For those of you who have read my cash-practice guidebook, you already know that I predicted this move by Facebook back in 2011. But let’s be honest … who cares if Facebook is creating a search engine? How could that possibly matter to your PT clinic? Don’t be so quick to brush this one off as unimportant. In this post I’ll cover what this new search engine will be like, share an excerpt of my book explaining the smart way to choose a Business Page Title and Custom Facebook URL (which can be changed if you already have one), and cover why this move into search will make using a Facebook business page ever more important for your practice.
The new search engine is called Graph Search. It is not yet released to the public on a large scale, and it will not be like the other major search engines. Staying true to its socially connected nature, when someone does a search on Facebook, the results will be largely dependent on their Facebook friends’ likes/comments/interactions with the things they are searching for.
It is still in its infancy and the search algorithm will certainly change a lot over time, but things like page keywords, custom url, and other forms of content on a page will also have an influence on the search results people get. The implications of this are incredibly important and are the premise of my assertion that having a Facebook business page will become increasingly more important for your clinic. This article at TheDailyBeast.com does a nice job of summarizing Graph Search, and here is an introduction to Graph Search from Facebook itself.
My experience with Facebook
Up to this point, I have only had a few new patients who found my clinic due to Facebook. It generally occurred because one of their friends liked or commented on one of my business page posts, which they saw on their news feed and compelled them to visit my page. They liked what they saw and called for an appointment, or they clicked through to my website and then made the call.
However, with Facebook moving into search, I think progressively more people will be using it to search for local services in the future. They will understand that if they are seeking a local service, by searching for it on Facebook they will essentially be getting recommendations from their friends rather than from Google or Bing. When they search for Physical Therapy in their area, will you have a consistently utilized, highly liked, and interaction-rich business page that pops up at the top of the results?
How to benefit from Facebook search
Now I’m going to paste a small excerpt from the Facebook section of my cash-practice guidebook to explain a not-so-well-known way to capitalize on Facebook’s move into search.
Keywords, The Custom URL, and the Virtual Real Estate Land Grab
You may notice that my practice’s Facebook page “name” is not simply “Carter Physiotherapy.” It’s “Carter Physiotherapy – The Manual Physical Therapy Experts of Austin.” Why? It is a great way to load the page with the keywords I want to target. Facebook is a continuously changing thing so this may not be the case in the future, but I believe at the moment you can change a page name only once. So keep that in mind if you already have a business page and want to alter the name based on the information here.
Once you get at least 25 ‘likes,’ you can get a custom Facebook URL for your page. For example: www.facebook.com/physicaltherapymastersoftheuniverse. See http://www.facebook.com/username/ when you are ready and eligible to choose a custom URL. Note: the page “name” is chosen during the initial page setup process and is different from the page custom URL.
For those who already knew about the possibility of a Facebook custom URL, they usually just inserted their company name after “www.facebook.com/”. When you look at my Facebook business page, you’ll notice that the URL is www.facebook.com/manualphysicaltherapyaustin. Why didn’t I just put “Carter Physiotherapy” after the backslash? Similar to the page name keyword technique above… when people start to use Facebook to search for local services like Physical Therapy, do you think they will be searching for “Carter Physiotherapy” or for “Physical Therapy in Austin”? Is it starting to make sense now?
If you haven’t already, go to a domain-name sales website like GoDaddy.com and try to find a highly valuable URL that’s still available for $12. You’ll find that it’s a lot like going to Southern California and seeing if there’s any nice cheap beachfront property that nobody happened to see just yet. But with the explosion of Facebook and the fact that they offer custom URLs, it’s like doing the above real estate search in 1920. Those who have learned about the custom URL and stuck their company name on it didn’t realize where this is all heading. The moral of this long story is that you should make your custom URL rich with keywords. The keywords you know people are using to find your services are the words you want to have in your custom URL. Use your company name as the page name, use keywords in your URL (or both, like me). Since not a lot of people and business owners know about this, especially in the PT field, it’s likely (at the time of this writing) that you can still get the best custom Facebook URL in your area. For example, I just checked www.facebook.com/LosAngelesPhysicalTherapy and it was not yet taken! So do your keyword research, start your business page, get your 25 ‘likes,’ and stake your claim.
(Author’s note: Since writing my cash-practice guidebook two years ago, the url http://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesPhysicalTherapy has been taken… by one of my guidebook purchasers! Well done, Jason! Click over and give him a ‘like’ for being business savvy).
Consistency Does Not have to be Time-Consuming
“But I don’t have the time to get on Facebook every other day and post stuff about my clinic!” First of all, most of your posts should not be about your clinic. See my eBook for guidance and strategies on what to post, how to find it or have it delivered to you, and how to take minimal time doing it all. See this post on how I have my posts scheduled out ahead of time. I’ve trained my assistant to do it all for me once a month and I just quickly check all the stuff she has scheduled to go out. It probably only costs me about $10-20/month to have consistent good content, posts, quotes, etc sent out through both my Facebook business pages (Carter Physiotherapy and DrJarodCarter.com), YouTube, Linked In, and Twitter. Want to get an idea of how it all plays out? “Like”/Follow me via these different channels. Don’t feel like searching for content to link to and post about? If you want, you can just take the health/wellness/PT stuff I link to on my clinic’s Facebook page and post on your clinic’s page. Won’t bother me.
The take home point is this… pages that are consistently updated with good content and compelling posts/pictures/videos etc are the ones that people ‘like’ and interact with. The more people you can compel to ‘like’ and interact with your page, the more likely that it will pop up highest when someone in your area searches for Physical Therapy on Facebook.
If you enjoyed this article, click ‘like’ below and spread the word … this is one that could benefit just about any business owner.
Interested in the cash-based private practice model?
Click Here to learn how to start your own Cash-Based Practice
GREAT article, Jarod.
I learned a few things, and considering I’ve been running an event for Internet Marketing Professionals for over 4 years, that means something, right? 😉
Social media is so new, and changing so fast that it’s really a matter of staying on top of it. Good to know there are smart people like yourself with natural interest and business acumen, doing just that!
keep up the good work.
Thanks so much David! For those reading this, much of what I’ve learned about utilizing the internet to market my PT Practice (video, social media, blogging, free PR techniques, etc), I’ve learned from the speakers at David’s event: The Internet Marketing Party. Videos of every speaker over the past 4 years are at the site available for members, and if I remember correctly they have 3 of the presentation vidoes available for free… definitely worth checking out if you want to beef up your knowledge of using the internet to grow your practice.