Category Archives: facebook

friends

Separating Facebook into Professional Friends and Real-life Friends – How to do it and why you Should

Problem

You have lots of friends on Facebook, some of them real-life friends and some of them Facebook only friends.  You may recognise some of these issues:

  • You log into Facebook to relax during some downtime after work, all you see are work related posts from work related ‘friends’.
  • Patients are asking you to be friends  and you don’t really know what to do or how to handle it.
  • You are constantly aware that when you do a business status update that your personal friends and family see these updates and you are worried that you might be annoying them. They could stop following you and not see your posts, but then they won’t see your family related posts either!
  • You want to make more personal updates on Facebook but don’t really want some of your business associates, that you don’t really know, seeing them.
  • You want to balance work and home life and find that Facebook is a mixed blur of the two and that the balance is becoming compromised.
  • You are aware that there are three personas under which you may interact on Facebook and don’t know how to manage this-
    • 1) As a real-life person Interacting with real life friends and family e.g. Joe Blogs
    • 2) As a business person interacting with patients, the media or other local businesses e.g. Dr Joe Blogs
    • 3) As your business on Facebook interacting as a group of dental professionals with patients e.g. Joe Blogs Dental Practice Ltd
  • You want to check in to various restaurants and places of interest, but because you don’t really know who these people are that our friends you are worried that these so-called friends may find out you are not at home! A possible security breach.

I’m sure there are many solutions to this problem, but if you are a friend of mine on Facebook (either personal or business) then you may know that I have just been through the process of separating out friends I actually know and friends I only know on Facebook.

There are some massive benefits, other than solving the problems above, to separating out your Facebook account the way that I described below, follow my process and then see what other surprising benefits I’ve uncovered.

Oh, and not everyone might take kindly to being removed as a personal friend, one of mine didn’t (Which actually proved my point that they weren’t proper friends in the first place)… I’ve blanked out the name but check out the message they sent me towards the end of this post!

Separating real-life friends from business friends on Facebook

Step 1 – Decide on the Criteria

If you’re going to separate out real-life friends from business trends decide what the criteria for this separation is going to be. Is your personal Facebook account going to only be for personal friends and family? Or,  are you going to include people that you have met in person but may also be linked to business and work?

What I did

I decided that anyone that I have personally met and been introduced to is allowed to be a personal friend of my personal account on Facebook. In the past I allowed anyone that sent me a friend request on Facebook to become a friend, I therefore had many people as friends whom I had never actually met and didn’t really know as a real person..

My criteria was therefore, if I have looked the person in the eye in real life (and like them) then that person can be a personal friend on my personal account on Facebook.

If someone is a friend on Facebook  and I have not looked them in the eye then chances are they are a business acquaintance.

Step 2 – Create a Public Figure

Artist, band or public figureGo to the page creation section on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and click on ” artist, band or public figure”,  follow Facebook’s instructions and create your personal persona e.g. Dr Joe Blogs.

What I did

I actually had an older business page called “Mark Oborn Ltd”, This was a local business page on Facebook, I simply changed it to a public figure.

The public figure page I created uses the name @markobornprofessional https://www.facebook.com/markobornprofessional You could set your public figure up as @DrJoeBloggs or @JoeBloggsProfessional.

When you create your public figure page make sure you include a little bit of personal information about you as well is what you do in business life. Use this in the description of the page, by way of example my description is “The professional page of Mark Oborn, online marketing consultant, coffee fiend, hat wearer and foodie.

Step 3 – Tell your personal account friends what you are doing

You then need to let your personal account friends know that you have created a new Public Figure page, do this by creating a status update NOT by sending lots of personal messages, if you send lots of personal direct messages you may find your Facebook account gets blocked for spam abuse (this is from personal experience, I sent lots of messages initially and had a notification from Facebook that I might get banned… be warned!).

What I did

My first status update was:

It’s time to sort out my Facebook account.

Using Facebook for business has changed over the years, I’ve so many ‘friends’ on Facebook that I don’t know in person, this is historical to the way Facebook was in the early days. I’m not sure I’m happy with that!

If I ‘check in’ to a place, do I really want people I don’t know being notified of that? Not really!

Do my personal friends really want to see my professional stuff? Not really! And if they do I’d rather they had a choice!

There are a few ways around this dilemma, I could set up ‘friend lists’ and show posts to only 1 set of friends, but I’ve decided on an alternative, an alternative that I will be advising clients to adopt, and if that’s my advice to them, then I better do the same thing myself.

Over the next few months, my personal Facebook account will be slowly reduced to “real life friends” only and used as a genuine personal Facebook account, rather than the current blend of personal and professional as it is now.

For current Facebook ‘friends’ that I don’t really know as a real life friend I’ve set up a Mark Oborn Professional page.

There will be cross over, but ‘real life friends’ can then chose if they want to see my ‘professional’ stuff too. I’ll welcome anyone that wants to follow my professional page without question and all posts will be public.

And so, I will be ‘unfriending’ lots of people over the coming months, this is not “I am not your friend any more”, it is simply that we’re actually professional friends and so the best way to chat, laugh and be friends with you will be via my professional profile.

That is, after all what you get to see when I’m in work mode, the Professional Mark Oborn.

The Professional Profile will simply be my usual mix of hats, beer, coffee, random rambling posts and stuff related to dentistry. I’ll NOT be using it as a marketing channel!

I hope/know you will understand 🙂

All the best,

Mark Oborn (either Personal of Professional)

https://www.facebook.com/markobornprofessional

and here is a subsequent post on my personal Facebook account:

Dear Dudes of dentistry wot is not personal friends,

Please remember this is my PERSONAL Facebook account, I don’t post about marketing, dentistry or coaching on this page, so if you’d like to see stuff from me please also ‘like’ my professional page.

I know there are a few professional people ‘following’ me on my personal profile that I don’t know in person, you’ll only see ‘public’ posts if you do this… whooosh… listen for the tumble weed as I DON’T ROUTINELY MAKE PUBLIC POSTS from my personal account… coz it’s personal, see?

If you’d like to actually chat, engage and see my daily Facebook stream (that’s what FB is all about) then please join me on my professional page by clicking ‘like’ on the link below… or if you do actually know me personally then add me as a friend and you can then see my personal posts here.

Have a GREAT day:-)

https://www.facebook.com/markobornprofessional

Step 4 – Begin the migration

This basically means clicking ‘unfriend’. Yep, it’s tough and may take a long time if you have thousands of friends, but arguably why have you got thousands of friends on Facebook? It’s impossible to have that many friends!

Also know but it’s quite possible for business acquaintances to be real life friends, for me this wasn’t about removing anyone in business from my personal account, it was about removing people that I didn’t actually know from my personal account.

What I did

There were so many people that I had as friends whom I really wanted to be friends with, influential people in business, people that could help me in business and indeed people that I could help. But I wanted to stick to the criteria set out at the beginning. If I had not looked at them in the eye in real life then they will not be personal friends on Facebook.

Okay, I didn’t rigidly stick to this, there are a few people that I’ve spent many years talking to on Facebook that I have never met. Over those years of chatting they have become virtual friends  and I value that friendship, these people  I have left as personal friends on Facebook.
Now here is a funny story…

There were a couple of people  who I believed may have been friends on Facebook and that I’d never met in person, these select few people I decided to send a personal message to (Remember not to do this too often as your account may be blocked for spam), that personal message was:

Hi ,

I hope you don’t mind my unsolicited message, I’m in the process of separating out Facebook into people I know socially and people I know professionally, as I feel I know you professionally it would make sense that we continue to chat etc via my new professional profile www.facebook.com/markobornprofessional where I will continue to post nonsense, hats, coffee, Dorset and the occasional business post on dentistry plus life and business coaching also.

Please don’t take it as an insult but I have unfriended you (that’s such an awful phrase as it is so far from the truth) from my personal ‘social’ Facebook account, I look forward to seeing you and welcoming you on to my ‘professional’ account as and when. To join me on my professional account, please visit the page and click ‘like’.

Very kindest regards indeed,

Mark

To which someone replied:

No thank you Mark. You have never responded to any comment I have made on your posts, which tells me that you are either uninterested in the opinions of others, or have your head so far up your own derriere that you never even noticed. Either way, I doubt either of us adds value to the other so goodnight and thanks for the message.

Clearly, they weren’t friends in the first place and so I was happy to see the back of them. Interestingly, I sent EXACTLY the same message to someone else who replied:

Thank you for such a lovely message, Mark and what a great idea . Thank you. It just becomes overwhelming, doesn’t it ? it is a pleasure to be your professional Facebook friend.

It just goes to show, one can never tell how people will respond to the dreaded ‘unfriend’!

Step 5 – Begin using the new profiles in different ways

I now find that when I login to my personal Facebook account I can see posts from my friends, my family and what’s going on locally. It’s become a more welcoming, chatty and friendly pace to be. Sure, I see business posts from friends, but they are real friends  and I’m interested to know what they are talking about.

My Public Figure account has personal information on it (That I’m happy to share publicly) but because it is more business oriented it gets far more reaction from the business community, it is also growing far more rapidly than my personal account, which is absolutely fine by me.

What I do

  1. Facebook pages appI post personal updates about books I’m reading, things I like doing and where I’m visiting to both accounts. Sometimes I post to my personal account, sometimes I post to my business account, it is purely random.
  2. I post business updates to my new public figure account only.
  3. I use the regular Facebook app on my phone to log into my personal account. I am then very clear when I press this button that this is personal time.
  4. I use the Facebook Pages app (Downloadable from the Google Play store or similar on Apple) on my phone to log into my public figure account (these two accounts are linked and use the same Facebook login details). I am then very clear when I press this button that I am in business mode and it is during work time.

The benefits of separating personal and business life on Facebook

  1. Facebook becomes fun again. I can keep up-to-date with my personal life, friends, family and people I know without being interrupted about or having to think about work.
  2. Facebook becomes more productive for business. I’m able to advertise my Public figure, create unique status updates recommending that people send me messages or phone me.
  3. Create out of office messages using Facebook Response Assistant. A Facebook public figure allows you to set your status as ‘away’ for 12 hours, during this time It’s possible to automate responses if someone sends a message, far better than responding to a personal direct message on a personal account in the small hours of the morning!
  4. Get insights into your Public Figure. You will now be able to see the number of people that each of your posts has reached, the number of people that like your page, where they are and how engaged they are with each post. Very useful business analytics.
  5. Add labels to any messages. This enables you to tag messages from patients or clients with useful labels, consider using  treatment tags or ‘prospect’, ‘client’ etc
  6. Create events and have them all located in one place which is easily findable on your Public Figure profile page, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/pg/markobornprofessional/events/?ref=page_internal
  7. Get reviews. You may want patients to review you as an individual dentist, this is possible with a Public Figure profile. Here’s an example
  8. Balance life and work again and remove the incessant NOISE!


With a public figure page you can still engage with other local businesses, like them and chat with them,  the only thing you can’t do is engage or interact with individual people, unless they also have a public figure page or interact with your public figure in some way e.g.  commenting on a post.

It seems to me that using a public figure is far more ‘real to life’, in life we all know that we have a personal, friendly, family persona… We also have that business persona, the face we put on when we go to work… Separating Facebook out like this is far truer to real life, more congruent with real-life and keeps the work/life balance in harmony.

If you need help, please just comment here or ping me an e-mail  from the website, I’m happy to do what I can to assist.

Yours professionally and personally,

Mark

how-to-use-reviews

How to Make Best Use of Your Facebook and Google Reviews

So many people are working really hard to collect as many Facebook and Google reviews as possible, but what can you do with them once you’ve got them?

Of course they look great on your Facebook and Google profiles but here are a couple of examples of how you can use them in other situations.

Encouraging more people to request an appointment

I’ve written many times about the issue of trust in dentistry; reviews add social proof to your website and this proof that you are trustworthy can increase conversion rates.

Whenever we ask someone to do something on our website, for example request an appointment, using social proof next to the ‘call to action’ can increase conversion rates.

Here’s an example of using Google reviews right next to an appointment request form.

Reviews and request an appointment

Adding value to your fees/prices page

One of the most visited pages on any dental practice website if the fees page. If all you list are just your fees without adding value then you are doing yourself a disservice. Without letting patients know what they get when they spend an amount of money is a surefire way of making yourself look expensive!

A great way to add value to the service you offer is to let your happy patients do that marketing for you. A simple way to do this is to add Facebook reviews directly to your website, Here’s an example.

screenshot-2016-09-20-15-06-17

How to add a Facebook review to your website.

Locate the reviews on your Facebook page, once you have done this click on them.

Locate the reviews on your Facebook page

Choose the review you wish to embed, then click on the little arrow top right to bring down a list of options.

Choose the review

Click on the embed option.

Click embed

Copy the code and paste this into your website on the fees page.

Embed code

You now have an interactive review on the fees page of your website which goes a significant way to reduce risk.

Advantages of using embedded reviews are:

  1. They are much harder to fake, anyone can make up a review, but not anyone can get a review from a real person on Facebook.
  2. Because people can interact with the review by commenting it demonstrates a trustworthy organisation that is open and transparent.
  3. Because there is openness and transparency the patient can see that this review is not being manipulated… unless it’s obvious that you have reviewed yourself 🙂


I’d love to know your thoughts also…

Is your dental practice verified_

Is Your Dental Practice A Verified Local Business on Facebook?

Is your dental practice a verified local business on Facebook?  If you have a Facebook business page you ought to be ensuring that it carries the Facebook verified checkmark, this  ensures that your local patients find the right and authentic account for your practice, rather than an out of date business page or one that has been set up by accident in the past (or even maliciously by someone else).

Kirsten Bury,  A Facebook product marketing manager for pages told Marketing Land recently that verified pages will show up higher in Facebook search results.

“At scale there will inevitably be duplicates and multiple entries for the same business,” said Bury, noting that there are 45 million business Pages on Facebook. “So this is one way businesses can make it easier for people to make sure that they are finding and communicating with the right Page.”

 Verified local business page on FacebookYou can tell if your page has been verified or not as it will have a little grey tick next to the page name… No tick? Then your page is not verified which may be perceived as a non-authentic account.

At the moment it is only possible to verify a local business, in other words if you have chosen categories of your business page such as a brand, product, cause or community then you will not immediately have access to verify your account.

When creating your account you need to choose local business or place in order to have the facility to verify. Create a page on Facebook

How to verify your Facebook page

To verify your page by phone:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page.
  2. From General, click Page Verification.
  3. Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started.
  4. Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language.
  5. Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code. verified by calling

To verify with documents

Sometimes practices find that their reception desks are very busy places with multiple people answering the phone, if you think verification by phone may be a little difficult then you simply click the ‘verify this page with documents instead’ link.

You will then be prompted to upload documents.

 Verify page with documentsThe verification process is actually very simple and doesn’t take too long to complete. Verification by phone can lead to almost instant verification whereas verification by documents can take a couple of weeks.

More info here on social media marketing for dentists.

Hope that helps,
Mark Oborn
Mark

 

Buy or sell

How to Sell Your Services – REALLY?

I was recently approached by a prospective new client who said something along the lines of:

“Mark, I’m running a course for dentists in three months time… Can you help with your marketing to fill it for me?”

Now equally, this could have been any one of the many dental services on offer, or even something completely different.

I asked what they had in mind for the marketing? They responded with ‘a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter tweets and the like.’

Okay,  so essentially they want to sell their course using online marketing.

But wait.

Who do we send those e-mails to?

Who is going to see those social media messages on Facebook or Twitter?

Aha, now we get to the nitty-gritty of the problem. We either have to use an existing e-mail database or buy one, and we have to pay for messages on Facebook or Twitter as we don’t have a particularly good Facebook following.

And if we suddenly start bombarding people that have never heard of us before with marketing messages trying to sell a new course, what does that do to the amount of trust they have in us?

Marketing in this style is what gives social media and e-mail a bad name. People say they’re bombarded with messages they hate and perceive as spam… And to be honest, that’s exactly what many messages are!

An alternative way of marketing – Switching from hate to love

Hate love switch

Switching the style of marketing we use can have an enormous impact, but it’s not a quick fix and you can’t suddenly think “Hey, I want to sell a course how can we fill it?”

The secret starts months possibly years earlier than the course/service you want to ‘sell’.

Marketing isn’t something you do… It’s something you are!

Here is a simple step-by-step list of how you can go about selling a course/service with no spam and without upsetting people:

  1. Identify the problem your target audience is trying to solve. DO NOT MISS THIS OUT! What is their problem? Is it that they want more confidence? Are they looking for more time? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for a new partner? People go about solving these problems in a huge variety of ways, from looking for a new dance class to having teeth whitening… All to solve the same problem! Once you have identified the problem that people are trying to solve you can move on.
  2. Create a social media channel focused around solving this problem.
  3. Create a free guide focused around solving this problem and put it on your website in exchange for an e-mail address.
  4. Begin handing out useful, free and relevant advice helping these people solve this unique problem. Put that advice on your social media channel and write blog posts about it.
  5. Do this consistently and continuously all of the time. It should be your raison d’être. Hand out useful, free and relevant advice which helps that person go some way to solving their problem.

Doing this increases trust and reduces risk which means that when you have a specific service to sell, such as a course, you have an engaged audience which trusts you (after all, you’ve been giving them free information for ages now) and sees you as a low risk option (after all, you been giving them free advice and asked for nothing back).

With this engaged audience, whose problems you understand and have demonstrated you are an expert in it’s a logical and simple step to suggest that they take action to solve their problem with you.

And that’s how you use e-mail and social media to sell your course or service. It takes time to build and grow, but once it does it becomes an unstoppable machine which works 24/7, the best time to start is always now…

 

How to Use the New Facebook Call to Action Button

If you log into Facebook this morning and check out your Facebook page you should notice a new call to action feature. Any marketer will know that one of the most important things you can do in any marketing communication is include a call to action, telling people what you want them to do when they engage in your marketing communication is so often missed out but is so important to include.

Facebook clearly recognise this and have now included a range of options in all Facebook pages, here is how to setup the new Facebook call to action button.

Add a call to action button to your page

When you first login to your business page this is the new little message that you will see.

Adding a Facebook call to action button to your page

 

Simply click the create button.

You will now be encouraged to ” create call to action” simply click this button.

Creating a Facebook call to action

On the next screen you will be guided to choose a button, select from a range of options including:

  • Book now
  • contact us
  • use app
  • play game
  • shop now
  • signup
  • watch video

Simply select the option most suitable for you, for a dental practice probably book now would be best.

Deciding which call to action to use

When you click the book now button you will be prompted to enter your website address, remember enter the full web address of your booking page. Don’t just put in your basic web address as this will lead them to the homepage, remember, you are suggesting that they book now so use a direct link through to your booking page.

If you have a separate mobile website then also enter the booking address for this.

Enter in the destination for your new call to action

When you click next you will be presented with the destination for people using Android and Apple devices. If you have an app running on either of these systems you can direct people directly through to the booking page within your app.

If you don’t have an app then keep the destination selected as ‘website’.

If you use an app selected this as the destination

When you click next you will be prompted with the screen to say that your call to action button is ready. To edit it simply click and you will be presented with an edit option.

Your Facebook call to action but is now ready

When you click next for the last time you will see your new call to action on your Facebook page. To the right you will also notice in the insights section the number of people that have engaged with your call to action button.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 08.40.36

 

Using a call to action in all of your marketing communication is an excellent way of encouraging people to take direct action. I urge you to get onto your Facebook page this morning and setup this new feature, why not come back here and post your Facebook page into the comments so we can see what you have done…

Update Facebook’s Algorithm for Business Pages: Important Information

Many people mistakenly believe That everything they post to their dental practice Facebook business page is shown to all of the fans, they think that because they’ve got 500 fans that 500 people are going to see what they post… This simply isn’t true.

Think about the number of people that are on Facebook, it currently stands at over half the UK population, that’s more than 30 million people!

With so many people on Facebook, Facebook needs to use some form of calculation to decide which messages are important, which messages are not, which messages to show people in which messages to hide. This is where Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm comes in, please scroll to the end of this blog post to see a very useful info graphic generated about this topic.

The algorithm has been around for some time now and people are getting used to how it works but there is a big change afoot, in fact it  happened in January of this year.

What is changing?

Facebook quite rightly say that people go on to see things they are interested in. They don’t necessarily want to see out and out promotion of products and services, the problem has been that many business pages have simply tried to sell stuff.

This has resulted in the quality of some posts from businesses being extremely low, they simply post updates telling people about their latest offers, deals and incentives and make no attempt to engage with their fans, this fundamentally goes against the engagement principle of Facebook. Facebook have been looking at ways to stop this and this has now been implemented.

As with immediate effect if you post purely promotional updates the chances of these being seen by your fans is extremely low, so what makes a promotional post? Facebook say that promotional posts are:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Read more about these updates.

It seems that Facebook are going to be looking at adding some additional functionality to their business pages, this could be an exciting new era in Facebook marketing if we are able to do more complex and fun things from a business page.

What can you do about it?

Put simply, avoid just promoting your business. Look for ways to create engagement with each post and get your edge rank higher. If you do want to do posts which promote treatments, services, products or special offers and accept the fact that you’re going to have to promote these with paid ads.

Read more about managing Facebook adverts.

With regards to each individual post you could try varying the things you post along the following lines:

  1. Create images which encourage engagement. Not necessarily dental ones but images which make people laugh, joining and feel part of the community.
  2. Use questions at the end of the post. Questions are far more likely to generate engagement than simple statements.
  3. Tell stories using your happy patients. Create a series of posts which walk potential patients through the thought process and treatment of existing patients. Create engaging stories out of the real lives of local people.
  4. Hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice. Use the amazing information stored in your head to genuinely help local people, when you hand out useful and free relevant dental health advice you set yourself up as the local expert that can be trusted.
  5. Educate people about the risks of not looking after their teeth and the benefits of having a healthy smile. When you create engaging content like this people are more likely to interact with comments, likes and shares.

The trick is to get people engaging and interacting with your posts. If you do this Facebook will recognise that your updates are popular and ensure that they reach more people.

What is a Edge Rank?

edgerank

Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hashtags – what they are and how to use them


It seems that the whole world has gone hash tag crazy. From being an unused button on the phone and keyboard to being the source of frustration about when to use them the common # has seen it all.

So in this blog post I’m going to go through the use of #hashtags with perhaps some imaginative ways that you can utilise their power.

To my knowledge twitter was the first social media network to come up with the concept of hash tag. Put simply they are away of uniting all messages with a common theme, and the thing which unites them is the use of the #hashtag.

Conferences and TV shows began using the hashtag to group together all tweets about a particular show #celebjuice and #chattyman use them all the time. If you want to tweet about the show and you want to make sure that your message is seen by people watching the show then you simply add the hash tag to the end of your message.

celebrity juice and chatty man hash tags

It’s then possible to search all messages that are using the same tag.

Hash tags then started to spill over from twitter into Facebook and Google plus with people using things like #justaying & #epicfail to explain what their message was about…

just saying hashed tag

Because people were using the Twitter etiquette of the hash tag on other social networks it wasn’t long before Facebook and Google decided that they would introduce formal recognition of this tag –  it’s only been in the past week or so but Facebook is roll this out across its users in the UK.

So how can you use them now famous hash tag?

  • Consider developing a unique hash tag that you use as a practice. #yourpracticename
  • Or using them when you talk about treatments such as #teethwhitening and #dentalimplants
  • If you run a competition then link all of those messages together with your #competitiontag
  • Use them to add intonation to your message #onlyjoking #justsaying #beingserious
  • Grouping types of messages together is also possible #dentalhealthupdate #missingteethadvice #straightteeth
Using the hashtag then allows anyone on Facebook, Twitter or Google to search for that hash tag. These social media networks will recognise the use of the hash tag and turn it into a clickable link this will then open up a separate window with all of the messages using that tag in it – Facebook then gives you the opportunity of commenting on that particular topic.
This shows a search on Twitter for the hash tag #dentalmarketing
twitter hash tag search
And a similar search on Facebook for #dentistry
Facebook hash tag search
Think of hash tags like topics, or categories for messages and you won’t go far wrong.
How have you seen hash tags being used?
Please do comment below and let me know… If you do use the hash tag #markoborn and then go to Facebook to see the results of how these messages are grouped together.

 

The Demise of Facebook?

There have been a few significant changes to Facebook recently which have changed, and will continue to change, the way Facebook is used by businesses.

Posts filtered by the user

When Facebook’s was smaller and there weren’t so many people and businesses using it, we used to see everything that our friends and businesses posted. This clearly became a problem for Facebook as it grew, the stream of information became too much and people started to leave, so Facebook introduced a filtering mechanism in an individual persons stream called ‘top news’ and ‘most recent’ – in fact this options are still there in the top right of your stream

Facebook posts

Posts filtered by Facebook

It it seems that allowing users to change what they saw was not enough, and so in more recent years Facebook have introduced an algorithm called Edge Rank which determines what we see for us.

Edge Rank gives your business page a rank, and the higher the rank the more your page will be shown to its fans. The rank is calculated using a combination of how many comments, likes, shares and fans you have and takes into account what you posted (images, text) and how long the post has been there.

You’ve probably seen those recent posts on Facebook where pages show a provocative image and asked you to ‘like’ if you agree and ‘comment’ if you disagree. Is this is simply the page trying to manipulate the ranking algorithm to increase its Edge Rank to get itself shown to more fans.

If you have a business Facebook page you can check the Edge Rank here.

This all means that just because you have a Facebook fan page don’t assume that everyone will see all of your updates in this stream.

If you want to see how many people have seen an individual post, this information is now available just below that post on your page wall.

facebook fans seen by

The number of views is going down

If you check back at the number of views that each of your posts have had as a percentage of the total number of fans on your page, you may notice that this percentage is falling.

Businesses are typically reporting that their posts are typically reaching about 9% of the total number of fans on Facebook. The average dental practice has around 300 fans, this means that each post will be seen by less than 30 people!

This new change has been introduced by Facebook as they say it is to increase quality, and to ensure that the stream of an individual is not clogged. Personally, I agree with this as it is a good way to ensure that your posts are good quality (by encouraging likes, comments and shares) however, the reality is that even with a reasonably good edge rank your posts are seen by a relatively limited number of people.

Facebook sponsored posts.

On the face of it the reason for limiting the number of your posts that are seen is because Facebook want to ensure they are good quality. However, the cynic in me tells me otherwise.

Facebook have also introduced sponsored posts, as a way of ‘forcing’ your post into the stream of your fans.

If you have adverts set up on Facebook, with each new post on your fan page you will see an option to sponsor the post in the bottom right-hand corner. If you click this you can then set a budget and ensure that this post is seen by all fans.

facebook sponsored posts

I use this function if I have a particularly important announcement to make all my fan page, however it can get rather expensive promoting each post that you make.

It seems that Facebook are looking for ways to monetise the platform even more by telling people they are limiting posts to increase quality, yet allowing people to show posts so long as they pay!

How to overcome this problem and get your posts seen

Here’s a great trick that I found online, if your fans choose to, they can opt to have all of your updates delivered directly to the newsfeed and even have a notification with your new posts. It is down to each band to adjust the settings individually, but not many people know how to do it.

Here is a great image which shows fans how to change the settings so that your posts are seen, why not download this image and share it to your Facebook page and then promote the page with a small advert for £10 to ensure that it gets seen.

download this image and share to your Facebook page

Why not download and share the image above to your Facebook page.

Summary

Personally I find these changes to the way your posts are seen on Facebook slightly worrying, it used to be that Facebook was a great way of reaching lots of people for free. It seems that you now can’t have both of these at the same time, you can either reach lots of people, or do it for free but not both!

If this continues, I can personally see Facebook becoming more of a barrier to communication than an aid for businesses, unless of course you have a big budget.

I still believe that Facebook is a brilliant way of engaging and creating a buzz and community about your business, but for me, the warning signs are there and I would not put all of my eggs in one basket.

I have said this before, and I’ll it again, this is my preferred sequence for tackling online marketing in any business.

  1. Get a website.
  2. Optimise the website to be found naturally on the search engines.
  3. Use marketing techniques to ensure the maximum number of people convert from your website.
  4. Set up a robust and automatic e-mail marketing program.
  5. Setup Facebook and Twitter.

If you focus your marketing energy and activity onto your website this is entirely within your control and you are not reliant upon a third-party to filter what visitors see (I accept that Google could potentially be looked at as a filter).

What are your thoughts, have you noticed the number of posts drop that your fans see? I’d love to hear your feedback…

Google Plus, Facebook and Search Engine Optimisation for Your Dental Practice

If there there was a simple way to get more people to your website would you be interested to find out about it?

As you may know I am a keen blogger, blogging allows you to demonstrate to your potential customers that you know what you are talking about and engenders trust. It’s also a great way to get people to visit your website, and in my opinion is a vital part of any online marketing campaign.

Many dental practices are not keen on being on Facebook, and even if they are they are often not very interactive or engaging with their fans. However there is another way that one can use the power of Facebook connectivity without actually being involved in Facebook itself.

Facebook is essentially a database of connections between people and Google plus is their equivalent of this connected database. It is possible, without actually being on Facebook itself, to make use of this database and to allow other people to do your marketing for you.

And how do you go about doing this?

Simply add a share function to your blog, similar to the sharing function at the top of this blog post. This has many advantages, such as

  1. As people share it, or like it, the Post has the ability to go viral and attract many visitors to your website.
  2. The more people that share the post, the more this generates social proof for future visitors. Think about it, you land on the website and can see that many people have already shared it, it makes the website look interactive and ‘lived in’.
  3. Google loves seeing the fact that your site is being shared, it is an indicator to Google from a search engine optimisation point of view, that your site is popular. Google wants to send visitors to popular sites, and so this sharing is a great signal to the search engines that your site is a good one.

So how do you go about getting these share buttons?

There are two basic ways, you can either download the code from each of the various websites.

However, this is a rather cumbersome way of going about it, as you need to visit each one, configure the button and then add them individually to your website or blog.

By far the simplest way of doing it, and my personal favourite, is to use the AddThis set of buttons.

The great thing about AddThis is that you can install analytics, it will then send you an e-mail letting you know the number of people that have shared each individual page and the resultant number of clicks. If you have more clicks back then people visited, then the blog post has gone viral and AddThis will report it back to you.

If your blog is on WordPress, then simply go to the ‘add plug in’ section and search for AddThis. Configure the plug-in to go on every page and every blog post to ensure maximum sharing ability and maximum search engine optimisation from the post.

Since I’ve been doing this, and then sharing my own posts on Facebook and Google plus I’ve noticed traffic increase to clients websites from these social media platforms. It’s a great way to utilise the database of connections without having to get involved in the conversation yourself, although being involved in the conversation magnifies the effect even more!

Are you using social sharing on your website and blog? What effect have you noticed?

 

 

Facebook Emoticons

You know those posts on Facebook where words are just not enough? Well now you can place those annoying little characters in your Facebook comments using Facebook Emoticons.

So as the guru of online marketing I thought I’d share with you the range of emoticons you can use… now I expect to see at least all of them once in the comments on this blog post!

Facebook Emoticons

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