Short answer is Yes. Long answer is maybe?
Let's start with the short answer: Yes, your practice should be on Facebook. Every business needs to claim their own real estate on Facebook. This means setting up a page and claiming your practice url. Using my practice for our example in this article; our Facebook url is www.facebook.com/EyeColumbus. If we did not have the Eye Columbus url claimed, any business selling who-knows-what could take it and use it as their own.
Your patients and customers are on Facebook so therefore you should be there too. This is a fundamental branding play. If your patients search for you and you are not there, that can have a more detrimental affect on your brand than expected. Worse yet, your patients could search for you on Facebook and find another company using your name if you do not claim your Facebook url.
The new approach to Facebook today is not, "should I have a Facebook page?", but "how much effort should I put into our Facebook page?".
IS FACEBOOK WORTH IT
If your practice had a Facebook page (or group) in 2008 you were killing it. Back then you could set up a page, gain a loyal following, and feel like a big deal. Unfortunately, today's Facebook isn't as small business friendly, and you have to work at it and invest in order to gain the kind of attention you could have a few years back.
The biggest hurdle is reaching your followers. While it is fairly simple to build a page with many followers, Facebook's algorithm structure makes it difficult for your posts to reach these people. On average for each post you put out on your page you will only reach 10-16% of your followers and is dropping.
PAY TO PLAY
If you want to use Facebook as a positive platform to stay connected with your patients/customers it can be done. You just have to pay for it. By boosting your post, aka paying to play, Facebook will deliver your post in the feed of your chosen demographic.
Facebook, as well as Google are becoming increasingly more weighted in advertising. Why not, in 2013 it was making $1 Billion per quarter in advertising revenue!
If you decide that Facebook is key to your online marketing strategy, you must first decide how much is Facebook worth to your practice. I like to think of Facebook as a monthly subscription service. Is it worth $50/month or is it worth $500/month. Is your goal to push your information to your key market demographics, or to gain followers and hopefully convert them to customers?
For practices that do not currently have a Facebook page, get one. If you need help there are a ton of online resources, or feel free to email us and I'll guide you through it.
For the practices that do, but are struggling with which direction to go. Focus on how much Facebook is worth to your practice and brand. Then focus on what your goal on Facebook is. Breaking it down to basic points helps regain the focus and hopefully eliminate some unnecessary static.