In our last post about using Facebook for your practice we made a very important point that will be a good place to start our conversation: Facebook isn't magic. Ok, Ok. I realize that this isn't ground-breaking by any means, but it's a good thing to keep in mind as we start to dive into the world of social media a little more.
Let's break this idea down some. First of all, Facebook won't be some magic source of clients. Even when you're able to add a couple of hundred "Likes" to your page, it's not like all of these people will be clamoring for appointments with you. But, Facebook does have value — a lot of value — and it's important to understand where it all fits in.
Secondly, in order to make your Facebook page a viable tool, it's going to require some work. One question that people ask a lot is if they need to start accounts on multiple social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram. My advice has always been that you only need to start the accounts that you have the time and knowledge to manage. Each account is going to require an investment of time and energy so don't get ahead of yourself. Invest time in your Facebook page and add other channels as you have time. We'll be here to help in case you want to spend time learning how to work some of the other social media channels.
Facebook is ultimately about community and connections. It's about building a community of people that are interested in what you do and, more importantly, what you have to share. As you build your community, you'll be building out a potential source of clients, but – more likely – a referral network. As your community and your influence grows, you'll have virtual relationships with an expanding network of people. Each of those individuals are connected to hundreds of others. The items that you share have the opportunity to be seen by more people. The more people that see you posts, the more likely that someone will "Like" your post or "Share" it with others. Any action that they take will only serve to show your updates with more and more people.
Building community takes some work. There are a couple of ways to jumpstart your community building process and some more that will take a combination of money and patience.
The goal is to give you audience something compelling — something that they wouldn't necessarily see if they didn't like you page. There are a lot of options for this. Here are just a few ideas:
It takes time to zero in on your style and to find exactly the sort of thing that your community likes to see and respond to. So try a few different ideas. If you get really creative, there are even some sites that will let you create your own memes. You can mix it up and share some serious quotes and some more light-hearted ones too.
Over time, your community will start to grow! Every so often, it you can spend $20 or so on another ad to find even more folks from your area. If you find that you're having good results with your paid efforts, make a plan to do it about once a month or whatever makes sense for you. Either way, be patient and remember that you're not trying to find clients just yet. You're building a team of advocates. When they're having conversations with their friends or loved ones, you want to be the first name that they think of. Facebook — and all social media accounts — are more indirect ways to help people find you.
Just like in the real the world, the virtual world is all about networking in the communities where you live!