The number of users on Facebook just topped 1 billion, and yet fewer than 10% of dental practices in this area have a profile on Facebook. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you set up a Facebook Page for your practice. In order to set up a Facebook Page, you must have a personal Facebook profile in place.
-How to Create the Page – From your personal profile, a link to create a page can be found in several places. At the top right, there are click-able links with Your Name, Home, and then a little carrot.
Clicking on the carrot will open up options for you to choose from, of which you would want to choose “Advertise.”
This will bring you to a page that shows all that Facebook offers regarding advertising. You will choose the first option, and click on the link that says “Create a Page.” A direct link to this can also be found at the bottom of your personal page. If, however, you have been active on Facebook for sometime, it may take awhile to scroll all the way down to the footer.
-Create a Page – You should now be in the “Create a Page” area that asks you to choose what type of page you are making. Choose “Local Business or Place. It will ask what type of business, and for our field the only/best option is Health/Medical/Pharmacy. Later, you will be able to specify Dentistry and other keyword descriptions. Here you fill out basic information such as the address and phone number of your practice, a little bit about your business, and your website URL.
-Profile Picture – Next you will be asked to upload a profile picture. If you don’t have this prepared ahead of time, you can skip this step and do it later. For best results, this picture must be 200X200 pixels. Square logos or head shots work best. If you do not use the appropriate size, Facebook will size the picture as needed which could lead to a distorted image.
-Business Description – Next you will be asked to add a description for your business. A couple of sentences or a short paragraph works best. You will also put in the URL of your website, and the categories of your business. Options for categories are limited to what Facebook has in their list. Dental specialties are not listed. “Dentist” is what you will choose.
-Your Page – You are now officially on your page! It may look a little confusing at first. There are basically two parts to the page. There is the Admin Panel, and then below that your actual page.
-The “Admin Panel” is ultimately where you will see:
- Notifications-if anyone has liked your page, commented on a post you did, or posted a comment directly to your “wall.”
- Messages-if anyone has sent you an email through Facebook.
- New Likes-well, just like it says-this is where you will find new likes. Clicking the blue “see all” link will show all of the likes on your page. This is an important link you will return to.
- Insights-Once 30 people like your page, you will be able to see statistics regarding the activity on your page.
- Page Tips-tips from Facebook on how to build your audience.
-Admin Panel Navigation – The tabs at the top of the Admin Panel are very important. This is where you can go to edit the page, and it is also where you can “Hide” the Admin Panel so that you can see what your page looks like to others.
Hover over “Edit Page,” and choose “Update Info.” Here is where you can add more information to your overall profile page, such as your hours of operation, types of parking, etc. You will want to put your website URL in again here. This is the type of information that people will see if the click on the “About” link of your profile.
Other important links under the Edit Page tab are:
- Manage Permissions-this is where you can go to limit your page to certain age groups (which ours is safe for all viewers) and other permissions/restrictions.
- Admin Roles-this is where you can allow someone else to become an Administrator/Manager of your page. So, if you have a staff member that you would like to post to Facebook, you would have that staff person visit the page through their Facebook profile and “like” the page. Then, remember where in the Admin Panel you can view all of the people that like you? Click there, and when you find the “like” of the person you want, you choose “Make Admin.” You will then be asked to enter your password to confirm that you want them to become a manager of the page. Do not worry, they cannot view your personal profile page, and vice versa.
- Manage Notifications-this is where you can set up how and if you want to be notified via email if anyone likes your page, or comments on your page. I recommend that you do get notifications, so that you do not miss an opportunity to interact with someone. This is another good reason to have a trusted staff member involved with your Facebook page to help monitor this, and defer to you if someone asks a technical question. Within this tab, you should also make sure when you are posting as your page and not as your personal profile.
-Page Profile – Your “Page” itself ultimately requires 2 pictures. The first was the profile picture from earlier, that if you skipped, you can put in now. Again, this should be sized at 200X200. The second picture is the Timeline Cover Photo. This photo must be sized at 851X315 pixels. If you upload something that is not this size, your image may become blurry and distorted. A great online, free program that you can use to size pictures is www.picmonkey.com. Below is a screenshot of what my cover photo and profile picture look like. When you hover over those areas, it will pop up a link to “Edit Profile Picture,” or “Edit Cover Photo.” Clicking there will take you to an upload screen for that particular image.
Good images to consider for your cover photo can be either images from your office, or local landscapes that are well known to the area and would be recognizable to visitors.
-When Your Practice Opened – Another important element for your profile page is when your office was opened. As you scroll down the page, you will see when you joined Facebook, and below that, “When was this opened.”
In the top right of this box, an edit icon will appear where you can fill in the necessary information and description for the opening of your practice. Putting a photo in at this point is optional. The photo for this section is considered a “milestone” size photo, which would be 843X403 pixels. However, using approximately the same size as your cover photo does work. Remember, this picture is optional. Putting in this information is important for posting status updates, particularly if you want to schedule a post into the future (or the past). If you do not set this up now, you will have to if you ever try to schedule something out, and the information you put into schedule will be lost and you will have to put it in all over again.
-Posting Status Updates – With everything in place, you are now ready to post something to your wall! Posts can be links to helpful information that you have found on the internet, things happening in your practice, interesting things happening in your area or links to your blog (if you have one.) You generally want to keep your content on Facebook fun and interesting. Things that bother people who are following your page, and could cause them to “unlike” you would be posting about political or religious beliefs, posting too often (more than 1-2 times per day) and posting too often about what you are “selling.”
- You can just start typing something into post. You can always add a link, which should bring up a thumbnail image and description from where the link comes from. Using a link shortener is recommended. http://bit.ly allows you to quickly shorten links.
- Photos-Images are very important to your posts. If you want a photo in your post, you must click the Photo/Video link first before you type in any text. The picture itself will show in at a size of 403X403, but you can put in images of larger sizes, or images that are not square. Though only a portion of the picture may show (which you can later edit and move if needed), if the picture is clicked on, it will enlarge to the full sized view. Also, in a person’s profile news feed, they may very well see the full image, but if they went directly to their page, they will just see that size.
- Videos-you can also post links to videos that you may find relevant to your practice.
- Event, Milestone-You can post an important event that may be happening in your practice (an Open House for example) that you can invite all of your followers (or specific ones) to attend. You can also put in Milestone events, much like when you filled out the information on when your practice opened. Remember, these pictures are very wide and fill up across the entire page, so make sure that they are visually compelling and sized appropriately.
-Getting Some Likes – The best way to begin getting likes for your page is to ask the people from your personal profile to like it, as well as any close friends or family members, or staff members on Facebook to also request some likes. Assuming you are already somewhat active on Facebook, switch back to using your personal page in the top right corner. While on your personal page, search for your business page. Once there, hover over the icon next to the “Like (or Liked)” tab.
From here, click on “Share.”
You can write something such as “Please like our new business page,” or simply just hit the share page button, and the description of your page will go out to all of your Facebook friends. Also, feel free to “Like” other businesses as well, and you may get a Like right back.
-Feed Navigation – At the top right of your page, clicking on the Home button takes you to the newsfeed for all the businesses that you like. Through the news feed, you can comment on or share others content, just as you can on your personal Facebook news feed.
Clicking on your own page name in the top right corner takes back to your own main page, which will show only your feed.
In closing, Facebook can be a fun and easy way to connect with your patients, local businesses and potential patients. It shows the community that you and your staff are real people who want to provide care to the public. Facebook gives others that opportunity to get to know you on a platform they likely spend time on daily, making their visit to your office a more comforting experience.
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