Social Media is everywhere, and the best part is it’s free! But before you dive into these powerful platforms, it is important to determine your objective. It’s too easy to get lost in the sea of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others. Some reasons to start up a social media strategy include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) so new patients can find your practice.
- Patient education (to boost treatment case acceptance).
- Improve referral business.
There are a variety of social media tools or platforms you can use depending on your strategy. It’s easy to start small and add additional platforms as time allows, or you can try all at once to get your name out there quickly.
To start, the most common or perhaps frequently used, is Facebook. Facebook has become a platform for all types of individuals to connect both on a personal and professional basis. This social media tool makes it easy for a business to share photos and videos, post updates, and keep customers (patients) up to date on the latest news with the office. Facebook is also a great tool for prospective new patients to see a more personal side of your office, and can help them start thinking about becoming a patient. This is a chance for you to show some personality while still keeping your Facebook business page professional.
But, wait – you don’t have an audience yet. In order for a Facebook page to be successful in helping you grow your practice, people have to see it. Start by building your audience on Facebook, this can be done by simply asking people to “like” your page. When checking out patients, have your front desk team remind patients that you’re on Facebook and to give you a “like”. You could also add your social media links to your appointment reminders. If you are not getting “likes” fast enough, try doing a simple contest to boost awareness. This could be a guessing game like how many packs of dental floss are in a jar, to make it interesting for your patients and prospective ones.
Another social media tool is adding a blog to your website. A blog is an excellent outlet to share information about your practice whether it be news, events, or new employee photos. Keeping a regularly updated blog is a great way to promote your brand and share some of your expertise with patients and for others to learn more about you and your practice.
Twitter! We have seen a lot of mention of Twitter in recent weeks and it is a powerful tool if used properly. This is a much shorter way to get your message out since you are limited to 140 characters per post. However, it is relatively quick and easy to post which makes it a great option for quick or on the go messages or updates, when you may not have time to write a full blog. Similar to Facebook, this is a great tool for your patients to see more of your personality. Keep an eye on your newsfeed and follow your industry peers and even other local businesses so you can retweet as desired.
YouTube is a social media tool that will take a little more time and effort if you want to be sure you are posting quality and fun video content. However, don’t give up on it yet! You can use YouTube to post a video tour of your office, do regular “meet our staff” videos, and even film patients or procedures to share on your social media platforms listed above. You don’t need to make a movie masterpiece to have fun and post on YouTube. Give it a shot and see if it is a hit with your patients.
Now that you have your strategy, and a quick snapshot of the tools available for you to develop your social media strategy – here are a few tips for how to get off on the right foot.
- Make sure this is a mix of topics and interest. Try to keep your content industry specific, but don’t be afraid to share local events or information, weather, or even an update on your favorite sports team. Don’t forget people love pictures of family, even your fur family – who doesn’t love a puppy picture?
- Referral focus. Work to build your audience in hopes of boosting your visibility which will ultimately lead to more referrals. When a patient interacts on your page, that activity will show up in their friends’ feed. This is free advertising! Keep your practice top of mind for your patients, and their friends and family will be able to see that. This is another reason to keep your content industry-specific while throwing in fun, personal, and local posts.
- Contests and campaigns. If you feel like your audience isn’t growing the way you’d like, generate buzz by starting a contest. You can also look into campaigns to target specific patients, while this isn’t free, it could give your page a boost and be money well-spent.
- Keep an eye on your metrics. Facebook has a great insights tool that gives you a snapshot of how effective your social media strategy is, including your reach and engagement. This can help you see what posts are getting the most traction so you can focus your efforts on delivering more of that content.
If you aren’t already following XLDent on the social front, start now by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, connecting with us on Google+ and LinkedIn, and watching us on YouTube. Happy sharing!