Earlier this year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s algorithm (the way Facebook determines what users see in their News Feeds) will begin to prioritize “meaningful interactions” between users—particularly family and friends—which means companies like a dental practice need to be more strategic to ensure the organic (non-sponsored) content they post is seen by their followers.
So what exactly are “meaningful interactions”?
Facebook’s definition of meaningful interactions refers to actions like commenting on and sharing posts, replying to comments, and reacting to a photo differently than with just a “like” (they now have “love,” “haha” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” reactions to posts).
These meaningful interactions are important because as Facebook tracks posts to determine their performance, those with a higher percentage of active interactions will be prioritized to show in people’s News Feeds. Facebook has decided that not all interactions on their platform are equally valuable, so if your content isn’t inspiring followers to interact with it through something more than a casual “like” you could see a drop in engagement.
To get a full understanding of how Facebook will be ranking these interactions this article from Hootsuite does a great job of breaking it down.
What do these Facebook changes mean for your dental practice?
By now you may be thinking “Well, what’s the point of being on Facebook at all now? Could my time and resources be better spent elsewhere?”
The short answer is “No.” With over 2 billion active users on Facebook abandoning the platform all together is not an option. Instead, look at this algorithm update as a way to re-inspire your social media strategy and find a way to make stronger, more valuable connections with patients (both current and potential).
It will most likely take some trial and error to find the most effective posts for your practice and require time to analyze a post’s performance to pin point what gets strong engagement. But there are a few key ways you can start steering your content in the right direction.
- Start “Going Live”: Facebook allows users to stream live video to the platform and this fits in nicely with their call for more personal and engaging content. Share a video surprising a team member on their birthday, an endearing interaction with a young patient (after getting signed permission to share) and other happenings from your practice to give followers a peak into your world.
- Start Conversations: Share posts that could start a dialogue with your followers via comments and replies. For example, you could share an article featuring alternative uses for common dental items and ask followers if they’ve used any of these tricks or have found others that they’d like to share. The key to posts like this is to be genuine – simply asking for comments on every post will actually be downgraded in the new algorithm and less likely to be shown.
- Keep Content Relevant: As a dental practice your followers will generally expect content you share to be somehow relevant to dentistry, oral health, etc. Sharing a non-dental post on occasion won’t turn anyone away but if you continue to stray too far from expected content followers could become dissatisfied and less likely to engage. Meet follower expectations by sharing thoughtful content related to what you do best – dentistry. This could be how-to posts, relevant industry news, practice life posts, etc.
While, there is no magical formula to ensuring everything your practice posts on Facebook is seen, understanding the algorithm and what defines a “good” post is half the battle. Using the above suggestions to fine tune your organic posts is a way to make the most of the current Facebook landscape and continue to make it an effective part of your overall practice marketing strategy.