Whether you own a small dental clinic or dental group or have a team of dentists, you must have a presence on social media. Why? Because 2.8 billion people were using social media by the end of 2017, according to Digital in 2017 by We Are Social and HootSuite. And the numbers are multiplying day-after-day. Your existing and potential clients are also part of this ever-increasing population of the digital universe. You just cannot miss out on such a large set of an audience if you want to enhance the social media presence of your dental practice. If you haven’t considered investing in social media marketing, now is the time you must start. You don’t have to feel nervous about getting started with social media. In this article, I’ll guide you so that you can start creating a positive social presence of your dental practice.
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Decide the Best-suited Channels
The first step towards creating a successful social media strategy is to decide which social media channels you will use. Different channels have a distinct set of users. Therefore, depending on the demographics you want to focus, you can shortlist some best-suited channels. Today, countless media channels are available that offer opportunities to help you meet your business goals. Therefore, decide your business goals whether you want to create a brand identity, promote your offerings, or generate more leads via social media. Here are some common social media platforms that you can consider for your dental practice.
Facebook: Facebook is considered to be the essential social platform, which is why you cannot miss out on it. You can invite your staff, clients, and other connections to follow your dental clinic’s official page and stay connected with them. Facebook allows you to post your updates regularly, promote them to a broader range of target audience, and also lets you advertise your dental practice with affordable advertisement options.
Twitter: Twitter is yet another helpful channel that allows you to connect with global audiences with the help of hashtags and tweet mentions. Users belonging to different age groups actively use Twitter to stay updated and communicate with their connections.
Instagram: If you have several pictures and videos of your dental clinic, before and after pictures of dental procedures on your patients, etc. then you cannot miss out on Instagram. You can effortlessly showcase the visuals of your clinic, services, and products, and promote your dental profile.
LinkedIn: If you want to connect to other dentists and dental professionals, LinkedIn is an ideal platform. This social media platform is mostly used for professional or business purposes such as building professional connections, lead generation, business expansion, etc. You can also share your industry insights and news, blogs, visual content, and other useful information to educate or inform your followers.
YouTube: When it comes to creating and sharing video content, YouTube is the first social media platform that comes to my mind. Here, you can upload helpful videos, share it globally, and earn millions of click and views.
Pinterest: Just like Instagram, Pinterest is another social media channel that targets people with visual content. Several dentists have created their Pinterest profiles to share the pictures of services and products they provide.
These are some channels that you must use. Apart from these, over 100s of channels are available. Don’t think that you need to be present on all of these platforms for better success. Your aim should be to use a few channels, focus on them, and get the best results from them.
Create and Share Successful Content
Visiting a dentist is often considered to be a painful time. Dentists are generally feared for teeth pulling and providing painful services. You must change this impression of people with the help of fun content. Creating and posting updates that are fun can help you better connect with your audiences. When you communicate the essence of your message that is lighter for your audiences to consume, your content becomes successful. In order to make your social media posts even more successful, consider the following aspects while content creation.
Create a Social Media Calendar
A social media calendar works wonders for your dental business, especially when you have a busy week ahead, or when you are present on multiple platforms. Take out a day or two, plan your social media posts for the entire week or month, use a good social media editorial calendar such as HootSuite, and schedule the posts. This will not only help you save time every day but also keep your profiles updated on important days and occasions.
Inspirations can go a long way to give you ideas for your social media posts and campaigns. Take a look at what other dentists in your area and other parts of the world are doing on their social media profiles. Understand what type of content is working in favor of those dentists and which posts aren’t performing well. Accordingly, you can inculcate similar ideas in your social media marketing strategy. Also, make sure you only get inspired and don’t copy their techniques. For instance, if you see that your competitors and other dentists are giving Women’s Day offers or running a contest and giving away vouchers in return, you can take ideas from these tactics. Don’t copy the campaign as it is. I have seen three dental clinics based in Chicago providing exactly the same kind of discounts if their followers shared the posts to 50 contacts. Copying the marketing tactics look very ugly on social media. However, there is no harm in getting inspired and taking ideas from others.
Focus on Shorter Content
When people are connected to you on your social media profiles, they don’t wish to read long posts. Most people prefer posts and tweets that are concise and descriptive at the same time as the attention span is short. Thus, focus on creating shorter captions, posts, tweets, and updates. Keep it short and interesting by summing it up to 100 words. If you wish to share your blogs, rather than sharing the entire posts, you can share the blog URL with an appealing caption. And if you wish to tell a story or give an example, the only thing you can do is be precise and try to complete it in fewer words. The best tip I can give you to shorten your updates is divide longer posts into multiple ones. For instance, if your post is about ways to prevent decays and cavities, in multiple posts instead of a single long post. This will also create a social media campaign for you for a short duration, and you will have content effortlessly available for your accounts for a particular period. Another way to shorten your posts is by converting them into precise infographics.
Humanize Your Posts
What do you prefer when you are in pain? A touch of comfort and some calming words or bot-like assistance that provides you a straightforward solution? I would personally like to get a solution, but with a human touch to it. The same is the case with most people suffering from dental problems or looking for dental services. People look for social media updates that they feel can empathize with their issues. Therefore, humanize your posts. Whether you are providing helpful tips, answering queries, advertising your brand, or selling a particular service, add a human touch to everything. Make your audiences feel like a ‘human’ is talking to them. Don’t talk AT them, try to talk WITH them by posting engaging content. For instance, if you have done a teeth whitening procedure recently, you can update it on Facebook and Twitter saying “Hannah looks stunning with those pearly whites.”
Use More Visuals
As mentioned above, the interest and attention span of your target audience has come down considerably over the years. And with such limited attention span, your audiences are most likely to scroll through their newsfeeds and miss your textual content. But if you share visual content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels, your posts can experience several eyeballs glued on to them and better reinforcement of your message. Therefore, include more images, videos, GIFs, and infographics in your social media updates.
Once you start posting quality, engaging, and useful content, your followers will expect you to maintain the consistency and help them with what they want. Therefore, do not make the mistake of posting once in a blue moon. Update your social media profiles with exciting posts consistently. If you are wondering how often should you post, the answer is that the numbers differ for every channel. Here is the average number of postings on major social media platforms.
Image source: pinterest.com/pin/16607092357275381
Don’t extend the timeline to even one-post-per-week. You might miss out on genuine followers in either if these cases.
Add More Videos
Did you check your Facebook this morning? Or Twitter maybe? Did you see several videos on your newsfeeds? I am sure you must have because video marketing is the most popular social media trend today. Although YouTube is the most popular platform for sharing and viewing videos, video marketing is no more confined to it alone. More and more businesses are using videos in their social media updates to interest the audiences. According to Social Media Examiner, 60% of marketers used videos in their social media marketing in 2016. But why are businesses and marketers turning to the use of videos on their social media profiles? This is because 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it.
If you are wondering how is the combination of video marketing and social media beneficial for your dental practice, let me tell you that you have a plethora of options available. You can use different types of videos on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles. If you have a new technology or service recently introduced at your dental clinic, shoot a video of 2-3 minutes and share it on your social media profiles. This way your existing, as well as your potential clients, will come to know what new solutions you have for their dental problems. You can also add clips of various home remedies and DIY solutions for minor oral problems such as teeth whitening or getting rid of bad breath. Another idea to use videos is to shoot small videos of festival and occasion greetings for your followers. For instance, you can wish your followers for summer vacations or special days like Thanksgiving day with the help of a delightful video. You can create a graphical video with an appealing design or simply talk to your followers and wish them.
There are endless video ideas that can work wonders for your social media presence. And do you know one of the best parts about posting videos on your social handles? More and more people will share quality video content, and this will give your dental clinic a considerable amount of exposure on social media.
Track the Responses
You may be posting engaging, educative, serious, or fun updates on your social media. You may also post information in the form of text, infographics, videos, or gifs. But what is the use of posting the best of posts on the apt channels, and not knowing how your posts are performing? It’s a total waste of efforts and money. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze your social presence from time to time. Take a look at each type of content and understand what is working well for you. Observe the number of likes, shares, tweets, mentions, and comments on all your posts. You will see that some posts are highly engaging while others may not be interesting to your audiences at all. For instance, you may observe that infographics or educational posts are getting a lot of engagement, while some offers don’t have any response. Accordingly, you can tweak your social media plans for the future. You can include more successful type of content in your strategy, and work on the less popular ones to increase their engagement. This will help you increase the quality of your posts and tweets.
If you are wondering how often should you scrutinize your social media profiles, I would suggest you do it on a weekly basis. By timely analyzing, tracking and measuring the audience behavior, you can monitor the performance of your updates. Use inbuilt tools like Twitter Analytics to analyze the impressions of your posts. To analyze and measure the metrics, you can use a spreadsheet for all the channels. Look at the image below, and you will clearly get an idea of what I am explaining.
As dentists, do you spend most of your free time on social media? The odds are that you actually do. Everybody surfs over their social feeds, keeping themselves updated with what new is happening. Not just for entertainment, but people also go through their feeds to find information about certain topics. Usually, people post videos or images about research studies, medical discoveries, promotional posts, etc. to acquire new leads.
For dentists, social media marketing can provide another avenue for you to compete with other dentists. It also gives you a platform to educate people and share information about dental health. Here are a few reasons why social media marketing is important for dentists.
Social media marketing is a great way for your followers to know about some special discounts or the dental care plans you offer throughout the year. During festivities, you could post about some special plans for child dental care or similar kinds of discount ideas to get more patients. Even if you have mentioned about your discount plans to your patients in your clinic, chances are they might forget about it. But if they follow your social media pages, they can view your post about these discounts and other promotional posts.
With social media marketing, your followers will have complete details about your promotional posts plus they can also hit ‘Share’ to extend your promotion to their friends and family.
Showcasing Expertise Through Dental Advice
Social media marketing doesn’t always have to be advertisements. You could also post relevant and informative content about healthy dental habits on social media pages. You could educate them about certain dental care tips which you didn’t get the time to discuss during your appointments with your patients. You could share advice on how to care for children’s teeth, signs and symptoms for oral or dental diseases, healthy eating tips, etc.
If you are on social media, you can’t just create accounts. You need to be active with your posts to keep the account live for people to follow you. Now, you don’t need to be on social media all day. But sharing images of community events that you have taken part in, sharing helpful dental articles, responding to FAQs or comments on a weekly basis can keep your account alive. By being present and answering questions posted by online users, your followers or potential patients will establish trust in you and know that you are an expert.
Bringing Patients that Haven’t Heard of You
There are a few ways you can achieve this:
Encourage your existing followers to share your promotional posts, blog posts, or a discount ad post with their followers.
Update your profiles regularly and in your posts use industry-relevant keywords that can increase visibility.
Facebook is a commonly used social media platform but in recent times, Instagram has grown powerful in connecting with customers. So if you are considering to use Instagram to reach out to potential patients, then here’s your guide to dental marketing on Instagram. You could also get in touch with us to help grow your online presence with successful social media marketing strategies for other platforms like Twitter and YouTube.
Advertise on Social Media
While scrolling through your social media newsfeeds on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, have you ever seen ‘Promoted’ word below select posts? Do you know how these posts are different from other posts and tweets? They are paid updates, or in simple words, social media advertisements. Most social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram provide the option of advertising. The inbuilt advertisement options provide different ad plans that you can select from. The investment cost differs based on the features and extent of ad reach. Unlike any traditional advertising, social media advertising is more targeted to people with similar interests. You do not have to waste your efforts on the unwanted audience. Through social media advertising, you can also target individuals geographically and based on their interests. Based on multiple segmentation available. With social media ads and promoted content, you can target based on the demographics of your target audience.
Let’s take, for example, Facebook advertising. Facebook offers a number of advertising formats that can be targeted based on the demographics and interest of your target audiences. So, if you only want to advertise your pediatric dentistry services, you can target men and women belonging to the age group of 20-35 years. The ads will appear to parents belonging to this group so that they can choose you for their child’s oral health. In the same way, if you want to push dentistry solutions for older adults, you can target a demographic above the age of 45-50. This way you can run advertisements of your clinic or particular service in the form of photos, videos, carousel, canvas, etc. with a daily, weekly, or monthly budget.
Regardless of how popular the latest marketing tactics are becoming, traditional word-of-mouth is still considered to be credible. This is the biggest reason why we still rely on references from our family and friends. So why not use word-of-mouth publicity on social media? It can be quickly done. Just ask your clients to like or follow your social media profiles and post reviews about your dental clinic. 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a decision or choosing a service provider. Therefore, don’t underestimate the importance of online reviews, ratings, and feedbacks.
Reviews and ratings can be added on Facebook. For Twitter, you can ask your clients to mention you in their review tweets. Talking about Instagram, they can post their feedbacks below your posts, or they can add pictures and videos of your dental clinic and tag your clinic’s profile. Request them to explain their experience with the staff at the dental clinic, and give their feedback about the dental procedures provided to them in a detailed manner. Don’t force them to praise you and your services. Let them be honest and describe their experience. And when you receive feedback and reviews from your clients, make it a point to respond to them professionally and positively within a day or two. This will make your client feel valued too.
Ask Customers to Check-in
This is another way how word-of-mouth (or word-of-posts) can work well on social media. All you have to do here is request your clients to check-in on Facebook at your dental clinic. It may sound silly to your clients to publicize to the world that they are at a dental clinic. But when you develop a good rapport with your clients, you can request them to do this for better social media exposure. When your customers will check-in at your dental clinic from their profiles, their connections will see your dental clinic. There are chances that their friends and family members may visit you for their next dental problem. This might be a good led generation tactic for you. And not only on Facebook, ask them to click live Instagram stories and tag your profile in it.
Social media marketing is not only about creating unique posts and sharing them across all channels. At times, you might have a lot of footfall in your dental clinic, and you won’t be able to think of a good update and post it. This is when sharing others’ content on your profiles acts as a boon. Sharing posts from other relevant sources is a great way to keep your social media profiles consistent and updated. Browse through other dental practice pages (not your competitors) and profiles that share information related to the field of dentistry. Share relevant and interesting posts on your page and give credits to the source you are sharing posts from. Sharing other people’s work will help both, you as well as the owner of the content, to gain more exposure and popularity on social media.
And why only share content related to dentistry? Having a dental practice doesn’t mean you can’t share and talk about other non-dental things. You can share other fun posts or updates related to overall health and well-being from relevant profiles. This will diversify your social media strategy and not make it dental content-heavy. For instance, you can share a blog or post related to overall health or even restaurants in your city that serve food that is good for oral health.
When used efficiently, these tips can give you amazing social media results for your dental clinic. Therefore, include these tips in your social media marketing checklist and check off each one when you have a new post to update or campaign to run.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.