Social Media for My Dental Practice – Where Do I Start?

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Offline marketing channels like TV and print advertisements are losing traction in today’s digital world. While word-of-mouth is still the best source of new patients for any dental practice, where and how people are talking about you is changing. A decade ago, patient referrals happened in person or over the phone. Now, the conversation has moved to online.

It can be overwhelming to start posting on social media but you have to start somewhere. Some practices hire consultants but it lacks a personal touch. People expect authenticity from businesses on social media. It’s much better to manage your account yourself. Follow these tips to improve your brand across different social channels.

Be Consistent

Once you start posting content on social media, your audience will expect regular updates. It can be difficult to manage accounts on all the social media networks out there. Focus on one or two platforms initially. But where to start? Ask your patients where they hang out online, that will be a good place to begin.

Set up a schedule for posting to the various platforms and stick to it. Many practices start out by posting every day (or even several times a day) but lose interest. Slowly, the posts becoming infrequent and people lose interest. It is better to start out slow and increase the frequency of posts if you find that you have time on your hands.

Know the Rules of the Road

Every social media platform has rules regarding the types of content (video, audio, text, images etc.), privacy, different types of users (personal accounts versus business accounts) etc. Read up on the rules and make sure your audience knows what to expect.

For instance, most people use Twitter to catch up on news. Twitter posts are usually short and don’t have pictures or videos. Posting a link to an hour-long Q&A session won’t get you views or interaction. But Facebook is the ideal place if you want to have live video sessions with your social media fans.

In other words, post content that is appropriate to the platform and audience.

Follow the 80 – 20 Rule

Many practice owners make the mistake of only posting marketing and promotional content on the social media pages. You’ll find that your followers don’t stick around for long after that. The 80 – 20 rule means that only 20% of the total content should be marketing related. Original content that is useful and entertaining will get more attention and kickstart a conversation among your followers.

Engage your audience with informational posts regarding oral care issues or even dentist jokes. Share a video showing the inside of your office or a team celebration. Use different types of content like text, pictures, videos etc. Ask questions and get feedback from your fans. Social media is all about having conversations, not broadcasting advertising messages to your target audience.

Involve the Team

It’s a great idea to involve your employees in your social media strategy. Encourage them to post tidbits about your practice and their experiences working there. If the platform allows the use of hashtags or labels, ask your staff to include those tags when talking about the clinic. It will boost visibility for your practice online.

If you have an employee who is adept at social media, you can delegate social media responsibilities to them as well. Take turns posting content to provide more variety for your audience. You can also post to a specific platform that you’re more comfortable with while the employee handles the other one. Experiment with different types of content and get a head start on practices that don’t have a social media presence at all!