By the time you read this, it may be obsolete. That’s because I’m writing about Facebook. Just when you think you have it figured out, they change something. Regardless, the expectation to have a Facebook presence for your business creates a dilemma: Are business/fan pages or groups best? The answer depends on what you want to accomplish.
To me, there are three features we want from a Facebook account for our practice: visibility, marketing and building community. What you hope to achieve depends on where you are now in your practice and where you’re going. Knowing what results you want is the first step to any marketing venture.
Business/fan pages are the same thing (it depends on what you’re reading or who you’re talking to). Since their inception, major changes have been made that make getting your page content seen on the timelines of your followers more challenging. Post photos and videos for more visibility (Facebook’s algorithm prefers them), especially if your post contains a link.
As of now, a business page is the only option with the ability to boost posts or promote your page. I’ve been told boosting doesn’t work and yet that has not been my experience (sounds like another blog post or maybe a webinar). The more targeted your boost or promotion is, the better.
Business pages also have an Insights tab (at the top) that keeps data on when your audience is on Facebook. Along with the capability to schedule posts ahead of time*, you can strategically post at times when the most followers are likely to see your content. You can also learn what kinds of posts get the most engagement to make your efforts more effective.
The most powerful marketing features a business page has that a group doesn’t are specific places for reviews, hours, pricing, contact information and a description of your practice. This information helps those who are just checking you out decide if you are a good fit for their needs. The power of reviews cannot be overstated and I find new clients are eager to leave them.
Due to the algorithm, building community can be tough if your posts aren’t being seen by your followers. You can build a bigger following by inviting your Facebook friends to like your page (there’s a link in the Community box on the right) and asking your followers to invite their friends. More likes gives the impression of an exceptional practice that prospects will want to be a part of.
Facebook groups are another way to connect with your audience. As long as group members have their notifications set to “All Posts“, they’ll receive a notification every time a post is added to your group. It’s a good idea to include that stipulation in a follow up message thanking them for joining.
One marketing feature a group has over a business page is Facebook Live* video. This may be an advantage depending on what type of content you provide and how much your audience on on Facebook. Since there aren’t dedicated areas on the group page for your business information, having a link to your website in a pinned post (a post that stays at the top) is essential.
Building community in a group is a little different than on a business page. Instead of an Invite to Like, you Add Members (also on the right). To make your group visible to those who aren’t members, have the privacy settings on public (anyone can see the group, its members and their posts). You’ll also have to decide if you want all members to be able to post (these could be reviews) or if you’ll be the only one posting.
I see pros and cons to both types of Facebook pages. Personally, having a business page to reach new and current clients makes the most sense because of the business information features and review options. I have both a business page and a group. The group is to let members know about same-day, discounted openings. It’s been the best way to communicate those that I’ve used so far.
The cool part of all of this (and anything else in your business) is that you can experiment and see what works best for you. Finding new ways to connect with clients is part of the treasure hunt of marketing the practice that I love!
How do you use a Facebook business page or group for your practice? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment link to share. Thank you!
*As of late September 2017, both Facebook fan pages and groups feature Facebook Live and the ability to schedule posts.