Facebook. Everyone’s talking about it. It’s the hottest buzzword in business. But is it really worth all the trouble?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: According to Pew Research Center, as of September 2014, 71% of online adults use Facebook. On top of that, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said the average American now spends 40 min/day checking their Facebook feed. That’s double the worldwide average of 20 min/day. Now consider that the largest televised event in the US (Superbowl) gathers 114 million viewers once per year, and FB has 134 million users in the US daily.  So… yes.

Great! Now just make a Facebook page and start raking in the money, right?

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Not quite. Yes, it’s true there’s a massive amount of money on FB to be made, but you can’t take the passive route and expect people to instantly flock to you just because you created a page and posted a couple of funny pictures. If you want FB to work for you, you have to lay down the foundation that sets you up for success.

Success can mean many different things to different people, depending on what you hope to achieve with your FB page. For the purposes of this series, I will define success as conversions (or appointments for you docs). We’ll certainly have other smaller goals along the way (for example more likes), but the light at the end of the tunnel will be an increase in appointments booked. Sound good?

Great! Let’s get started!

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Today we will begin at the top, literally. We will be discussing what makes a good Timeline Cover Photo.

Your FB page should provide all your visitors the opportunity to schedule an appointment right then and there. If your current cover photo does not provide the ability for your FB visitors to take action, you are leaving money on the table.

Your cover photo, for those of you who are new to the world of FB, is that big image across the top of your page.

And, for you vets, what you might not know is that FB has loosened their guidelines. A while ago, you weren’t able to use the timeline cover photo to advertise at all.

In other words, you were not able to put an email address or website – or ANY contact information for that matter – you were not able to add any pricing details, like 25% off, and most importantly you were not able to do any kind of call to action, meaning you couldn’t say “Book Now” and get 25% OFF toward your frames. All of that would have been against the guidelines.

But Facebook now says you can do all of that! Which translates to more room to play 😉

Keep in mind, however, that getting too “sales-y” in your cover photo can make you look pushy, money-hungry, and/or tacky. Not good qualities. It can be a tricky balancing act, so here are some simple guidelines to help you navigate the slippery slope of FB without coming off like that used car salesman who sold you your first

[insert non-insulting/age appropriate car here].

  1. Dimensions and Alignment

First things first: the basics. Your cover photo is the first thing people will see when they come to your page, making it doubly important to make sure that it doesn’t look like a jumbled mess.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Cover photo dimensions should be 851 x 315 px

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  • Try to keep images right aligned
    • Because the profile image is on the left, you want to make sure your whole page is balanced so keep the bulk of the content on the right side. Though centered images can work too, it’s a good tip to keep in mind if you’re planning on utilizing text or asymmetrical images.

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  • Integrate other aspects of your page
    • Just because you want to avoid going crazy with your hard sells in your cover photo does not mean you can’t highlight or subtly bring attention to areas of your page designed specifically for that reason. Draw your visitor’s eyes to your call-to-action button by framing that area with a simple message or even an arrow, if you’re feeling cheeky.

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  1. Stay Visual

Ever landed on a website, saw nothing but text, skimmed a bit, and then gave up? Yep, that happens a lot. Blocks of text are overwhelming and discouraging. Images are engaging and welcoming. Aim for the latter. Just because FB now allows 20% of your cover photo to be text, does not mean it has to be. Use text sparingly and intentionally. If you have something special going on, by all means share it in you cover photo, but be precise in how you share it. When in doubt: show, don’t tell.

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  1. Call-to-Action

Your call-to-action is the most important element of your FB cover page. It is the element that will allow your visitors to actually book an appointment with your practice, which is what we’re defining as success, remember?

There are 2 ways to do this with your cover photo:

  • The Call-To-Action Button
    • If you have not activated this on your page yet, go do it now. This is probably the most powerful tool available to you within the FB platform. It takes no more than 2 minutes to activate it on your page, which is amazingly about how long it’ll take for a patient to schedule an appointment with you after clicking it.*
    • Here’s how you do it:
      • You’ll see a button located in the bottom right corner of your cover photo called ‘Create A Call To Action.’ From there it’s really straight forward. Just select ‘Book Now’ from the drop down menu. Input your web scheduling link in both website and mobile fields. Click ‘Next.’ Select iOS destination by selecting ‘Website.’ Do the same thing with the Android destination. That’s it! Your CTA button should be created now.

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  • Shortlink in cover photo description
    • When you actually change your timeline cover photo you’ll have the opportunity to add a description to it. I would recommend to type few details about your practice or current special and include a shortlink that will take patients to your online scheduler. Creating as many easy opportunities for patients to schedule with you. If it’s a Facebook scheduler, that’s even better. People sometimes put their guard up when redirected away from FB so we want to avoid that ,if possible. Every time you update your cover photo make sure you include a description that includes a shortlink to your scheduler and a really strong call to action. The great thing about uploading a new timeline cover photo is that it gets out into people’s newsfeeds and they will see your status update, including the link to the scheduler that you included. BONUS: if anyone likes that status, all of their friends will be able to see it too! A really great incentive to make sure that your cover photo is engaging.

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*NOTE ABOUT CTA’s: The trick to truly capturing online appointments is to make it as easy as possible. Allowing your patients to book online, at any time, will open up a whole world of possibilities for growth. Imagine a potential patient is ready and excited to book with you and they click on your CTA button or the shortlink next to your cover page at 11pm. That link then takes them to a contact page with instructions on how to get in touch with you to schedule an appointment!… Wait. What? You just instantly cut off all that momentum. Now they have to either leave a voicemail or wait until tomorrow to call you. And let me tell you, they’ll probably forget. Even if it’s an appointment request system where they choose 3 different dates and you’ll get back to them etc., it’s still a lot to ask for, not to mention unsatisfying since now they have to wait to hear back from you. But that’s not all. It will only create more work for your staff who now has try to fit that person in using only those couple of options, and then track that patient down to confirm. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But if you have a true web scheduler, within 2 minutes of clicking on that ad, that person will have a confirmed appointment to see you. Two minutes for them, no work for your staff. That’s money in your pocket while you were asleep. Not too shabby.

That’s all I have for you today. If you have any questions or need any clarification feel free to comment below. I’ll do my best to keep up with responses.

If you haven’t signed up for getting email notices every time a new strategy is out, make sure to do so in the side bar.

Stay tuned for the next week when we discuss how to get your patients to follow you!

 

Further reading:
PART 1: Welcome to the Facebook Series
PART 3: 4 Steps to Getting Your Patients to Follow You on Facebook
PART 4: How to Adjust Ads to Maximize Results