(This post was originally published on April 6th, 2015 and has been updated to be even more amazing!)
While SEO, custom website content, and digital advertising are all effective tools for improving traffic to your practice website, Facebook is a great way to improve traffic. In fact, research by Shareholic found that Facebook drives more website traffic than any other social platform, including Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
More traffic to your practice website doesn’t just mean more opportunities to convert visitors into clients for improved practice profitability. More traffic helps boost your practice website’s ranking in search engines, which improves your online discoverability by pet owners and potential to attract and convert even more clients. At the same time, increased discoverability in search engines leads people to check out your Facebook page, which supports an outwardly expanding cycle for practice growth.
To get this working for your practice, it’s important to understand the relationship between your Facebook page and your website.
Your Facebook page is like a barbecue happening on your front lawn and your website is the building where you run your practice. On Facebook, you’re presenting people with the opportunity to get to know you a bit better and figure out whether they like you as people. While some may feel an immediate connection and decide to book an appointment right then and there, most people will feel compelled to learn more about you before deciding whether they’ll make an appointment. Your Facebook page effectively opens the front door of your practice to allow people a chance to peek inside, see what’s there and meet your staff, which leads pet owners closer to deciding, “I like this practice. I trust them to provide optimal care for my pet. I’ll make an appointment.”
The trick is to make it easy for people at your barbecue to take that peek inside your practice. Here are seven tips to help you prop the door open:
1. Optimize your Facebook page for website clicks
People can’t click through to your practice website if they can’t find the link. So, put it everywhere that makes sense. A few examples:
- Your About tab
- Event Pages
- Every post that invites people to call or visit
Don’t forget Facebook Milestones. If you have a Milestone for “Moved to a New Address,” include the link to the page on your website that has directions to your practice. If you have a Milestone for when you began offering a new service, include a link to your Services page. You get the idea.
You should also consider adding a call-to-action (CTA) button to your profile. As a handy little feature that appears at the top of your Facebook page next to the Like button, the CTA can be linked to the webpage of your choosing. Facebook CTA buttons can also help customers reach you through Messenger, email, or phone, or even book a service or shop for products. To easily add a CTA button to your Facebook page, click here to go to Facebook’s how-to page.
2. Consistently post fresh blog content on your website
Posting links to funny cat videos on YouTube or someone else’s pet health articles is a great way to engage and entertain followers. Yet posting links to someone else’s website obviously drives traffic to their website and not yours.
By consistently writing and posting fresh blog content on your website and posting links to that content in Facebook posts, you steadily provide your followers with something fresh and interesting, which keeps them coming back for more. Moreover, Google favors websites that frequently post new content, meaning that fresh content helps improve your website’s ranking in search engines.
3. Optimize your content for sharing
Once you post a new blog, make it simple for people to share that content with others on Facebook. Including social sharing buttons provides one-step simplicity for people to share your content to their own timeline for friends to see (and hopefully click). For more info about Facebook’s sharing functionality, click here to go to Facebook’s Help Center page.
4. Use big images
Posts with photos get more engagement (including Likes, comments, shares, and clicks) than posts with text alone. Optimal dimensions for images that look good on Facebook is 1200 X 628 pixels. For crisper, cleaner-looking images on Facebook, you can double the pixel dimensions but keep the ratio for an image that’s 150 DPI (dots per inch). Facebook will compress the image for display but nothing will be lost and your image will look crisp.
5. Craft compelling text
The text you include with your link could win—or lose—the click. You want to describe the content in enough detail to give readers a reason to leave Facebook and click through to your website without sounding spammy. Some best practices:
- Remember that people hate clickbait. They may click through to your content, but if they quickly leave your website (or “bounce from your site), that’s bad for both your Facebook reach and your website’s search ranking.
- Avoid writing in all-caps (which is the equivalent of shouting). The odd use of all-caps is fine where warranted but having all-caps text in every teaser post is a turnoff and may cost you followers
- Use a friendly, conversational tone, and don’t be afraid to use humor. Remember, you’re at a barbecue. Write your Facebook posts the way you’d chat with people at a social gathering. After all, Facebook is a social channel.
- Write blog titles that compel people to click through from Facebook. The blog title shows up in the link preview, meaning it becomes part of your post. So, an irresistible title goes a long way to getting the click.
6. Turn Likers Into Followers
Just because someone Likes your posts doesn’t mean they’re following your page, which means they may miss posts, and you may miss traffic-building opportunities in the process. To remedy this, simply ask people to follow your page. If they like your posts, there’s little reason why they wouldn’t enjoy an invitation to follow your page. Here’s how to find the information you need:
- Go to the bottom of any post.
- Hover over where the reactions to a post are listed and you’ll see a pop-up list of names of everyone who’s reacted to a post.
- Click on the names and you’ll see a list of everyone who’s reacted to a post.
- Anyone who doesn’t already follow your page will have an Invite button next to their name.
- Click on any Invite button to invite a person to follow your page.
That’s it! You’ve just invited more people to your barbecue!
7. Update Your Website
Driving more traffic from Facebook to your website is all well and good, but what they discover when they arrive can make all the difference in turning a visitor into a client. Websites that look out of date can drive a visitor away, never to return. Attractive, modern-looking websites with optimal functionality compel visitors to remain on your website and explore further, which increases your chances of new business.
To see the kind of websites we mean, click here to visit LifeLearn’s WebDVM page.
Custom-built to rank veterinary practices higher on Google and other search engines, LifeLearn WebDVM websites help attract more pet owners and convert those pet owners into clients by directly addressing the changing online preferences of pet owners and delivering what they want and expect.
This includes websites with the kind of clean, attractive designs that LifeLearn is known for.