When I started my private practice business a few years ago, Facebook had just started to really take off. I only had a personal page, which I used to post pictures of my kids and talk about my life as a mother of two young boys. I also wanted to connect with my breastfeeding clients, but felt awkward sharing my personal life with them, at least on a semi-daily basis. That’s when I knew that it was time to launch my business Facebook page.
You may ask, “How important is it to have a Facebook presence?”
My answer is: Extremely important!
While you may not connect with your friends and family through Facebook, your clients and patients do…. And on a regular basis! So, why miss this opportunity to continue your conversation with them?
Who should have a business Facebook page?
• Anyone or any business that wants more patients and clients.
• Private practice Lactation Consultants, Lactation Consultants in non-profits, lactation organizations, anyone who is looking to increase business through marketing
• It is imperative if you have a blog and/or private business.
Why Facebook could be good for your business?
• The new generation of mothers is not getting their information from traditional marketing arenas (i.e. newspapers, TV, radio, email blast). Instead, they are looking to engage with content. They want something interactive, engaging, and informal (hence, Facebook)
• When Lactation Matters posted Jane Morton’s article on Hand Expression of the 384 views to the article, 224 were ‘referred’ from Facebook. It is a way to share your message.
• When I posted an article about Creating a Breastfeeding Basket , it got picked up by Kellymom and Hygeiababy, all because they found the article mentioned on my Facebook business page. My San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog also received over 700 unique hits that day. These are all potential people talking about my business and breastfeeding support.
• You can engage with your audience, clients, and followers in your niche groups by posting articles, questions, surveys.
• You can share great information with your followers. You can follow others in your niche group. You can enable a conversation.
A Few Key Rules to Keep in Mind:
• Keep your Facebook posts on a professional level, not a personal level. Think about what you want your clients and colleagues to know about you. They don’t need to see pictures of your grandkids’ birthday party, unless it is pertinent to an article you are posting.
• NEVER share info about clients, patients, etc. Remember your HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ) laws and keep your posts out of other people’s personal lives.
• Don’t post the same content or links over and over again. Your followers will ‘hide’ you, or worse, stop ‘liking’ you.
• Share great, pertinent information that you think your followers will find useful.
• Answer followers comments
• Follow other business pages that are using Facebook well. Share their information and comment on their pages.
So, take that first step into Social Media. Create your Facebook business page. Start engaging with your clients and colleagues in a meaningful way. It’s amazing what you will learn!
Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC is the owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. She can be found playing around with social media on her website’s blog, her San Diego Breastfeeding Center Facebook page, and SanDiegoBFC Twitter account. She is also the co-editor of ILCA’s blog, Lactation Matters.