It is estimated that more than 80% of Americans use some type of social media platform in their day-to-day lives. As you can imagine, this means that a good majority of your patients or potential patients also use social media on a daily basis. Not taking advantage of your dental practice’s social media presence means you’re not maximizing your digital marketing potential. If you haven’t thought about relying more heavily on social media as part of your dentist office’s marketing efforts, it’s time to start. At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, social media for dentists is just one of our specialties. We’ve made a guide of useful things to keep in mind as you get started.
Maximize Visibility and Attract New Patients
In our age of ever-evolving technology, your digital footprint is a vital part of your marketing efforts. Unless your dental practice has served many generations throughout the years and relied solely on these people for business, generating new clientele is the only way you can remain profitable. Fostering your online presence is just about the most effective way to do this. As experts in the field of digital marketing and social media for dentists, we’ve seen many dental practices suffer from the lack of an online presence.
Think about your goals when you choose your office’s physical location. You most likely wanted to be easily located, remembered, and attractive to new patients. A clean, optimized, and easy-to-use website with active applicable social media accounts will give you the same things in the digital space. This new online presence will make it easier for people to find you, learn about you, and schedule their first appointment with your dental practice.
Grow Online & Offline Credibility
Long-gone are the days when people relied on the phone book for information and word-of-mouth reviews as references. Although word-of-mouth is still a reliable source of referrals, your digital reputation is by far your most critical asset. When researching a new dental provider, a prospective patient will typically start with a simple Google search, followed by a clickthrough to your website for more info, then a visit to your social media accounts to establish credibility. They then may take it a step further and read any reviews your practice has received. All these factors work together to establish the user’s trust with your business and could make or break their decision to call you for the first time.
Imagine a potential patient going through all the steps mentioned above, then not finding you. Or equally bad: finding social media accounts that have rarely been updated, are abandoned or are filled with unmoderated, negative reviews about your practice. Integrating digital marketing into your overall marketing efforts allows you to have better control over the information about your business online. Putting in place a reputation management protocol will put your finger on the pulse of what’s being said about you online. You have the power to be proactive when it comes to the credibility of your business, giving you the keys to a robust online presence.
Establish Trust & Develop Relationships
Your patients want to place their full trust in you, knowing that you’re available to them 24/7, even if that is merely an illusion. Engaging with your patients through social media creates an additional means of communication with your practice. In other words, you provide them with another path to a meaningful one-on-one relationship with their dentist. Humanizing your practice in your voicing and social content will invite patients to engage with you. It shows visitors your personality and the positive relationships you keep with your patients. In the same vein, creating exciting content about the personalities of your team members, updates about your practice, or community involvement will engage your users and improve patient loyalty.
Decide What You Can Do and Where You’ll Need Help
We’re excited that you’ve decided to dive into the world of social media for dentists. One of the first pieces you’ll need to figure out is how you’ll execute this new initiative. Social media can be tricky, especially if you’re just getting started. You’ll need to decide whether you think that you or one of your staff members can maximize your social media efforts, or if you’ll need to outsource to a professional. As a pro tip, it’s always best to start small and on the most prominent and most applicable platform. Ensuring you can frequently distribute quality content to your most important demographic will help you decide which platforms are a priority and whether you can handle it internally.
Most likely, if you own your dental practice, you won’t want to be handling social media marketing yourself. Your time may be best valued tackling other arenas while someone you trust takes on the task. Finding someone who truly loves doing it is a great way to make sure it’s always in good hands. You’ll also want to make sure your new social platforms are getting promoted or “liked” amongst employees, family, friends, colleagues, and patients. Encouraging everyone in your immediate circle to follow these accounts is a great lift off for the new endeavor.
Don’t Sell and Be Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes that a business can make when getting started in social media is looking for an immediate return on investment (ROI) by being “salesy”. Your patients and potential patients don’t want to be sold your service by being told how great you are or what fantastic services you have. While it’s important to promote your services, of course, there’s always a time and place. Sharing relevant content on your social media is the key to winning over everyone’s hearts. A good rule of thumb is to keep your posts 80% useful and engaging content, while the other 20% can be more self-promotional. If there is too much sales noise, users may start to engage less or unfollow you completely. Be sure to strike a good balance of informative content, storytelling, human interest, and self-promotional posts.
That said, don’t be afraid to show off amazing before and after pictures, testimonials, positive reviews, new practice offerings, etc. You can also provide future patients with even more in-depth content on social media such as a dentist Q&A session, interesting facts, and similar helpful content. It’s usually a good idea to avoid controversial discussions and always respond respectfully and swiftly to any negative feedback.
Finally, your branding should be consistent throughout your website, social media platforms, email marketing, and blog. For example, your Facebook profile picture, cover photo, and “our story” photos should all tell a story about your brand. Having a hi-res professional logo lends itself well to all your online and offline marketing efforts.
Aside from being on social media, actually staying on social media is of the utmost importance. Creating and committing to a plan to stay active and consistent on all your established social media platforms is what will really pay off in the long run. At the minimum, your practice should be updating its social media accounts a few times a week. Setting realistic goals for yourself will help ensure you can keep up. Avoid setting yourself up for failure and really be honest with yourself on how much you think your staff will be able to handle on their own. Don’t be afraid to seek outside help.
If you’re having trouble deciding what content to publish and when to publish it, creating an internal calendar to follow can be very helpful. You can assign specific themes to certain days of the week, such as “Ask the Doctor Friday” or “Meet the Team Wednesdays.” This will help the person or team in charge of your social media know exactly what to post, giving them plenty of time to generate the content from week to week. We suggest starting at a minimal frequency to ease into the process and keeping a close eye on what works and what. This will help you decide which content to post in the future. Don’t forget that most social media platforms offer the option to schedule posts, which is a great way to organize your content and plan ahead.
Which Platforms Are Best?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. The platforms you choose and spend the most time on will correlate directly to your goals and your practice’s demographics. Asking your current patients which social media they use may point you in the right direction.
After establishing your social media presence, you may want to let a team of professionals handle its growth and maintenance. That’s where we come in. We manage social media for four of the most important platforms out there: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. With a digital arsenal like this at your side, you’ll see your online presence explode.
If you’re looking to explore social media for dentists and what it can do for you, we’re ready to help at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing. Our passion is helping you grow your practice with a customized digital marketing plan. Contact us today for a thorough consultation that will examine your strengths and weaknesses and get you started on a path to social media success.