Should You Use Social Media in a Dental Practice?
Like any business, if you are running a dental practice then you cannot afford to ignore the strength of social media marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide you with the opportunity to connect with current patients, new patients and other dental professionals. This connection allows you to promote and help to grow your dental practice with social media.
Social media for dentists is not dissimilar to the use of social media by any other business. The idea is to engage with potential new patients, your current patients and people who can be instrumental in helping your business to thrive and grow. Let’s take a look at how this works in more detail.
Benefits of Social Media for Dentists
It’s important to note that you cannot just rely on social media. Using social media platforms should form a significant part of your marketing strategy, but not all of it. Having said this, you can get some impressive benefits from using channels such as Facebook, if you do so in the right way. These benefits include:
- Making it easy for people to find your practice.
- Telling people what you can help them with.
- Targeting your presence at local people.
- Maintaining relationships with current patients, to keep them engaged.
- Allowing you to build positive relationships with other professionals.
- Giving audiences the chance to contact you easily.
Which Platforms Can Grow Your Dental Practice
In order to make sure that your practice benefits as much as possible, you need to plan your social media activity carefully. You need to think about who you are trying to reach. This list will usually include current patients, new patients and other dental professionals.
Once you have this information, it’s time to look at which platforms these people use and what type of content they are most likely to engage with. People are continuously scrolling on their phones for hours per day, with the right type of marketing, you’re going to get some people’s attention. There are some specific options you can consider, depending on which platforms you choose to use.
Facebook is often first on the list when it comes to using social media for dentists. This is because more than 3 billion people use Facebook globally; in the UK around 78% of Internet users use Facebook. Quite simply, it’s a potential market place that you cannot ignore. If you are wondering what to post on Facebook; here are some tips:
- Advice about oral hygiene routines.
- Comments and advice about new dental techniques.
- Community announcements, especially details of any community work you are doing.
- Special offers; although this type of content should not be used too often as you do not want your Facebook page to look too sales orientated.
- Videos and images that allow people to have a better connection with your practice.
- Team videos and profiles – audiences want to know the people behind the business.
Aside from posting on your regular Facebook page, you may also want to consider Facebook paid advertising. You can target your Facebook ads at people in your local area or based on their interests, demographics or even simply by uploading your contacts’ emails addresses.
This means you are likely to get engagement from people who are actually looking for a dentist locally to you. Your Facebook Page will quite often be the first thing people find when they search for you. So make sure you keep it up-to-date and interesting!
Instagram is a hugely influential social media channel, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. It’s a great way of helping people to see inside your business, using images and videos. Connecting with people in this way helps them to see your practice as friendly and reliable. These are positive attributes that are sought by people looking for a dentist.
Set up an Instagram account for your practice and post video clips and images regularly. Instagram has a much younger audience on average than Facebook so take this into account when you post.
The best kind of posts for Instagram are your more fun behind the scenes clips, team videos and your best photos. Instagram is all about image and aesthetics! Show off your successes and make sure you tell the story of your practice through your videos and images.
You should think outside the box when you are using Twitter to help your practice to grow. It’s fine to tweet about the latest goings on at the practice and include the occasional promotion. However, using Twitter should be more about displaying your expertise. Tweet about the latest developments in the industry, or local charity events, and include your educated comments. You may also want to think about setting up a Twitter Q&A session, when you can communicate with people in real time.
Social media for dentists is not just about communicating with patients and potential patients. You can use LinkedIn to publish articles and show your expertise. You can also use it to develop relationships with other dental practices which can be mutually beneficial. For instance, if you do not provide orthodontic services, you can find a local specialist to refer your patients to. This helps you to provide a better service and provides more patients for the orthodontist, for whom you may receive a referral fee.
How to Get More Patients With Social Media
Using social media for marketing properly can transform your business. Social media is a place where billions of users spend hours a day scrolling and engaging with friends, brands and companies alike. These billions of users are not just users to your business, they are all potential customers.
If you haven’t done so already, get on every social media platform you can with a simple profile to start. It is then imperative to understand which platform is most likely to have your target audience. Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways of marketing a dental practice and can actually have a huge impact, if used correctly. Decide who your target audiences are (families, teenagers, people interested in health or cosmetics etc) and then figure out which platforms they are more likely to use and what they expect to see there.
Pick one platform to begin with
It can be a lot to try to gain a following on so many platforms at once, try tackling one social media platform to start with, whether that be Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram or Linked in. Whichever one you choose, try to gain some momentum in that channel first before moving on to other ones.
In this day and age it often seems like all social media platforms are more or less all the same. They all differ though, which is why it is important to learn about the social media channels before choosing which one is best for you and your business. They all offer different features. Linked In is more popular in the business world but as the platforms are all evolving, Instagram has become a great way to promote businesses and also shop around on various different businesses on the app.
To begin your social media journey, our experts advise that you begin by making a business profile or a business account page on your chosen social media platform. Making this type of account will unlock many more features that will be useful when it comes to your business, ads, reach, engagement and most importantly, checking your audience insights, we highly recommend this especially if you are using Instagram.
Include as many options for contacting your practice as possible on your social media channels – website, email, phone numbers, WhatsApp, direct messaging (like Facebook messenger), your address.
You need to build your brand name, but the idea is not to plaster your name everywhere. You need to post consistently but you need posts with substance. People follow and like to engage with posts that they are genuinely interested in or keep them entertained. It is a great idea to place online ads on Google as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, they get a lot of reach.
Let’s take Facebook for example. A car mechanic will surely see more visits and clicks on a platform like Facebook where there are people from every walk of life and every age range. But doing the same on Instagram or Snapchat often won’t net you the same result as the majority of the users are young teens that either just don’t own a car or simply aren’t interested in seeing anything related to your business.
That’s why although it’s a good idea to be present on every platform, focusing the majority of your efforts on one or two platforms that are going to be most beneficial and responsive to your efforts might be the better option, at least to begin with. We focus mainly on Facebook and Instagram, but you might find a different combination works for you.
Just like your business plan, your social media plan should bear the same importance. Like any good business strategy, using social media for business success needs to start with a well laid out plan. Without a plan you will have no clear goal for what you are trying to achieve, which means your team (if you have one) won’t have any specific goals either – which results in no way to measure your results and sometimes no results at all.
Take some time to create a social media plan. Social media may seem less pressing in the list of tasks that you need to do for your business, but it is more important and harder to master than you may think. Creating an effective plan will ensure that all your social efforts support your specific business goals.
Your social media plan needs to include all of the content you intend to produce for your platforms. This means planning the blogs and articles you’ll write, what kind of photos you need to take and what videos you need to create. You also need to specify which team members will be in charge of producing this content.
Be authentic when you post
With social media being as overcrowded as it is, the need to stand out is exponential. It sounds overrated and overused but be yourself, that is who you are selling. Don’t try and be what you think others may want you to be, in the long run that will not work in favour for your company. Dont work too hard to make everything perfect or seem perfect; if you do, you will either never put up anything or worse you will break trust with your clientele.
Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, people on social media are bombarded with posts that seem to emit perfection, people really just want to follow pages that are ‘real’. Uploading posts and stories that are real and truthful that your audience can relate to and understand is what will get you those loyal followers that you aim to have.
Remember that social media is all about trends. Keeping up with relevant trends, topics and hashtags to engage a wider audience is pivotal to growing your social media network. Make sure anything you post fits your brand.
ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE with your audiences
The primary goal for any business on social media is to build relationships and add value. This is the part where most people fall in their social media triumphant attempts. They work so hard to create content and will continuously protrude said content, but they then fail to actually engage with their audience.
It’s anywhere from 5 to 20 times more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to keep old ones. That’s why focusing efforts to retain clients by increasing customer engagement through any number of techniques is advised at every stage.
Knowing who your target audience is great even if your target audience is a very niche group of people and thanks to the extensive targeting selections on social media, you are able to target people based on purchasing behaviours, interests and demographics.
If you know exactly who and what type of people are going to see your ads, you can cater the ads to that specific audience. The key is to make ads that resonate with your audience, rather than throwing a general ad up hoping it appeals to someone who randomly comes across it.
The more you start using social media for marketing, the more data you will gather about your target audience. It is important to collect and learn from this data in order to streamline your target audience and spend ad budget where it makes the most sense. Don’t just focus on that streamlined audience, you can use tools within social media advertising that allow you to expand that audience.
Simply looking at the number of likes on your post is not as strong of an indicator of its performance as you think it is. Today, businesses need to look further into their performance metric. This includes tracking comments, amount to saves, shares and story views to understand how their content performs. Talk with people and really engage with your followers, it is what will keep them interested.
Respond to comments and reviews and jump into communities, especially ones that are in the same industry as your business. Share your perspectives and point of view, if anything, it will gain you a lot more attention than you may think, especially if you are slightly controversial or especially contemporary.
With a shift in how we measure engagement, it’s only natural that we also change how we try to improve audience/ follower engagement on our feeds. Trust us it’s not as hard as you may think.
Engaging honestly should be just for that aim, do not dominate the conversation or push for sales. Simply getting involved with the conversation, trends or your chosen community, you will get the following you need naturally and organically. Giving advice and offering suggestions will make you seem helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy. No one wants false claims with the congested roads of pretending on social media, most people really engage when they see something they believe is genuine, use that aspect of yourself and your business to your advantage.
You need to commit and monitor
Signing up to any social media platform is absolutely free. In a few minutes you can be up and running but to build your business as a brand on social media it is mandatory that you commit to staying active on that platform. In the beginning at least, spend a minimum of one hour per day during your launch of your page or business engaging with the community. Use this time to not only focus on your own page but to catch a glimpse of some businesses that are similar to yours and take inspiration for what they are doing and how you can do better.
For some, it may be easy to spend hours a day on social media, but to run a business or build a brand on social media needs commitment and it is a lot easier said than done. Effective social media branding takes time and practice, in many cases it is worthwhile to hire someone who specialises in social media to help you.
Writing down a strategy is a good place to start and having clear goals will set you a track to go on, but actually sticking to it is a whole different story. Your social media plans will always be changing. At the least you should have a good idea of the thing you would like to post daily. Strategy is key. If you are not committing to posting on a regular basis and creating new content then you will always struggle to hook your audience or build an engaged following.
During one hour a day, at no expense out of your pocket at all, you can build a community in no time. Committing to spending time on your social media accounts is step 1, step 2 is mentoring these accounts in the most effective way. Monitor other sites, feed and pages that discuss the industry your business is in, your products or services. Look for posts that mention your company, mentoring you growth will help you reach specific goals you have.
Your social media accounts are also the best place to respond to any comments or complaints, using them as opportunities to engage with your followers, grow your brand and collect market research. If you pay attention to the right aspects of your social media platform, you can get ahead of potential problems.
Many may think that continuously pouring out content will get you more followers, unfortunately it is not that easy. Looking at social media and posting once a day should suffice enough to engage your audience, educate and potentially entertain you from other posts within your given industry and hopefully inspire you to make more content.
You should definitely monitor your insights but what will help you a lot will be finding out what days and times most people visit to engage with your pages. This will help notify you when is the best time to post yourself to get the most engagement from your followers. Always check your insights!
Establish a team and get expert help
Having a marketing team in place can prove invaluable, eleven if you own a small business. Having a small team can enable you to establish a strategy with the necessary specialities for social media management. Having a team can help you keep afloat all your media marketing. Keeping up with social media posts as well as website posts and blogs can be tiresome while you are also managing other important aspects of your business. This is where your team will prove to be beneficial.
Hiring someone who will be able to manage your content for marketing will make it a lot easier for you and their expertise will allow you to rely on someone to do what they know will work and help you reach your goals.
This isn’t an option for everyone, sometimes it’s employing the necessary help in only certain aspects. Samera has an expert marketing team from website developers, social media specialists to content writers. Employing third party specialists to help you when you need it can prove to be more helpful than you know. They are aware of what is necessary to get you recognition and can do it effectively without having to impose any stress onto you.
Tell them how to reach you
This seems like such an easy one but it is often overlooked. Make sure your followers know how to get hold of you. Plaster your contact details such as your web address, email address, phone numbers and social media handles. If it is possible, have them hyperlinked on any web content such as emails or newsletters and everywhere on your captions, having those details at the bottom or in the corner of web pages so it is easy for people to find you and remind them that you are available on various platforms.
Social media ideas for dentists to engage audiences
Online contests are a great way to boost your following without opting for paid advertisements. You will have to fork out a bit for the final prize but that’s still cheaper than buying clicks and views.
Use simple, cheap treatments such as a free tooth whitening session, a dental care kit or a treatment voucher as your prizes to encourage winners to have to come to your location.
This not only directly promotes your own product/service but also saves you from spending on another item. It’s basically free publicity. As long as your customer service is handled well, you should be able to convert the prize winner into a long-term patient once they are in the practice.
No one can do everything by themselves. Sooner or later you will need help and teaming up with another business that is in the same field can help create a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit greatly.
Creating strategic partnerships has many advantages while doesn’t require as much work on your part. Your business is able to receive twice as much notice and partnering with an industry-relevant business will also introduce you to an entirely new audience that is looking for something in your area of specialties.
Continuing from the previous example once again, a car mechanic can partner with a car dealership and have access to an exclusive audience that would usually be out of reach. And you can even go a step further and give discounts or offer special pricing to the customers that are referred to you by the partner.
Certain businesses in the dental industry, like equipment suppliers and dental tech companies, are always happy to team up with practitioners to help grow their patient base (as this often translates into more revenue for them too). Reach out, share posts and see what opportunities are out there.
Speaking of referral programs, they should not only be limited to your partnerships. Under normal circumstances even if customers like what you have to offer, they still often wouldn’t just refer to your services without a reason. So why not give them one?
You have a lot of freedom when it comes to designing referral programs, but the one thing that should be kept in mind is the reward. It has to be enticing enough for your customers to consider actively referring new clients. What you’re looking for is someone that will stick around, even after the initial purchase.
Studies have shown that referred customers have much higher brand loyalty from the get-go and larger profit margins without much work from your side. Not only this, but it would also increase the loyalty of your existing customers once they have a more vested interest in your brand.
Plus, with the dozens of different softwares out there that are designed for the sole purpose of setting up and maintaining such referral programs, there really is no reason for you to not at least try it out.
More on how to Grow Your Dental Practice with Social Media
For more information on how to grow your dental practice with social media, check out the marketing section of our Learning Center or contact us today!
For all our previous webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel.
You can hear about all our upcoming webinars here.