Want Fans? Use Facebook. Want Patients? Think Practice Website

Want Fans? Use Facebook. Want Patients? Think Practice Website

1024 576 Rob Lovitt

practice website

Your practice website called — it misses you and wants you back.

We know, it can be hard to focus on maintaining and updating your website when it’s so easy to post another update to Facebook or tweet a link to an article you just read. But doctors who take a “send ‘em to Facebook” approach to online marketing run the risk of gaining fans and followers at the expense of good leads and new patients.

Consider the conversation between Brett Slatkin of Google and Mac Slocum of O’Reilly Media in the following video [start at 2:00]. Although healthcare wasn’t a topic of discussion per se, the conversation offers valuable insights for anyone who thinks successful online marketing begins and ends with Facebook:

In a nutshell, the major social networks represent a trade-off wherein you give up control of your content in return for the potential of reaching more users. The problem is that you have little say over how your content is presented, who sees it and what ads appear next to it. Factor in the fleeting nature of the typical Facebook post vs. the unlimited shelf life of your website content and that trade-off will likely pencil out very differently.

The “send ‘em to Facebook” trend has been bugging me for a while, noted Slocum on the O’Reilly blog recently. Beyond the whiff of desperation attached to pleas for “likes” and “follows,” a total reliance on external platforms is asking for trouble in the long term. It’s like a football team forfeiting home field advantage — there are certain things you simply can’t do, and benefits you can’t enjoy, when you’re playing on someone else’s turf.

Instead, says Slatkin:

People need to understand why it’s important to run their own websites and to own their own content. They need to understand they should publish from their own blog, so they’re in control of how their content is accessed, how it’s monetized, how it’s packaged up.

Which, by the way, is not a call to close your Facebook and Twitter accounts and commit 100% of your online marketing efforts to your practice website:

The new thought here, says Slatkin, is publish from your own site but use all these great social networks like Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook to connect with your audience, to boost engagement and to get as much reach as you possibly can. When you connect with your audience over your content, it boosts your creativity. It’s that feedback loop that keeps people interested in producing.

Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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