“I need to get my social media set up for my dental practice.” Have you said that in the last six months? Three times in the last week? Our purpose is to give a little crash course on what social media is and is not and how a dentist may use social media effectively to grow his or her practice.
There is no doubt that your potential patients are spending time, lots of time, on social media? -A recent study determined that people are spending 3x as much time on Facebook as they are on Google. Now, is it possible to build an effective social media campaign to speak with and convert to patients those you interact with in the social media sphere? Yes. What is important to note here is that there is no social media silver bullet. What may work for someone else’s dental practice may not work for yours. You must create a custom social media strategy for your practice. Here’s how to do it.
Identify your social media goals.
What does success look like? One new patient a month from your social media efforts? Two, three, ten? Here’s the assumption: the more patients you want from your social media efforts, the more effort, or investment, you will need to make. Once you have a reasonable and attainable goal for your dental social media efforts we can move on to the next step.
Identify your target market.
Are your patients primarily middle class moms or do you serve the uber-wealthy celebrity crowd? Form a clear picture of who your target market is as this will guide you through the next steps.
Identify social media platforms.
Referring to our previous example, if your target is middle class moms, you will have better traction on a platform where they actually are and engage—like Facebook. If you work with a lot of professionals (men and women), LinkedIn might be a good place for you to invest some time and energy. In the authors opinion, it is beneficial to have a presence for your dental practice on all the major social media sites due to the “roof-top” factor (more rooftops help you catch and channel more “rain”).
Develop messaging strategy (if you have not already done so).
Put yourself in the shoes of your target market. What message will appeal to them? Are you a hometown, down-to-earth feeling practice, or are you an advanced cosmetic practice? Would your patients like to feel like they are part of a small family, or do they want to feel like a dental specialist is going to make them look like a movie star? Understanding your target will help you craft the message and talking points that you will use in your campaigns.
Develop your social media strategy.
Once you have nailed down your social media platform and what messaging you will use, you will next determine how you will achieve your objectives (from item #1). Remember that social media is not a one-way communication channel. Potential patients want information, but they also want to interact and see that other people interact with your practice. Will you post your patients birthdays to give them “shout out”, or will you post information about a treatment every week?
EXAMPLE (Springville Dental)
Goal – two new patients a month from social media efforts
Target – middle class moms in smaller suburban community
Social Media Platform – These moms are heavy Facebook users but not Twitter or LinkedIn
Messaging Strategy – We’re up with the latest dental technology but have a hometown, familial feel. We’d love for you to be part of our family.
Dentist Social Media Strategy – Post about 3x per week. One post per week a testimonial (preferably written and posted by patient). One post per week highlighting a specific treatment and the benefits it offers. One post per week highlighting a patient and something they accomplished in the community.
As you move forward with your dental social media strategy, you will notice that some things get more traction than others, so you must be willing and able to adjust your strategy as you move along to get the most value from your social media efforts. Let us know if you would like any help.