new Facebook feature simply asks “Do you recommend (business name)?” Patients’ Yes/No response then prompts them to comment on what they recommend about your practice or how your practice could improve.
Adweek suggests this new Facebook feature will result in more reviews because it can be confusing for customers to decide between star ratings on Facebook. The publication also states it will increase Facebook engagement, because not having to rate an experience will give patients more time to write insightful commentary.
Read: The importance of online reviews for healthcare practices
A way to enhance the Facebook Recommendations process, rich endorsements will allow patients to explain their thoughts on your practice with tags, text, and photos. This Facebook feature is currently only available to restaurants and coffee shops, according to Bright Local, but is expected to reach other industries.
When Facebook Recommendations rolled out to the healthcare industry, patients will be able to choose from suggested tags to describe your practice. This can boost your medical practice marketing strategy by promoting key attributes about your business on Facebook.
Recognizing the detrimental impact of fraudulent reviews, Facebook has also made it easier to report fraudulent, spam, and paid Recommendations content. As the owner of your practice Facebook page, you will be able to report irrelevant and/or unfair Recommendations, nudity, violence, harassment, suicide or self-injury, spam, drugs, and hate speech, according to Bright Local.
Inaccurate Recommendations can wreak havoc on your practice reputation, so this feature seems like a great way to stay in control of your brand.
Check out: Can healthcare providers sue over negative reviews? How to handle online criticism
What happens to Facebook reviews?
If you’ve recently checked your practice’s Facebook page, you probably noticed the star rating is still there. Although patients no longer rate your practice on Facebook, a star rating will remain on your Facebook page. The ranking is now based on a mix of new Recommendations and previously-assigned stars.
At present, both reviews and their accompanying star ratings also still appear on your practice’s Facebook page. Facebook hasn’t shared if these will eventually disappear or if they’re grandfathered in. At present, Facebook hasn’t opened its Recommendations feature up to API, but if reviews are completely disabled, businesses will probably be in a rush to make up for the lost reviews.
Facebook Recommendations will likely bring something new to your practice’s Facebook page, but it’s too soon to know what to expect. If you’re feeling confused, don’t panic. Things change quickly in medical practice marketing, but you’re not alone. PatientPop customers should know our team is closely monitoring the new Facebook Recommendations. Count on us to always have our finger on the pulse of the latest social media trends, so you can focus on patient care.
Thinking of adding social media to your medical practice marketing strategy? Get information about the PatientPop social media service on this webpage.