Is social media working for your practice? I know it can be extremely confusing to know what to post and when to post it. We can get more into that as we discuss branding later, but for now, let’s just get you in the habit of posting regularly and at the best times. Let me preface this blog with a disclaimer, this data may not be exactly accurate for your particular dental practice. Every practice is different. Every patient base is different. This blog is meant to provide some initial best practices so that you can monitor and adjust your social media plan for your specific audience as it performs. Social media is not set it and forget it.
Think of each social media platform as a different television channel. You may watch ABC, ESPN, HGTV, MTV, etc. and all for very different reasons. You get different content on different channels and in different formats. That’s social media. You will not want to engage your Facebook followers the same way you engage your Instagram audience, Twitter followers, etc. Spend some time with your team and decide on a strategy for each channel. Less is more here. Focus on becoming really good at one or two platforms versus trying to do everything. For example, you don’t need a Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Just pick a couple and do them really, really well.
Based on my experience working with dental practices across the country, these are the trends I have seen in various social media strategies. I like to encourage offices to focus on Facebook and Instagram first. If you can blog too that’s great!
Facebook is still the top dog when it comes to DAU or daily active users. The best day of the week to post is usually Thursday. Weekdays from 10am to 6pm tend to perform strongly as well. Typically, when people are on their breaks or lunch break, engagement will go up. Weekends aren’t super strong for patient engagement, but it can be a great time to work on your blog! PS: Join my Free Facebook Group here!
Instagram is a platform that a lot of dentists still don’t take advantage of. In my experience, it’s the hesitation to learn another social media platform and to find the time to hassle with the technology, but it is so worth it! Instagram is a great place to share before/after photos, photos of the office and the team, patient engagement and having fun, etc. Buy props and make a photo booth in a private corner of the office. Have a caption contest! Bottom line is to have fun and show your patients that your office has some character. This is great for your brand!
I have not really jumped on the “dental practice marketing on Pinterest” train, but don’t let that dissuade you. Some of my clients have and they enjoy it very much. As far as I am concerned, any place that you can engage with more people is good! So go for it! Saturday night is the night for Pinterest activity. Be sure to put some thought into your board layout and use smart names for your boards so they are searchable and relevant to the audience (use great keywords here). Try to save pins consistently. Pinterest is different in that as your content starts to build, more people will find you (it’s a lot like blogging). Be patient and be persistent.
In my opinion, Twitter is the most overwhelming social media platform out there. You feel like a literal needle in a haystack. Multiple haystacks at that. An ocean full of haystacks. Even so, your brand can benefit from an active Twitter handle. Twitter is great for sharing articles of curated content, photos, infographics, and links to other local businesses. Typically, Twitter activity stays pretty strong in the later hours of the day, but don’t force yourself out of family time by constantly trying to gain followers. I set three instances in my calendar every day for Twitter. Each session is 15 minutes. For that time period, I focus 100% on tweeting, re-tweeting, responding, reacting, creating and scheduling. That’s all it takes for me.
Connect with GPG by clicking on the links in the headings above. You can also get a high res copy of the Best Times to Post on Social Media infographic at the link below. Hang it up in the office and use it as a guide! I hope you find these tips helpful and that you start to use social media to document and tell your story. Build and invest in your brand and connect with people. Focus on building your tribe and watch the shift in your practice profitability. Referrals will always be your strongest new patient source. Cultivate them by engaging with your audience on social media. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze!
Social media is vital for dental practices that wish to engage with customers in real-time. You can establish yourself as an authority by sharing helpful, informative content to engage and educate your followers. Effectively pushing this content across your various social media platforms, on the right day, at the right time, and in the right format for your given audience is more important than the content itself. Learn to monitor activity for peaks and valleys in traffic. Again, if you’re generating amazing content, but you’re blasting it out incorrectly, what’s the point? The key is to know your end user. Publish content to help and improve their day-to-day lives. You establish yourself as an authority and a resource when you avoid any kind of self-serving motives and just provide the help they’re looking for.
Choose Your Best Platform(s)
The seven essential social networking platforms for you to use are:
These sites promote business sharing and generate the most traffic. They can substantially boost dental practice clientele by giving people a chance to share their experiences with you as they learn more about you. In addition, don’t forget to start and maintain a practice dental blog. Having your own business blog increases brand loyalty by enticing your customers and keeping them informed.
Use Social Media Tools
These applications enable you to maximize the efficiency of social media platforms on so many levels. For instance, on Twitter, Tweetdeck allows you to monitor customer tweets across multiple accounts. Likewise, the tool LikeAlyzer for Facebook helps you analyze page activity and other valuable statistics. Incorporating social media tools into your daily advertising schedule adds to your potential for online marketing success.
Try New Networks
Exploring social media will help you find new people who are attracted to your brand. New social media platforms are constantly springing up, and they deserve to be recognized for their ability to support small business needs. The point is to contact customers by gaining fans, friends, and followers who want to know more about you and your business. Set up test accounts on different platforms that suit your dental niche. In doing so, you will find invaluable business resources that ensure you win the social media game.
In addition to taking advantage of these three, basic opportunities, it is imperative that you strive to diversify your marketing strategy. Make decisions about your business plan based on your potential to enhance your practice’s online presence. By leveraging the bottom line basics of social media, you can expect to build a better brand, reach your target audience, and make more profits.
What if I could predict the future? What if I could tell you the next “big thing” in social media? You’d hire me in a second to get your practice involved immediately, wouldn’t you? Well, there is good news. First, you don’t have to pay me. I will freely give you the information. Second, there is a social media platform that is growing rapidly and your dental practice needs to stop (finish my blog though) and sign up immediately. What is this incredible, awe-inspiring new digital amazingness? It’s a little place called Nextdoor.
Have you heard the name? Like any overnight success, Nextdoor is already six years old with over ten million users. The company is expected to have more users than Twitter in 2018! That’s a lot of people. The idea behind ND is a new, digital platform where actual neighbors can connect. A place to discuss events, lost pets, happenings, crime, home service recommendations, community outreach, etc. There is also a place to discuss specialists such as, you guessed it, dentists. Nextdoor is the place to bring a community together in the modern, digital age. It’s as if Facebook, Angie’s List, Craigslist, and your neighborhood watch program all slammed together into an engaging, easy-to-use digital platform.
The platform has a built-in validation protocol that ensures each and every user does, in fact, live at the address they claim. Claiming your page is very similar to how you would on Google or Yelp. The platform, when used properly, can really bring local awareness to your dental practice much the way an expensive mailer campaign would have in the past. If you’re going to have events or community outreach during the year, put it on Nextdoor. Verify your practice. Engage with people and watch the local neighborhood start to engage you immediately.
Your active patient base is always going to be your best referral source. However, new Apps and social media platforms are a great way to stay ahead of the curve and continually keep your practice engaged with the local community. Keep your page up to date and start to share the culture of your practice with the rest of the world. Pairing the right social media with effective content, especially video, is a recipe for success in today’s modern digital marketing realm.
Twitter is by far the most popular social media platform—witness the fervor created when President Barack Obama joined earlier this summer. It’s also a platform on which dental practices and brands can most easily interact with customers. Whereas Facebook and Instagram are marked as personal territory (with users who are highly protective of their privacy and often unwilling to engage in targeted ads or sponsored listings), Twitter is a much more open-ended space.
It’s a place where teenagers and presidential candidates alike regularly interact. Anyone with a @handle can join in the discussion. As such, it’s the perfect place to build a brand presence and connect with potential customers. Here are three ways to build Twitter follows and help your brand grow.
1. Ditch The “Hip” Language
And not just because there’s already a Twitter account dedicated to making fun of brands that say “bae.” Corporate accounts that try to use teenage slang stand out like the dad at a homecoming dance. It’s fake and inauthentic. While it may seem like a good idea to embrace slang, it ultimately looks like pandering. Of course, you can be funny. Just make sure you do it in a way that sounds like how you actually talk.
2. Stagger Your Posts
Building a Twitter presence is all about constant visibility, so it doesn’t do you any good to log in and post 10 tweets once a week. But who can remember to tweet twice a day? That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a social media management solution. We offer social media management options specifically for dental practices, and there are quite a few automated apps you can purchase. All of them come with the ability to pre-write tweets and schedule them to go live at a later date. That way, you don’t flood your customers’ pages but can still maintain an active presence, without being tied to your phone.
3. Keep Your Customer Service Face On At All Times
One of the best things about Twitter is that it allows you to directly engage with your customers. What that also means is that many times, unsatisfied customers will take to Twitter in search of resolution. It’s important to keep in mind that these interactions are public, and a misstep can mean outrage, not only from the customer you’re tweeting to, but all of their followers, too. But don’t let that scare you away from engaging. A recent Forbes report found that 70% of Twitter social media complaints are ignored, which looks cold and uncaring on the part of the company. So keep your customer service face on, and always be willing to help. Even if you can’t solve the original problem, other users will notice the effort, which can translate to brand loyalty.
With these three tips, it’s easy to build an active and engaged Twitter presence—one that’s helpful, responsive, and witty (without being corny). Twitter puts you on the front line with your patient base, making it a powerful tool for any growing brand, as long as it’s used correctly!
They say a picture is worth a thousands words. In that case, using photography and video to market your dental practice is a great way to communicate with a growing patient base. Instagram is a popular form of social media used by more than 300 million people worldwide, every month. The best part, it’s a free form of advertising for your dental practice.
Why Use Instagram
Instagram users often search their favorite brands and businesses to follow. By posting the right images, you can draw in new followers interested in what you have to offer. Brand recognition is essential. Instagram is such an effective tool to encourage liking and sharing. By setting up a photo booth, having props on hand, setting up a hashtag for use by patients in your practice or even having a patient photo contest, you can get likes and shares by simply being the backdrop for these images and videos. See more on this below. Lastly… be sure you have a HIPAA form signed by each and every patient!
Contests and Promotions
Some dental offices choose to run contests or special promotions exclusively for followers as an added incentive to follow. They will typically require followers to re-post a specific image from the account and use hashtags. Your followers post the image and your name on their Instagram, allowing you to reach everyone that follows them. Anyone who wants to join the contest must follow your account and post the image as well. You may also want to offer a discount for any patients who follow your Instagram account.
Hashtags are very important. When you include a hashtag under the image, that specific image shows up whenever someone searches the hashtag. Not only does it generate likes, but also followers. Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to hashtags. Keep them relevant and include a mix of simple and creative hashtags.
Follow other accounts. Ideally, aim to follow your target audience. Many people follow accounts back, especially accounts that like and comment on their photos. A free tip of advice to gain followers and add some validity to your brand… search hashtags for keywords like “follow4follow” or “followback” to get your account established more quickly.
Avoid Paying for Likes or Followers
Since the goal is to reach new patients and get your name out there, avoid buying likes or followers. There are numerous sites that promise “real” followers, but they are typically robots that are eventually deleted from Instagram. Don’t fall into this trap. You can build a solid audience organically.
Advertise Your Instagram
Let your patient base know you have an Instagram account by posting the username on your other social media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Encourage people who visit your website to also follow your Instagram and other pages for support, coupons, promotions, etc.
If you have more questions or you’re interested in having a Free Dental Practice Marketing Audit done of your website, just fill out the form or call our office today! GrowPracticeGrow is a team of dental marketing experts who get new patients in your chair. Want results or more bang for your marketing buck? Contact us, today!