Successful Social Media Strategies for Dental Practices
Today, people expect easy access to information when they want it and how they want it, even when it comes to dentistry. In fact, a recent study by Chadwick Martin Bailey… This text opens a new tab to the official website… on behalf of CareCredit… This text opens a new tab to the CareCredit website… found that about half of dental patients conducted online research for information on the procedure and/or payment options.
In this article, Rita Zamora, owner of Rita Zamora Connections*, shares social media strategies for dental practices, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to easily and effectively attract new patients, communicate with existing patients, and promote their unique qualities, characteristics, and services.
Be more than social: Be strategic
We live in the Discover Economy, where people actively seek, share, and discover new products and services through practically every social media site.
As a result, we’re seeing a shift in marketing from outbound – meaning direct mail, radio, print, and TV – to inbound. Inbound marketing is about putting online breadcrumbs if you will, where people are spending their time so that they’re more likely to discover you.
Social media is not as much about selling as it is sharing – sharing content that people WANT to see.
The key to success is to be sure that your practice is in a place of discovery to take advantage of the opportunities presented online.
So how do you put together successful social media strategies for dental practices?
Here are the four steps to get started.
Step one: Create your story
Craft a one-page strategy document that includes the consistent and purposeful story you want to share with people about your practice, roles and responsibilities, budget, and other resource allocation (such as time) and success metrics.
The primary focus of your story is your vision and mission, and it should include the type of procedures or dentistry your practice offers, as well as who your ideal patient is.
Step two: Plan your calendar
Proactively plan how you are going to share this story online. I recommend creating a 12-month calendar.
Let’s say that philanthropy is one of the biggest components of your practice story, and your doctor would like to do more short-term orthodontics. In this situation, creating your practice’s social media calendar starts with a quarterly event that raises money for an appropriate charity.
The pre-, during- and post-event social media posts would be put on the calendar. Then you would add content that appeals to those patients who may be candidates for short-term orthodontics.
This content could be educational (all about clear aligners), inspirational (the benefits of a beautiful smile), or promotional (have a short-term orthodontics information session).
Step three: Add seasonal messaging
Consider adding any seasonal events or messaging – such as back-to-school or end-of-year benefits – and information that may help patients overcome barriers to care, such as sedation (fear) and financing options with the CareCredit credit card (cost).
Step four: Make it personal
Let your own personality shine through your passions (whatever they may be). This is the “fun stuff” like birthdays, celebrations, team retreats, contests, hobbies, etc.
Once you’ve done all this, you should have a strategic and strong calendar ready to be implemented on your practice’s social media.
Be a social success
The time and resources put into social media strategies for dental practices should produce a measurable return on investment. Whether you’re doing it yourself or have hired an expert, there are many different ways to measure the success of your efforts. Here are a few to consider:
- Visibility: It’s important that you are visible to current and prospective patients in your neighborhood. This can be measured through the reach of your content – specifically, how many people in your area are you reaching on a consistent basis, and is that reach growing? If you’re managing your social media yourself, Facebook can provide analytics information for you via the Insights Tab, under the Page Views section of your practice’s page.
- Lead Generation: It’s important to drive people to your website, and if it is designed for conversions, you can measure the click-through that leads to appointments, phone calls, or requests for information.
- Specific Promotions: Create product or treatment promotions (clear aligners day) and fun contests only marketed through your social media channels and measure the response. Set a new “Like” goal for a specific month and if your patients help you achieve it by sharing content, you’ll donate teachers’ supplies for back-to-school in the fall, or jackets to a local shelter in the winter.
- Intake Forms: Your patient intake form should include a place for patients to let you know who referred them as well as if they have seen your practice on social media. Have check-boxes that indicate all your social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Reviews, and YouTube, and ask them to follow you. This also encourages patients who have NOT seen you on social media to look for you and recognize your brand.
Social media can be an amazing way to communicate with, attract, and keep patients for life. Remember to be authentic.
Photos and videos are a great way to tell a story and connect with patients (and worth 1,000 words). Don’t be shy asking for people to like you. Create your story and your calendar. Give your plans a budget and some time. Then monitor your results so you can identify what works for your practice and patients.
Finally, be aware of even more opportunities as new apps and social media sites are introduced and embraced by today’s digital consumer.
*CareCredit Path to Purchase – Dental, 2016
This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other advisors with respect to any information presented. Synchrony Financial and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit (collectively, “Synchrony”), makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accepts no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions in Successful Social Media Strategies are the sole opinions of the author. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions. Rita Zamora collaborates with CareCredit to develop educational materials for the dental industry.
Meet the Author
Rita Zamora is an international speaker and published author on social media marketing and online reputation management.
She and her team offer experienced social media training, mentoring, and support for healthcare professionals and corporate clients across the globe.
Learn more here: www.ritazamora.com.