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It’s no secret dentists have come to rely on social media as an integral cornerstone of their marketing campaigns. There’s no better or easier way to reach and engage with your patient base than to post inviting content on social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, not every dental team may understand the best ways to do this.
It’s no secret dentists have come to rely on social media as an integral cornerstone of their marketing campaigns.
There’s no better or easier way to reach and engage with your patient base than to post inviting content on social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, not every dental team may understand the best ways to do this.
Patients are involved in online conversations every day with family, friends and even their health care providers, so it’s up to each dentist to make his/her page a must-visit. There are many ways to ensure that your social media space is a hub of activity, but none is more important than maintaining consistency. Planning ahead, adhering to a posting schedule and emphasizing the most engaging types of posts are three essential steps to making sure your social media presence is consistently updated and maximized for success.
Continue to the next page to learn how to set your social media presence up for success.
The rule of thirds
As an overall rule, it’s a good idea to stick to what is known as the “social media rule of thirds”: Promotion, sharing and conversation. Promotion is fairly straightforward and is likely what dentists and their teams tend to focus on the most. A practice’s own articles, blogs, announcements, events and press releases fall under this umbrella.
Sharing is similar in that it is also directly related to dentistry, but these posts come from other sources such as newspapers, studies, industry trade publications, as well as fellow colleagues and even infographics (remember: Everyone loves visuals).
Finally, conversation is where dentists get to indulge their creative side by sharing inspiring quotes and humorous memes, posting behind-the-scenes photos for patients to see, and engaging in Q & A sessions. Utilizing all three of these strategies is important to maintaining a well-balanced and consistent social media presence.
1. Plan ahead
One of the keys to making social media work for your practice is planning ahead. Keeping the rule of thirds in mind, it’s a good idea to gather content a month ahead of time so that your team isn’t scrambling to come up with posts at the last minute. A lot of this will be intuitive: If your office has special events or promotions coming up, you’ll know exactly when these posts have to run. Then fill in the rest of the days with lighter fare like quotes, photos and did-you-know style pieces.
2. Build a schedule
Using automated scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can be helpful in setting up a steady stream for your social media pages. Both user-friendly programs are capable of managing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages, and make it easy to plan posts well in advance so that your pages operate like clockwork. Both also offer analytics features that show you what posts are resonating with your patients and even go so far as to suggest ideas for future posts.
3. Don’t be boring
It’s best to post an array of content that appeals to as many patients as possible. Your in-house content (blog posts, announcements and scheduling information) aside, there are many standard post types that serve to keep your patients involved and engaged:
- Don’t be shy about highlighting rave reviews given by loyal customers or posting photos of your team doing good things within the community. Of course you don’t want your social media pages to come off as an endless string of self-promotion, but highlighting when your practice is doing something right helps communicate what makes your practice stand out from the rest.
- Sharing posts from peers, referral sources, specialists and other like-minded health professionals is a strategic way to fill your social media profiles while maintaining friendly rapport with your business network. Cross-promotion is never a bad idea!
- Patients love a peek behind the scenes, so sharing photos and videos from around the dental office or of staff members are always big hits. It also helps forge a more personal bond between your office and your patients in a fun, easygoing manner. Just be sure to always get written consent before posting any photos or videos of staff and patients.
- It’s always important to keep social media best practices in mind, including using hashtags, SEO-friendly keywords, and targeting a specific audience using methods like Facebook’s audience optimization tool will ensure your posts will reach exactly who you want them to.
But what should we post?
Finally, using some of these suggestions for what to post, here’s a sample of a week’s worth of social media updates from which you can build your own content calendar:
â Monday: Post a joke or inspirational quote. The briefer, the better.
â Tuesday: Post an announcement or scheduling information, or talk up some upcoming events. This would be the time to give out some vital information specific to your practice.
â Wednesday: Boost real-time engagement by asking a question related to your practice or your patients’ dental knowledge. Be active in the comments thread and promote discussion!
â Thursday: Link to a blog post that your office wrote, or share an article from another source that’s related to your practice.
â Friday: Build on the popularity of visual content and post an infographic or upload a picture or video from around the office.
Creating a plan like this will keep your social media profiles current, consistent and engaging. And an equal diet of self-promotion, sharing and conversation will keep your patients engaged and your social media profiles light-hearted yet effective in marketing your practice online.