Is Facebook Over?

There is a LOT in the news about Facebook this year, and none of it is particularly good.  First, they let us know that if we wanted even our own followers to see our postings, then we were going to have to pay. Then Cambridge Analytica comes along and lets us know that they can easily influence elections using our Facebook data. And that our data is out there a million times over.

So dentists are asking me if they should stop using Facebook, because people are going to be bailing out of the site.  And so my question is, “And go where?”

People have a social media addiction.  They need that dopamine hit all through the day. The average person spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook.  So if they stop using it, are they going to start reading newspapers? Or worse, talking to people at the dinner table?

Or maybe they’ll switch over to Instagram. Well, Facebook owns Instagram.  And Whats App, too.  And Snapchat is losing people much faster than Facebook, and Twitter still can’t find its purpose, except as a national broadcast system for our current president.  LinkedIn?  Great if you’re looking for a business connection. Pinterest?  Not for the dental industry.

The reality is this: most of what’s going on with Facebook has nothing to do with small businesses.  The fact that they are curtailing their merging of outside data sources with their own data doesn’t matter except to large businesses, who spend hundreds of thousands targeting ads to people, and of course to political campaigns. For the rest of us, it’s a slightly different version of business as usual.

People will still use Facebook to connect with their friends, to get the news and to get spending ideas.  Ads will still work. Pages will still use it to learn what it’s like to be a patient in your practice.

Granted, Facebook shows a lot fewer people your posts than ever before. We have to adapt to this by making sure our content is interesting, and incorporating things like auto-responses through Messenger whenever anyone comments or likes a post.  And we’ll have to pay to boost posts. But the audience is still there.

The fact is, 20% of the world’s advertising dollars are spent on Facebook.  They’re not going anywhere. They need to make some major course corrections in terms of privacy of data and a few other things. But they are already moving in that direction.  And they will be forced to by the government if they don’t.

Stay the course. Post interesting videos and photos and contests and events, as well as patient testimonial videos and recommendations and reviews.  Boost popular posts. Test some advertising for implants, or aligners, or implants.  All the stuff I’ve been recommending for years. It will still work. You might just have to buy some more eyeballs, but hey, it’s been a free ride for a long time.

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13 thoughts on “Is Facebook Over?

    • Hi, Omid. Yes, this requires a longer answer. But here is my short opinion, for what it’s worth…

      Having worked with thousands of practices on Facebook strategy, you only have one question to answer as you try to decide how to spend money on Facebook. The question is, “For MY practice, is Facebook going to be used for advertising, OR for social media?” The strategies for each are completely different.

      As Fred says above, if you want the kinds of new patients that come through word of mouth and social media (keepers), then “…post interesting videos and photos and contests and events… and boost posts.” And of course, this requires that you participate a little bit. And DON’T use auto-responses through Messenger. It insults your prospective new patient. Respond personally. Always.

      If you just want the kinds of patients that advertising typically attracts, then spend your money running ads. You don’t have to participate. Just find a company to create and run ads for you—just like companies used to create billboards and yellow page ads—and write them a check. There are hundreds of Facebook ad companies out there who will do this for you. Then, turn on auto-responses through Messenger, and forget about it. Facebook ads work for some practices.

      So, it all comes down to what your objectives are in growing your practice. Are you looking for a long-term, sustained marketing model or a quick shot in the arm. Yes, you can do both if you want. Just recognize that they are very different Facebook strategies. Good luck!

  1. Well said, Fred! Right now, Facebook continues to be, HANDS DOWN, the very best place for dental practices to direct their marketing budgets. Dollar for dollar spent, it is the best value around. The recent hyped headlines in the news don’t have anything to do with the value of Facebook for dental practices. Facebook will continue to evolve. It always has. And that’s a good thing.

  2. Definitely agree with you here, Fred. Yes, there are going to be changes with how the advertisements work, but overall a great place to market your dental business. I believe in trying to have at least two social media links to your practice. Thanks for this great article!

  3. In spite of the changes with Facebook it also opens opportunities for dentists that are focused on growing their practices. Attempting to try to grow your practice via gaining more followers with result in frustration and unnecessary costs. Instead focus on the opportunities with ads that will allow you to align yourself with patients and their needs.

I welcome all your comments!

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