Social media CAN help you get new dental patients. Here’s how
Social networking can definitely pay off for dental practices by engaging patients and attracting new patients. There are a few steps to take so staying active on social media is well thought out and organized.
As we all know, dental marketing has dramatically changed in the last decade. With Facebook having more than 1 billion* daily active users, there is no option but to integrate social media into your dental marketing plan. However, dental practices often struggle with properly using social media platforms. If this is the case for you, rest assured that you’re certainly not alone.
Acquiring new patients through social media is not as easy as 1-2-3, but it can certainly be effective if you choose the right platform and share the right content. It’s time to stop viewing these platforms as channels for advertising messages. Instead, view social media as a place to be, well, social! Once you understand this approach then it’s a matter of setting clear objectives on what and how you want to share on social media. Here are seven key points to get you started.
1. Social media responsibility
Make a conscious effort to be consistent with your posts, highlighting patient engagement and successes in your practice. Find a social media enthusiast in your office and make him or her responsible for managing your business pages. This involves capturing the “wow!” moments (experiences patients rave about) and sharing them on social media. Having someone accountable for this task will ensure that posts are timely.
2. Let people know
What good is having social media pages if no one knows about them? Create contests, celebrate patient milestones and holidays and more to get your patients involved. Having them participate on your social media pages will broaden your reach to their family and friends. After all, the most valuable aspect of social media is the ability to share easily with your network.
3. Content calendar
Use a content calendar to plan out activities and when to share posts. This will help maintain the momentum of your social media reach and keep the ideas flowing with fresh content. It’s very important to publish posts regularly to create connection, interest, and engagement with your current and potential patients.
The key is to share stories that have emotional engagement. Share patient experiences, great reviews, team activities, and community events. The stories about real people build personal engagement and resonate well with your patient base.
4. Right content for the right social platform
Make sure to tailor your content to suit the different platforms. For example, on LinkedIn, share dental aspects of cases with peers. For Facebook, share full-profile before and after photos to highlight the impact of your work. Also include patient benefits and patient insights about their experiences.
It’s important to work with the right social network for your target audience. To do so, research which platform has more users in the demographic you’re targeting.
5. Tracking engagement
Building connections, engagement, and trust with patients on social media takes time. Because of this, it’s even more important to track the responses and engagement you receive from posts. Luckily, most of the platforms offer analytics. Give someone the responsibility of monitoring these results.
As important as it is to collect data, it’s also crucial to assess the data and implement changes based on the evaluation. Which posts are getting the most engagement with your followers? What time are most of your fans active on social media? Use this information to learn more about the demographics of your target audience.
Most importantly, ask new patients how they heard about you. Use that data and reference back to that activity. This is another tool to find where your social media presence is effectively engaging.
7. Facebook advertising
Having a presence on social media takes time and patience to build. This process can be accelerated by using targeted Facebook ads. Facebook lets you be very specific with your target market and budget, helping to build momentum behind your social media activity.
In order to see results from your social media pages, shift from “broadcasting” to “chatting.” Share content that will interest and engage your patients with "Likes," shares, and comments. If this is done in a planned and consistent manner and is supported with targeted advertisements, you will reap the benefits with positive results and new patients walking through your door.
* Source: Statistics from the Facebook newsroom
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Minal Sampat, RDH, is a dental professional, speaker, and marketing consultant. She runs Growth Management Marketing LLC, and shows dental practices how to increase their new patient numbers through planned and consistent marketing. Minal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting marketinggmm.com.