It is big (400+ million users big) and it is powerful. Facebook has changed the way we meet, work, share information, and do our jobs. Employers will often view an applicant’s profile on Facebook before calling for an interview; the Israeli army checks the status updates of conscientious objectors who claim to be Orthodox to verify that they are religiously observant; and savvy marketers will mine profile data to target users whose interests and demographics make them a likely customer.

How can you use Facebook to grow your practice? The first and most important thing to remember about Facebook is that your contacts are called “friends” for excellent reason; this is first and foremost a social networking site. Your Facebook page, like your website, should be content rich, with information about you, your practice, and your areas of expertise. But it should also be friendly and conversational and it should be updated regularly. If all of this Facebook activity sounds like a lot of work, it is. That is why we are here.

Beyond simply establishing a presence on Facebook, you might consider adding a few Facebook ads to your marketing program. The advantage of Facebook ads is that you can choose to make them visible only to users who are in a desired location and are your target gender and age. You can further refine the audience by including education level and keyword interests of the user, making this a very strategic ad buy.

Here at MPS, we do not think ads that attempt to sell work very well on Facebook or, for that matter, on any other social media site. Instead, they work best as drivers that promote awareness. For example, you can use Facebook’s events application to promote your upcoming Botox party and run an ad that promotes it. Or you could run an ad describing a new procedure that links to more information on your homepage or invites them to learn more on your website.