Like it or not social media is here to stay. And as it’s been around for longer and longer it’s become more of a norm and standard, than an option. Practices that choose to avoid social media are looked at as outdated and out of touch with their audience.
But establishing a presence on social media is a lot easier said than done. Social media takes effort and integrating your channels into your dental marketing takes sincere thought and strategy. If you’re like many dentists, you’re likely unsure of where to start. The key is to find where most of your audience is.
For example, let’s say you’re an orthodontist whose primary business product is providing braces to pre-teens and teens. While you might think your target is the parents, who make the ultimate buying decision, children do have a say in where they go. And they’re heavily influenced by their peers. If the majority of your patients are on Instagram, establish an Instagram account so you can highlight your patients and any of the fun and funky rubber band combinations they choose. Remember to get permission from parents first before posting anything.
That’s just one example of how you might reach your target audience. Here’s a list of social networks we’ve seen dentists find success on.
With over a billion users worldwide, Facebook has hands down the largest number of constituents. While it started as a site just for college students, it’s now morphed into a powerful business tool that is a part of all good marketing strategies for dental practices. Facebook’s largest growing user base is baby boomers, in particular, women 50+. But even if that’s not your audience, you’ll find the majority of the people you’re trying to reach are on the social network.
In addition to providing a business page, you can now go live, post pictures and albums, and even offer incentives for people to claim. Best of all, you get analytics on who is engaging with your page and posts the most and what content is performing best.
Facebook has an algorithm that they use to choose what content to display to people who like your page. That’s why it’s incredibly important that you use the insights provided by Facebook to develop and share content that speaks to your audience.
One of the most common marketing ideas for dentists that we’ve seen bring success on Facebook is to offer various Facebook only coupons. For example, you can create an offer where a person could claim a percentage of a teeth cleaning service or free teeth whitening. These offers cost little to nothing to offer, yet can get you a patient for life.
Facebook also allows you to monitor competitor pages so you can see who of your competitors has had an increase in page engagement and likes. This data might signal to you that it’s worth heading over to that competitor’s page and getting and an idea of what they’re doing.
Twitter is perfect if you’re the type of person who prefers short messaging. This networks limits “Tweets” to 140 characters, however, the unique format of it makes Tweeting between users easier. Users have handles, which is essentially a username and the @ symbol is placed before a username when you want to mention someone.
Twitter also allows for posting of images and videos, although videos can’t be longer than 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Most of Twitter’s audience is younger, between the ages of 18 and 31. They tend to have a higher net worth and are socially engaged. One of the benefits of Twitter is that people can openly engage with your office and ask questions. The more you engage the more you build your reputation as being a reliable resource.
Google+ is Google’s very own social network. It was launched to compete with Facebook and Twitter, but it never quite took off like Google hoped. Regardless, establishing and maintaining a Google+ account plays a large role in your SEO ranking.
Although you might not have many followers on Google+, keeping it updated and posting content to it can’t hurt and only helps. Your Google+ listing also shows up in search results when people might be looking for a map to your business or your hours. Remember to keep those important details up-to-date, as you don’t want to frustrate users by providing them with outdated information.
More and more businesses are hopping on Instagram. They recently rolled out a “story” feature where you can string together a variety of images people can view in a slideshow format. Dental practices could use this feature to highlight what they’ve been doing throughout the day. Users love to see glimpses of a day in the life.
Instagram is best known an image-heavy platform. The higher quality your images the better your reputation as a user. Consider our earlier example of teens and tweens on Instagram. If you’re posting crummy pictures that don’t accurately portray what a person gets when they come to your office it could do more harm than good. If a patient is frowning or if the colors aren’t vibrant enough people will be turned off.
This network is great for dentists who have an eye for beauty and can regularly post high-quality images that relate to what they’re doing.
LinkedIn is strictly for professionals, but that doesn’t mean it won’t benefit your office. As a dentist, you need to stay up on the latest technology and trends in both dentistry and dental marketing.
LinkedIn allows you to connect with fellow dentists and competitors and see what they’re doing on a professional level, new certifications they’re getting, and more. This network also allows you to publish articles, which share your expertise in your industry. It’s the perfect place to publish more technical articles that would appeal to others in your industry.
While you won’t find many patients on LinkedIn, you might find that you glean valuable insights by connecting with your colleagues and peers.