Time to get social! If your dental practice has yet to discover the power of social media, or if you're ready to take your social swagger to the next level, then Rachel Mele is the person to talk to. In her new book, 365 Days of Social Posts for Dentistry, Mele teaches how to make social media fun, engaging, and profitable.
I recently had the chance to talk to Mele about her new book, her favorite social tips, and how she's raising money for oral cancer treatment. Here's what she had to say:
Social media is transforming all aspects of our culture—including dentistry! What inspired you to write the book?
My personal mission is to inspire my family, my friends, my community, and the greater population to educate each other, all through innovative solutions that make it easier to stay engaged and connected. I hope to foster innovations that improve personal health, happiness, and fulfillment globally. Writing this book fit perfectly into that mission.
I have been collecting social media post ideas from dental practices and dental manufacturers for the last decade. I’ve seen some of the most engaging social media posts—ones that went viral and the practice didn’t even know it. I’ve also seen some of the worst social media posts from dental practices (they look like scenes from a ghost town). I’ve shared some of these posts with dental publications, including Apex360 (for example, "10 Election Day Social Media Posts for Dental Practices" and "10 Halloween Social Media Posts for Dental Practices"). I also knew I wanted to turn the best of the best into a book that any practice could use to engage with their patients . About eight months ago I decided to make it official, and weeded through my favorite posts. Today, we have a book, 365 Days of Social Posts for Dentistry.
Who is this book for, and how should they use it?
Across dental practices, I often find there is no single person with a single title who is in charge of social media. In some practices, it’s the dentist herself who writes and shares social media posts with her patients. In other practices, they have a dedicated social media leader who is in charge of the practice's online marketing. 365 Days of Social Posts for Dentistry is intended for anyone in the practice who is currently active in marketing their dental practice, or anyone who is considering taking on that role.
Tell us a great social media success story!
One of my all-time favorite social media posts was a practice that took a video of a patient seeing her smile for the first time after getting her braces off. The video was raw and real. In this 30-second video, the patient, a young girl around 17, looked into the mirror and screamed with delight. She then analyzed her teeth and hugged her best friend who had joined her for the appointment. The video was posted on the doctor’s YouTube channel and has since gone viral (viewed more than 10,000 times). It was a special moment of the patient and an incredible opportunity for the practice to showcase the impact it has on patients every day. There are opportunities like this that occur in the practice, and they tell a story that other patients and prospective patients can relate to. Posts like these are social media successes!
If you had to pick, what are five of the best social media ideas you have in the book.
It's hard to choose, but here are my top five:
- In the book, on April 18 I describe a social post from a practice that caught a patient humming a song during a dental visit. The practice got permission to post a video of the patient. On social media, the practice’s followers tried to guess the song he was humming.
- August 15 talks about a dentist who created his own version of a popular song and turned it into his own music video. This particular dentist has a special talent in the videos he creates (check out “Singing Dentist” on YouTube).
- April 21 is "Look-alike Day." I’ve seen practices take advantage of this day in a couple of different ways. My favorites include a practice whose staff all dressed up like the doctor for the day, and another practice that posted a collage of photos of their dentists next to look-alike celebrities. The practice then asked patients to guess which celebrities their dentists most looked like.
- In the book, there are a bunch of days dedicated to dental shopping. For example, on August 2 the post is about these heels ladies can buy that have teeth as their base. Patients get super engaged with fun social posts like this.
- There are about a dozen “dental holidays” in the book. December 3 is "National Cookie Day," and it's a great day to have someone on the team bake cookies in the shape of a tooth to post on social media. Patients will take selfies with their post-treatment cookies!
If I'm a dentist-owner, how do I know if my social media is working right?
Your social media is working if your patients are engaged with you on social media. If you post and no one likes or comments or shares your posts, ever, well then your social media approach is likely not working. One of the best ways to combat this is to create the conversation initially. Get your entire team to like, comment, and share each of your social posts. The challenge is that no one wants to be the first person to like or comment on a post, so if you can give your posts a boost by showing engagement, others will want to get involved.
All proceeds of the book are being donated to the Oral Cancer Cause (oralcancercause.org). Tell us more about that!
Oral Cancer Cause (OCC) is an incredible organization. OCC’s purpose is to improve the quality of life for oral cancer patients through financial support, so that they may face the world with peace and dignity during and after medical treatment. OCC is an organization I’m passionate about because the founder, Linda Miles, has been a mentor of mine in this dental profession for many years. I cannot thank her enough for everything she’s done to help me progress in my career. There are many organizations dedicated to conducting research on oral cancer, and those organizations are great too, but there isn't another organization that helps the people struggling with the disease to, for example, pay their mortgages because they lost their jobs, or cover costs of daycare so that they can get treatment. It’s an honor to be able to support such a great cause.
How can I get the book, and do you have plans to write another one?
365 Days of Social Posts for Dentistry is available via rachelmele.com as both a hardcover and e-book. The book can also be purchased on Amazon.
Yes, I do have plans to write another one! Actually, I am in the process of working with several dental manufacturers to create supplemental books that focus on specific topics. For example, “30 Days of Patient Financing for Social Media” is a supplement I’m working on with CareCredit that practices can use to educate their patients about their financing options.
Zachary Kulsrud is senior editor of PennWell's dental group. He serves as chief editor of Apex360 and managing editor of Dental Economics, and oversees the editorial team of DentistryIQ and Perio-Implant Advisory. His background includes work in advertising and broadcast production.
MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR:
15,000 patients a day: Exclusive interview with Bob Fontana, CEO of Aspen Dental Management Inc.
Dental school disruption 101: The story of CRET
The making of master craftsmen: Inside the groundbreaking Hu-Friedy apprenticeship program
Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360 is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.