Social advertising, on platforms including Facebook, generates a first touch, or the beginning of an online relationship with your prospective patient.
You might not automatically see a prospect book an appointment with you when they see one of your social media ads, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have great value.
Take an urgent care facility that advertises on social: Very few prospects will book an appointment through their social feed because they probably don’t need care while scrolling through Facebook. If they need urgent care, they will likely Google a facility or go straight to a website. Usually, a Facebook Ad doesn’t drive an immediate appointment.
However, an urgent care facility is much more likely to get visits if it has engaged its target audience on Facebook before they need care. If prospects have seen its Facebook ads, they’ll book with the facility when they’re hurt or sick.
At its core, social media is a relationship-building tool. It may take time to see results (such as an appointment booked), but the effort is worth it.
Let’s take a closer look at how social advertising works.
You’ve probably seen many different types of ads on Facebook; they’re interwoven in your newsfeed or in the right sidebar. Ads often look like organic content, except for a subtle note that it’s a ‘Sponsored Post.’
They usually offer a call-to-action to purchase a product, ‘like’ a Facebook page, or sign up to receive a newsletter.
The most important step when starting a Facebook campaign is to be clear on what you trying to accomplish. This way, your ads will align with your marketing goals.
For instance, are you a new practice trying to increase awareness? An established practice seeking to attract new or younger patients? Are you introducing a new service that you want to entice people to sign up for?
Facebook has robust audience targeting tools. For example, if you’re a chiropractor, your ad can be laser-targeted to men and women ages 40-65 in your surrounding three zip codes who have a college education. If you are a dentist introducing advanced teeth-whitening services, you might advertise a discount to women aged 25-35 within your county who earn at least $75,000 and are engaged to be married.
I love Facebook ads because you can attract a large audience with a great degree of specificity and tracking capabilities.
If you move forward with a Facebook ad campaign, write and design an engaging ad.
Those that perform well are 1) visually appealing, 2) relevant to your audience, 3) clear in the benefits offered, and 4) include a call-to-action such as ‘Book an Appointment’ or ‘Download This Ebook.’
Try multiple versions of your message to avoid the “ad fatigue” that could keep users scrolling past your Facebook ad.
Facebook actually guides you through setting up ads and lets you select a single or multiple images per ad, and even video. You can place the ad on the user’s desktop news feed, right side, or in the mobile news feed. You can direct people to a particular page on your site, promote your Facebook business page, or gather leads with a signup form. Each ad you design will be accompanied by a maximum per-click or per-impression (viewership) budget that you can select, which lets you control your spending down to the penny.
The options with Facebook advertising are robust, so take time to experiment with formats, wording and calls-to-action. The platform does a great job of explaining each option and providing video for further clarification.
Selection criteria for targeting your ad offer thousands of possibilities.
Everything you do on Facebook can and should be measured and evaluated. Facebook includes comprehensive reporting tools that allow you to see how much you spent in a given time period, what percentage of people clicked on your call-to-action, what each click-through costs you, and more.
Review each ad to evaluate whether it’s enticing or targeted enough to generate the desired percentage of clicks and conversions. If your conversion rate is not where you want it to be, keep on testing to achieve a better result by changing wording or images.
If you generate plenty of clicks but not conversions, try a different call to action. Also, your target demographic may be too broad, and you need to target a more specific audience.
All of your actions on Facebook should be deliberate—text, images and offers should be tested and changed, one variable at a time—to find the winning combinations. Never assume that because an ad was effective for the first few days that it will continue to perform. Always test, retest and evaluate.
Adding Facebook ads to your online marketing strategy boosts your online visibility, and helps you build relationships with your prospective patients. Again, you may not see the ultimate conversion directly through your ads, but you can make an impression.
And if you don’t have the time to create and experiment with Facebook ads, you can always outsource. PatientPop and other qualified professionals that specialize in this type of advertising for medical practices allow you to reap the rewards without a huge time investment on your part.
See how your practice appears online, instantly and for free.