Facebook Timeline for Pages - Is Your Medical Practice Ready?
By: Tina Bell Director of Marketing, HealthCARE Express At a recent speaking engagement on marketing your Medical Practice, someone asked me, “If I only do one of the on-line things you've spoken about today, which one should I do?” Outside of having a website that is optimized for search engines, FACEBOOK was my number one answer. If you already have a Facebook fan page – great! Are you aware that on Friday, March 30th, it will convert from it's traditional layout to the new Facebook Timeline? This is an exciting change, and I will highlight some of the things you can do to get your Medical Practice's fan page ready for it later in the article. But first, I want you to understand why I believe it's important your Medical Practice business is on Facebook. 5 Stages of the Buying Cycle There are five stages in the buying cycle that any person goes through when determining what products to buy or services to utilize. They are: Awareness, Consideration, Preference, Purchase, and Repurchase. Facebook can help you in all five steps. First, by suggesting to your Facebook friends that they like your fan page, you make them aware your business exists. And by talking about different services you offer, you make them aware you offer those things.
Learn More at the Medical Practice Success Summit
When your fans talk highly about your staff or your Medical Practice on your fan page, you allow people who have not yet tried you to decide if they'll want to use you during the consideration phase. If you continually give them free valuable updates daily on your page, you'll start to own a spot in their mind encouraging them to consider your Medical Practice as their healthcare place of preference. Thanks to apps and the new Timeline layout for fan pages, if you offer things like on-line registration, you can also make it easy for your fans to register for their visit on-line or sign-up for your health newsletter. Finally, since repurchasing is both an emotional and logical process, your Facebook page can help keep you top-of-mind as the healthcare place to visit for Medical Practice when they need your services again in the future. The New Timeline for Fan Pages If you have not yet used Timeline on Facebook, you'll be a bit confused at first. A lot of things that used to be easy to find are now moved. Some options do not exist anymore. But overall, the new timeline offers a lot of unique features that can help you highlight your Medical Practice business. 1. Cover Images vs. Default Landing Tab On your current Facebook Fan Page you should have a default landing tab. This is the custom landing page non-fans see when deciding if they are going to like your page or not. With Timeline, this feature goes away. Instead, you are now given a Cover Image at the top of your page. If you have a software to design your own cover image, it should be designed at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. Do note that Facebook has rules on what you can and cannot put in your cover image. Basically, any image is fine, so long as it is not a direct ad, it does not contain contact information, and it does not ask fans to like or share your page. 2. Profile Picture Your profile picture will remain the same. This is a 180x180 pixel image that appears beside your name in a news feed and/or whenever you post on someone's wall or comment on something. For business fan pages, this should not change frequently. Many Medical Practices opt to utilize their logo in their profile picture. 3. Showcase Apps My favorite new feature with the Timeline is the Showcase Apps that appear below your cover image. These were previously known as “tabs”. The first app will always be Photos, and you cannot move this. The remaining apps can be moved around. You can also install Apps. The three Apps I find most useful for Medical Practices are YouTube for Pages, Networked Blogs, and Static iFrame Tab. I will go over how to use these in more details on my webinar, Social Media for Medical Practice, this Friday. Click here to learn more about the teleseminar. If you have already been using apps on your Fan Pages, you will want to create your own custom thumbnail image for each app. The size for a thumbnail image is 111x74 pixels. While you may not be allowed to advertise in your Cover Image, your App Thumbnails are a great place to include calls to action and other branding images. They are also where you can encourage fans to sign-up for your newsletter or register for their next visit on-line. Do note that there are still a few bugs associated with uploading your own custom images, so you may have to upload your thumbnail image a few times. To change your thumbnail, expand all apps by clicking the small down arrow in the Showcase Apps Section. Then hover over th app > click the edit pencil > click Edit Settings > click Change next to Custom Tab Image (opens in a new window) > click Change > upload an image. 4. Milestones Another neat thing about the Timeline is you can go back in time and add Milestones about your Medical Practice. Milestones include things like first date opened, grand opening, new location opened, new doctor's hired, etc... Take time to add milestones about your Medical Practice. 5. Pinning & Expanding Posts Another neat feature on the timeline is the ability to pin posts for up to 7 days at the top of your wall. This is a great way to highlight job openings or events you are hosting. Additionally, you can expand the width of any wall post from single column to double column by hovering over the post and clicking the post's star icon. This will highlight the post on the page. Want to learn more? I will be discussing the new Timeline Layout in-depth in my Social Media for Medical Practices Teleseminar this Friday, March 30th at 12:00 p.m. CST. Click here to learn more about it and register to attend. Don't worry if you can't make the live call. Friday afternoon you'll receive a recording of the call, along with all the class materials. In addition to discussing Facebook, I'll also discuss a bit on Twitter, Blogging, and how to get found by Siri on the iPhone.