Graph Search Makes Facebook Critical for Dentists

When people are searching for a new dentist online, they typically go to three different places to check you out: your website, review sites like Yelp, and social media, mostly Facebook.  A big change to Facebook now makes this third part significantly easier. Last week, the long anticipated Graph Search on Facebook was officially launched.

For those of you who don’t know what this is, I’ll explain.Graph search main info Facebook used to be very hard to search. For example, if you wanted to know if any of your friends knew a good Polish restaurant in Manhattan, you essentially had to go to each friend’s profile and look through their “likes”. Or you posted a request on your wall and hoped people answered.

Now Facebook works just like Google, with some interesting variations. You can search for anything: photos of the Grand Canyon, restaurants in Duluth, or videos of narwhals, and it will show you what your friends have posted. And, as you enter your search request, it offers suggestions.

See all the choices it offers?

See all the choices it offers?

So now, anyone can find anything any friend ever posted (unless they block Graph Search). That’s a big deal. If you don’t think so, keep in mind that 70% of the US population now uses social media, and with 18-34 year-olds, 48% of them check Facebook when they wake up!

This also shifts your Facebook strategy (if you have one) from posting on a regular basis to a different type of engagement with your patients. Now it’s what they post that matters.

This is what the results will look like, depending on the search criteria.

Graph Search dentists visited
Now they can click on your page and see everything patients and you have put on your wall, and how many patients like your practice.

This should be your new Facebook strategy:

  1. Ask patients to “check in” on Facebook when they come to your office. They can do this on their smartphones. Many of them already do this everywhere they go.
  2. It’s more critical than ever to have patients “like” your Facebook practice page.
  3. Ask patients to post on Facebook while they are in the office, and if they want, post a photo or make a video recommending you.
  4. Your own posts are still very important to show the personal side of your practice. Click here for my blog on what to post.

Sound like a lot?  You’re only asking them to do what many Facebook users already do on a regular basis with all the businesses they use.  You’re just reminding them.  This will also, in time, make advertising on Facebook much more effective for dental practices. I’ll let you know when I think that’s a viable option, and how to best go about it.  But for now, get social!


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