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.