Doctors Seeking Lasting Results Won’t Find Them on Facebook

facebook postsIf you’ve been wondering why your Facebook posts haven’t been generating much interest, a new study may have the answer.

Turns out that marketing content posted on the world’s largest social network has a surprisingly short shelf life. According to the study, people stop engaging with such content — posting comments, providing feedback, etc. — after just 18 hours.

Conducted by OMD, a global communications company, the study analyzed the brand pages for TV networks but the findings offer food for thought for aesthetic professionals, as well. Coupled with the limited reach of Facebook posts in general, that short shelf life suggests that relying on Facebook for your online marketing may be missing the mark.

There are things you can do, however, to improve engagement on your brand page. According to the study, the best days for posting were Thursday and Friday while Sundays and Tuesdays were the worst. Likewise, adding a photo or video extended the shelf life by 9% and 16%, respectively.

Still, that’s a pretty slight increase — just 1.5 to 3 hours — especially when you compare it to other forms of media.

As Colin Sutton, U.S. director of OMD Word, who oversaw the study, notes, a single YouTube video can generate links, comments and other feedback for weeks, months or even years.

Doctor Takeaways

1. Facebook is a way-station, not a destination

Many doctors are told by consultants that a Facebook page is a place to build up a bigger presence, but it’s really only a temporal point of potential engagement with a “fan”. Invest time and resources with this in mind.

2. Doctors need to act like publishers if they hope to get continuous results from social media

The faster that people tune out content on all content channels, the more crucial it is to routinely generate quality content. Posting every so often won’t deliver an ROI.

3. Write for your audience not for yourself

Short window aside, the key to converting Facebook fans into clients is to be helpful, informative, etc., not to hit them over the head with a sales pitch or self-promoting posts. Compelling stories, useful information and other reader-friendly content is what keeps people coming back, which has been shown to boost visits to brand sites by 85 percentage points. In fact, according to a recent study by Compete.com, fans who “liked” a brand and visited its brand page two or more times were four times more likely to visit that brand’s website than those who “liked” the brand but only visited once.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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