Facebook is one of the best advertising options for local healthcare providers because the costs can be as low as 2 pennies per ad-view (all inclusive) and the targeting can include age, profession, interests, and very specific geography. For most subscribers to this blog, the answer is “Facebook should be the only social media where you invest your advertising dollars.” Here’s why.

Facebook is the Largest Social Medium

One, Facebook is the largest by far, so you can achieve the greatest reach on Facebook. Roughly seven out of ten Americans use Facebook. The next largest social medium is Instagram with four out of ten Americans on it. However, advertising on Facebook automatically distributes your ads on Instagram as well. The third largest social medium is Pinterest, followed by LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter, in that order.

Facebook and Instagram have the Most Engaged Users

Seventy-four percent and sixty-three percent of Facebook and Instagram users are on it at least daily, respectively. Snapchat, Youtube, and Twitter users all visit less frequently, as a group. Facebook ads give you more potential to have your ads seen more often.

Facebook and Instagram have the Best Targeting

Age Targeting

Facebook is the only social media that will let you target your ads by age. Most other social media have audiences that skew very young. Facebook, celebrating its sweet 16 in 2020, has an aging audience which is great for healthcare. Add to that the ability to focus your ads on the age groups most relevant to your services, and your Facebook ads are in the best position for better return on investment.

Geographic / Income Targeting

In qualified hands, Facebook offers very good geographic targeting that can be used to only serve your ads in your service area, but there’s more. Facebook has the data to figure out the difference between people passing through and people who live or work there. With some professional touches, Facebook campaigns can be optimized to not waste advertising dollars on people who are not regularly in your service area. Furthermore, geography can be used to target income levels. For instance, for private-duty home care agencies, we can target only the high-income zip codes or even specific neighborhoods. Conversely, to help advertise Medicaid-funded services, we can target very specific areas around Section 8 housing or use other indicators to advertise in areas where there is a higher concentration of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Targeting Doctors and Discharge Planners

Without Facebook, physician newsletters sent by mail and sending representatives would be the only ways most providers could advertise specifically to doctors and discharge planners locally. However, in the right hands, Facebook campaigns can target by multiple factors that let you single out doctors, but also the right types of doctors for your provider-type. For instance, if you are marketing a Medicare-certified home health agency, you want your ads to go to orthopedic surgeons but not to dentists. Facebook targeting can be fine enough to make that distinction.

Adding Other Social Media to Your Marketing Mix Does Not Expand Your Potential Reach

Most people who use social media use Facebook and others. This is especially true for the more valuable age-35+ audience. The audiences of other social media such as Pinterest and Twitter have more than 90% overlap with Facebook.

Switching Media Increases Time and Costs

You should have multiple media in your marketing mix. However, there needs to be a good reason for each different medium, because switching media increases costs. The ads you design for Facebook have to be redesigned and reprogrammed to work well on Twitter, and then redone again to work well on Pinterest. This will either increase the time you have to devote to advertising management or increase costs. To increase reach or frequency of your social media ads, it’s more cost-efficient to simply increase your budget and adjust your targeting in Facebook.  

Doesn’t a Diversified Media Mix Add Credibility to Advertising?

Yes, people hold in higher regard ads / companies they see in more than one place. For instance, if a doctor never sees anything from a home health agency other than the community liaison, that would connote less credibility than when the doctor sees the liaison from a different home health agency plus social media advertising, direct-mail newsletters, and billboards. That being said, this effect is probably stronger when you switch media entirely (e.g. print, search, social, sales, signage), compared to just switching channels withing one category.

This Point Does Not Apply to All Online Advertising, Just Social

 Just to be clear, we’re not talking about all online advertising here. This article is to point out the inefficiencies of splitting your social advertising budget between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Even when you are advertising on Facebook, most healthcare providers should also be advertising in search results. This goes back to the efficiencies achieved when push and pull advertising are done simultaneously.

We’re Excluding YouTube

This analysis excludes YouTube. YouTube actually has slightly more users than Facebook. Additionally, YouTube recently added the ability to target by age and income. However, for most of our clients, the cost of quality video production interferes with the return on investment. This and other factors around YouTube make it a bad fit for our clients which tend to be local-market, community-based and outpatient healthcare providers.  

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