If you’ve spent even a second reading industry blogs you’ve probably heard them talk about the importance of being on Facebook and other social networks. Social media has completely changed the way practice’s do business and how people go about making crucial decisions like who they decide to see as their dentist and who they recommend to their friends.
But why is social media marketing like Facebook so powerful? Essentially it relies on the tried and true practice of peer pressure and peer influence. As individuals build their social media network they get a front row view of what their friends are doing online. Similarly, their friends see what they are doing online. The more people see other’s behavior the more likely they are to imitate it.
So, how does this apply to your dental practice? Let’s say a patient of yours came in and had an amazing experience. They left happy and felt so upbeat that they decided to leave a review on your Facebook page. Reviews are public, so as soon as they post your review their friends see what they have to say about your practice. One friend sees the review and is reminded that they need to schedule a dental cleaning, so they call your practice because of their friend’s glowing recommendation. Just like that, you get a new patient and all you had to do was treat your patients with kindness and respect. This kind of organic growth is the new word of mouth that is incredibly valuable to practices looking to grow their patient base.
Making the most out of your dental practice’s Facebook page takes some strategy and understanding what your patients want, but most of all it requires consistency.
Video is one of the most powerful mediums used to get a message across to an audience. Videos that are two minutes or less make the most effective posts. Interestingly, 80% of videos posted on Facebook are viewed without audio. This means that it is crucial you put captions in your video so that people know what the video is about. This also helps improve web accessibility; an important part of accommodating website visitors and social media followers with hearing impairment.
Videos that are considered helpful by your audience will be shared with their network of friends. This increases the visibility of your message and gets your name in front of thousands of potential customers. In the long run, you’re likely to get new patients from your video content.
Video content can also be repurposed for use on other social networks, embedded in your website, and linked to from email newsletters.
Another important part of your online marketing strategy is to make sure you include photos in your posts. Gone are the days of posting a simple text update to your Facebook page and seeing results. People are highly motivated by images, and studies show that people retain more information when photos and images are used rather than just text alone.
While professional, high-quality images have a place, there’s also plenty of room for some fun. Photos taken with your iPhone might not look like they were taken for a magazine, but they have authenticity and transparency, something that people place a high value on.
Some of the most effective pictures that you can post on social media are those that give an inside look into how your practice is run. If the team celebrates a birthday or goes out to lunch, share it on your Facebook page. People love to know that your team is passionate about what they do, but also knows how to have fun.
Other photos and images can be celebratory and honor certain holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Not everything you post has to be about self-promotion. Don’t be afraid to be human.
Tips and Tricks
As a dentist you’ve likely got a ton of tips and tricks up your sleeve that you share with patients. These are the perfect bits of content that can be turned into short video posts or images with text overlays. Tips and tricks on how to brush your teeth, how to get a whiter smile, and anything else that is related tend to be popular because they provide value to those who are reading it.
As a result, content like this tends to get many likes and shares.
Engage in Conversation
Social media was designed to be conversational. It was never intended to drive conversation one way. As a result, part of managing a Facebook page is responding to comments and engaging with people who are active on your page. Those who are most active are actually your most valuable fans – they play a huge role in spreading the word about your business and deserve acknowledgment and appreciation.
In addition to engaging with fans through conversation, you can also increase engagement by hosting giveaways on your page. It might be tickets to a local sporting event, a free teeth whitening session, or anything else that you think your fans will appreciate. The key is to offer something that gets them to take action. When hosting a giveaway you can set up certain rules or subscribe to a tool like WooBox that helps you run contests on your Facebook page.
Common rules that get people to engage and spread the word about your business include requiring someone to share the post, tag a friend, or comment.
Ask for Reviews
Reviews on Facebook play a large role in influencing how people view your business. Ask your happy patients to post a review on your page and once they do take the time to respond to them earnestly and with appreciation. Read more about the importance of online reviews.
How to Generate New Ideas
The important part of creating social content is to always be working on fresh new ideas that set you apart from the competition. Oftentimes this requires that you follow your competition to see what they’re doing and how you can differentiate yourself. This in itself is a full-time job.
Often times hiring a consultant or an agency is the best way to keep the creativity flowing and get the best results from your social media efforts. A partnership between your practice and an agency can help get the most out of your budget, time, and efforts.