The world is changing fast. Although dentists pride themselves by remaining on the leading edge of dental technology, there’s one technology where they lag behind other professions: social media. In fact, in many ways, dental practice social media is still in its infancy as a powerful tool for increasing patient retention and boosting production. Dentists need to understand that participation in social media is no longer something you can take or leave; just like the importance of SEO for dental practices, social media is a must.
Although some dentists continue to lean too hard on familiar traditional dental practice marketing methods, forward-thinking dentists understand that dental practice social media is effective for accomplishing three vitally important goals:
- Increasing Patient Retention
- Attracting New Patients
- Establishing Your Authority
- Promoting Your Service Mix
Dental Practice Social Media: A Guide for Dentists
Maybe you’ve never used social media. Perhaps you’re on it but only occasionally. Whatever your current social media participation, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind… you need to understand your audience.
Follow the same starting point you would with any new media endeavor: decide upon your competitive advantage and weave that through everything you’re going to do. Any marketing effort works when you’ve matched the competitive advantage with the audience most likely to appreciate it.
Social media can’t be approached in the same way as more traditional media. With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind as you strive to build your dental practice social media presence:
Being Too Clinical Is Not the Way To Go
Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy ask for many dentists because it’s the very opposite of how they do things. Dental school training teaches dentists to discuss procedures in a certain way using certain terminology. Once learned, it can be hard to deviate from this mold, even with patients.
Just remember that it’s social media where you’re having your discussion—not JADA. The rules are clearly different because you are no longer writing for your peers. Although you still want to maintain a certain level of professional decorum, your social media presence has to feel accessible and friendly to new and existing patients. A bit of humor is certainly a good idea. Remember, dental practice social media is about entertainment just as much as it is about informing others.
Provide Content That Viewers Will Value
As we know, people go to the dentist for two reasons: to alleviate pain or to improve their smiles. Elective services are particularly well suited for discussions on social media. Patients are interested in ways to improve their smiles, such as professional whitening. Also, most will be interested in ways to prevent periodontal disease. When your office posts on social media, you have the opportunity to be a trusted friend who can advise them on what to do. Having a well thought-out content marketing strategy for dental practices is very important as a result.
A key objective of dental practice social media is to get others to share your content. They will only do this if you’ve given them something that’s share-worthy. This can include things like a thought-provoking infographic or a video. Tell people something they didn’t know and they will often be impressed enough to share it with others.
Social Media Isn’t a One-Way Street
A classic mistake that businesses make when they delve into social media is treating it like a one-way communication tool. Yes, you want to inform your audience. However, you also want to connect with them. To do that, they have to feel like they’re part of the discussion as well. When you post content, you don’t just want patients to read it. You want them to click on it, comment on it and, perhaps more importantly, share it.
One effective way to engage your audience is to ask them questions rather than simply dispensing information (although you do want to do that too). People like to voice their opinions on social media. Let’s face it: it was invented just for that. Social media is a great place to have a discussion in order to promote awareness of a topic. For example, you could promote a discussion of cosmetic dentistry. For patients who know little about it, this could be an excellent opportunity to help them gain a better understanding.
Make Dental Practice Social Media Work For You
There isn’t one, definitive way to approach social media. Every office has its own unique characteristics and its own unique voice. In the end, the goal is to build relationships with patients in a way that is impossible through other marketing channels.
As you strive to create a more effective dental practice social media presence, it’s a good idea to incorporate this tactic into a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. As a leading marketer for healthcare clients, Dreamscape Marketing can help you create an effective digital marketing program designed to increase your web traffic and send more new patients to your practice. Call us today at 888.307.7304 and let’s discuss your marketing plan.