Dentists often gain new patients through referrals. But if you’re opening a practice or struggling for new leads, you need to go beyond review sites and expand your online presence by leveraging the power of social media.
Most people check Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter first thing in the morning, during work breaks, and before going to bed. That’s why social media marketing should be your focus. It will help with patient acquisition and retention, but only if it’s properly set up and leveraged with measurable goals that you can follow.
Like wrong directions, bad advice can lead you off track. If you follow wrong guidance, you won’t attain the desired results and you’ll end up wasting valuable resources. That’s why I’m sharing some of the worst advice I consistently hear about social media marketing, and what you should do instead. By following these tips, you can ensure your dental marketing strategy will work effectively and efficiently.
1. The more social media profiles you have, the broader your audience reach.
You’ve probably heard that being on every social media channel will broaden your audience reach, which might translate into more patients. But the reality is quite different. Building a solid social media presence involves a lot of time and commitment, and if you spread yourself too thin you could seriously hurt your user engagement.
You should not jump on the bandwagon of every hot social media outlet because this is a recipe for failure. It’s better to select the social networks that attract the highest share of your target audience. Once you feel comfortable with the user engagement and customer service you can provide on a social media site, you can expand your presence to another network that’s relevant to your practice.
2. Automate everything you can.
Automation saves time and can help you be consistent across all of your social media platforms. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are good for organizing your posting schedule in advance, bulk uploading, and analyzing user engagement.
However, there is no need to automate all your activities on social media. Instead, it’s good to actively participate in online patient discussions. Regularly monitoring user comments, answering questions, and responding to patients’ online reviews in a timely manner can improvе your customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Social media gives you the opportunity to show the human side of your practice by adopting a casual, personal voice. Keep in mind that sometimes a looser approach could be inappropriate and even offensive. You can be friendly and still be professional. Balance is the key—have a business voice that resonates with your patients. At the same time, interact with them so as to establish yourself as an authority in your field.
4. The more hashtags, the better.
Hashtags allow you to extend your social media reach. However, as a local dentist your content will not stand out if you use too many popular hashtags. For example, #love is a hashtag with millions of posts associated with it.
It’s better to use hashtags that the people in your community use. For example, you can opt for hashtags that include the name of your practice, a local event, or some dental-related keywords such as #toothdecay, #oralhygiene, or #dentalcare. Relevant hashtags can increase the visibility of your content for a longer period of time.
5. Any advertising is good advertising.
Bragging about how great you are and promoting your dental services too often on social media will turn people off. Instead, focus on storytelling and diversifying your content by sharing patient testimonials and useful content that adds value, or creating contests or last-minute promotions.
People enjoy giveaways. Getting your followers involved in online contests will increase your reach.
6.Post everything you can
Being active is good because it helps you stay on top of your followers’ feeds and grabs their attention. However, be sure you read content first to make sure it’s relevant before you share it. Recommending low-quality, unverified information or anything that is not relevant to your community will hurt your reputation and cause your content to fall flat.
You should share posts that consist of:
• Educational materials, for example, articles that highlight the benefits of spending time brushing your teeth, or the effects of good nutrition on oral health,|
• Industry updates such as new clinical products, academic research, innovative procedures that you perform, or the latest x-ray sensors that you have,
Improvements in your practice let patients know that they’re receiving the best possible care.
• Successful dental makeovers,
• Entertaining content such as dental jokes, greetings for national holidays or local events, and office celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, or the arrival of a new baby,
Posts that reveal your positive business culture will boost employee satisfaction and social engagement.
• Visuals that provide insight into your office and services that differentiate you from other practices in the area, such as a complimentary massage or coloring books for children,
Your patients will appreciate things that distract them from pain and bring an element of joy.
• Posts regarding events, and awareness campaigns that support nonprofit local initiatives, such as raising donations for local single moms or homeless people,
• Behind-the-scenes videos as you meet patients, train staff, or provide key practice treatments.
7. The number of your fans is a good indication of your success.
Simply keeping track of the number of your social media followers is not enough to assess the impact of your marketing activities. Moreover, many businesses take the easy way and pay for likes and followers. Inactive social media profiles with thousands of followers will deceive new followers, generate little-to-no buzz around your brand, and generate no ROI. This is why you can drive better results and real patients to you by building a real and organic audience.
You should focus on how your followers consume your content and keep an eye on key performance indicators. These include the reach and impressions of your posts, the number and type of actions taken by users, the traffic to your website from a given social media campaign, the number of calls or messages your practice receives through your social media outlets, and the number of online referrals and social media reviews.
Marketing your dental practice through social media is a long-term commitment that involves attracting your community, engaging them, and providing content they find amusing, useful, and worth sharing. By avoiding the pitfalls discussed here you should be able to sustain a successful social media presence.