If your practice isn’t active online, then it basically doesn’t exist to today’s modern patients. Learn what you can do to draw more attention to your practice and increase the number of your patients through effectively utilizing social media to your benefit.
Why Your Practice Needs Social Media
Social networking holds the most potential for reaching the widest audience for the lowest cost. It’s cheap to learn how to use. It doesn’t take much time to stay active. And, it can produce great returns in the long run. Plus, consider these three other reasons why your dental practice needs to be active on social media.
First, social media provides your practice with high visibility to a lot of people. The number of people and businesses with social media accounts is staggering. We’re talking billions of users. Here are a few facts:
- Facebook drives more referrals than any other social platform.
- 45% of business-to-business marketers have gained a customer through LinkedIn.
- Approximately 81% of American women trust Pinterest as an authoritative source of news and information.
- YouTube has greater reach than any cable network for the 18-49 age group.
There is absolutely no other way to reach a wider audience than by using social media networks.
Second, social media provides personalized connectivity with potential clients and other industry professionals. Social media is a primary driver of trust and authority. It enables you to easily connect with other leading dentists, potential business partners, media professionals, marketing and public relations experts, and event organizers. These connections can lead to invitations, sponsorships, and other opportunities that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Third, social media can enhance your personal image and self-promotion. In order for your business to be noticed and recognized for its niche in the marketplace, creating online buzz about your business is essential. Social media gives you the opportunity to build a following and increase brand recognition in your community.
How to Post Successfully
In order to enjoy a successful social media marketing campaign, there are some important things to remember. Follow these golden rules:
- Post often.
- Monitor your newsfeeds.
- Link back to your own website and Facebook page.
- Utilize keywords.
- Make your posts interactive by asking your audience questions or encouraging them to “like” something.
- Follow other dentistry-related practices, associations, bloggers, and product manufacturers.
- It’s better to update regularly on one or two social media platforms rather than infrequently updating on five or six.
- Make your website mobile friendly.
- Respond to questions, reviews, and concerns quickly and positively.
If all of this seems too overwhelming or too time consuming for you and your practice, there is the option of partnering with a professional social networking expert or internet marketing firm who has successfully managed social networking campaigns for other practices.
What You Should Say
“You can’t fake engagement and connection,” says Dr. Spencer Updike of South Temple Dental in Salt Lake City, Utah. “You need to do it genuinely. You need to create a relationship with your current and potential patients. It’s truly the only way to get them into your practice time and time again.”
Therefore, no matter what you post online, make sure it’s quality content that adds value to those who see or read it. Here are a few examples of how you can engage an online audience:
- Educational blog posts with keywords help online users find topics they are researching. For example, if someone types “professional teeth whitening in San Francisco” into the search bar, your blog about different teeth whitening procedures might jump to the top of the results list if you have those specific keywords included in your article.
- Patient testimonials posted on your homepage might give potential patients the confidence they need to give your office a call and set up an appointment.
- “Before-and-after” pictures posted on Instagram are an invaluable way to show your practice’s capabilities.
- A YouTube how-to video showing the correct way to floss can reach an innumerable amount of people.
- Asking your patients to leave you an unbiased review on Yelp can boost your ratings. Responding in a positive manner to every review will boost your image even more.
- Tweet an unusual fact about the history of dentistry.
- Create an article about the top ways to alleviate tooth sensitivity, attach an image, and pin it on Pinterest.
- On your Facebook page, host a “Share Your Smile” photo contest with prizes and ask others to “like” their favorites.
- Post job openings on LinkedIn.
“Regardless of how active you are at posting articles, tweets, and pictures online,” says Dr. Glen Stephenson of Prevention Dental of Boise, Idaho, “the most important thing you can do is to just listen. Take notice of what your customers want and find out what your competitors are offering. Then adjust your practice and social media campaign accordingly.”
Tyler Brown is a content specialist for the dental postcard company DentalMarketing.net, specializing in direct mail campaigns. He also manages content for OrthodonticMarketing.net, specializing in direct mail postcards for orthodontists.