Dental practices know they need to use social media to stay relevant and attract patients. But how to efficiently do that is the big question. Here are a few reasons for maintaining a social media presence, and how to do that effectively.
Dentistry offers an interesting challenge from a marketing perspective. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like an industry well-suited to likes and shares via social media. But if we delve deeper, we find that our patients are more than happy to share their dental experiences.
Dentists who rely on tried-and-tested marketing methods such as print advertising may be slow to adopt these new trends, but it’s an unfortunate fact that print media is now getting fewer eyes than social media. If you want to go where the people are, you need to build a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
Who should handle social media?
The main concern is that social media will take too much time for any staff members to handle. Dentists are busying with dentistry, so who has time to spend on Facebook replying to messages and posting updates? While many companies outsource this work, keeping this kind of marketing activity in-house is vital for local businesses.
Those who post the updates are the face of your business, and they should be visible when patients walk through the door. This creates immediacy with your social media interactions. Also, some patients will try to book appointments or make inquiries through your social media platforms, no matter how often you ask them to call the office. Sharing social media responsibilities with all team members can help ease the pressure and avoid any one person from falling into the social media time trap.
Reach your local area
Solidifying your position as the local dentist for routine and emergency treatment, or whatever your area of specialty, is a top priority for all dentists. Once patients are happy with their dentist, they will usually stay with the practice unless they move to a new area. For this reason, it’s important to ensure you’re visible in search engines for local search terms. Social media is just one of the signals to Google that you are relevant, so an active social media presence coupled with local SEO efforts will help boost you to the top of Google’s rankings. Social proof is also an important factor when growing your patient base. People are more likely to register with a practice if they can see that their friends have interacted with the practice.
Diversify your offering
A strong social media following is a great way to ensure that product and treatment launches are easily publicized without a huge budget. Your social media audience can act as your focus group before launching a new service, or they can provide customer testimonials that can be repurposed across multiple platforms, including your practice website.
Be responsive to demand
Keeping your appointment books full is a major concern for many dentists, and social media offers a very responsive platform to help fill in the gaps. It is very timely and allows the practice to respond to the peaks and troughs of demand. Slow week? Social media will allow the office to push out an update that features a special offer or check-up reminder, and then it can be boosted for a small fee to reach a wider audience.
Dentists can easily make use of social media to help keep their books full, get feedback on their services, and launch new products and procedures. Keeping it in-house will lead to a more authentic experience, allowing you to build on your local audience for years to come.
Laura Howarth is a search marketing professional writing on behalf of Dental Solutions, a private dentist based in Lymm, Cheshire.