Facebook is a powerful conduit for connecting people with each other around the world. It's also a highly effective and simple way for businesses to communicate with not only their existing customers, but their potential ones as well. As an Ayurvedic professional, it’s important to use Facebook as another way to interact with your clients and also attract new ones - but with the right attitude, conduct and goals in mind!
There are a variety of marketing channels for Ayurvedic professionals to build up both a local and online community around their practice. Social media is an important and even essential channel for building this connection with your clients by reaching them online where many of them are likely most active.
Over 1 billion people are on Facebook, making it the social media network with the largest audience. There are other social networks like Instagram that Ayurvedic practitioners should take advantage of too, especially when trying to reach younger people, but since Facebook is the social channel with the largest following it’s important to understand how to present yourself on this network first!
Once you’ve established your personal conduct and marketing strategy on Facebook as a health practitioner, you can then present yourself on Twitter, LinkedIn and other major social networks. It’s always important to have a planned approach to how you’re going to market yourself and your practice, which is why you should focus on one network at a time before adding another to be active on.
1. Match Your Facebook Plan to the Needs of Your Patients
Whether you’re active on your own personal Facebook profile or you have a business Facebook page set up for the spa you work at or your own practice, share news, tips and advice about your expertise - whether it’s diet tips, recipes, ways to improve mental health, Dosha recommendations, product reviews, etc. The options are endless!
As an Ayurvedic professional, it’s your task to help improve the health of your patients - and Facebook can help to further your cause. Use Facebook (and eventually other social channels) to share actionable knowledge about your Ayurveda expertise.
Continue to share this actionable knowledge with your growing network to match the expectations your current (and future) clients will have.
At the same time, it’s still okay to share personal content unrelated to your career on Facebook, just as long as the right people see this content. This can be controlled by editing the privacy of each post, or only sharing it on your personal Facebook profile page and keeping your business page more professional.
If you’re using a Facebook business page, all the content shared on that page is public by default.
2. Set Boundaries on Your Social Media Accounts
When it comes to how you interact with current or former patients on Facebook, always respect their privacy and personal space.
On Facebook, your main goal as an Ayurvedic professional is to provide valuable, educational content and encourage interesting discussions that will remind your online community of your in-depth knowledge on the subject for the next time they may want to book a consultation or need help with a health problem.
But keep in mind that communicating with your patients or posting on your page too frequently on Facebook can come off more as "spam" and "sales" and less like an honest desire to reach out.
Keep in mind the following best practices to establish clear boundaries surrounding your Facebook use that will help strengthen your relationships and avoid offending anyone.
- Keep your Facebook account clean and appropriate at all times, even when it comes to private posts.
- Respect the privacy of your clients' health history at all times.
- If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not to share a piece of content, ask for someone else's opinion and wait to post it until you have a clear idea of why you want to. Decide whether it will foster trust between you and your online community.
- With privacy in mind, never identify anyone as a client unless they've explicitly told you it's okay.
- Never ignore comments on your posts. Replying back ensures you’re respecting the needs and interests of your followers, and shows your community that you are really paying attention.
- Let your patients and community members do a majority of the "friending" and "liking" to ensure it’s on their terms and you're not encroaching on their personal space or coming off as "spammy."
3. Keep Privacy and Legal Concerns in Mind
Like we mentioned above, privacy and legal concerns should be at the top of your mind when using Facebook professionally. To avoid any issues, it's best to stick to publishing tips, advice, Ayurveda industry news and other content that will help express your healthcare expertise.
4. Build a Strong Network of Connections
Using Facebook on a regular basis to build continued visibility around your Ayurveda practice is a form of content marketing. By continually sharing content around your expertise, you’ll begin to build expectations with your audience as to what type and what quality of content you’ll release in the future.
By sharing content that’s valuable to your audience on Facebook, overtime you’ll be able to build on existing client relationships and also help create new connections. As compared to traditional advertising, content is often viewed as more trustworthy by consumers.
All content (blog posts, photos, recipes, thought, etc.) shared on Facebook should have a visual aspect, a concise explanation of what they'll be reading and a relevant call to action.
For instance, share a cooking tip on Facebook with a photo of the tip in action. Keep the description to about 85 characters long explaining the tip and possibly a call to action to read more about it on your blog.
By combining all those key elements in different combinations, your Facebook posts will get more interactions in the form of likes, clicks, comments and shares.
5. Find the Balance Between Appropriate and Personal
There is a fine line between being both appropriate and personal on Facebook as a natural health professional. You can remain appropriate by not identifying that anyone is your client unless they say it's okay, and of course not releasing any other personal information you’ve collected.
To make the best use of the feedback you receive from your followers and to add a personal touch to your communication on Facebook, simply listen.
Your network of Facebook friends and fans/followers will leave comments and questions on your timeline or message you directly with feedback about your content, the Ayurveda industry and your products and services. If you’re actively listening to this feedback, you’ll be able to detect patterns that can help develop or improve on your products and services and know what type of future content to prepare for your blog and website.
The more you listen and reply to the feedback you receive on Facebook, the more excited your Facebook connections will be to interact with you again and again!
The most ideal circumstance is being recognized as a reliable source of information on Ayurveda while listening to the input of Facebook friends and fans.
Now ask yourself these questions:
- How are you presenting yourself on Facebook?
- Are you using the social network with a focus on building stronger connections with coworkers and patients or just trying to sell, sell, sell? (Definitely more effective to focus on building connections!)
- What types of content can you share on Facebook today and in the coming months to increase your credibility and help your followers?
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