89% of internet users have a Facebook profile. Source: Smart Insights
In the last few years social media marketing has skyrocketed in both it’s importance as a component of a marketing strategy and it’s efficacy. It’s guaranteed that a majority of your current and future patients have an online presence. In fact, the largest growing group of people on Facebook are the Baby Boomers.
As a dentist, it’s critical to the success of your practice that you begin to adopt social media marketing into your strategy. If you’re already doing it but feel like you’re not getting the effect you expected, it’s probably time you reevaluate your strategy and find one that works.
Creating a presence on social media for your dental practice takes skill. It takes understanding how each platform works and what the unique demographics of each one is.
Generally, here’s what you can find on various platforms:
- Facebook: Largest age group is ages 25-35, however, the Baby Boomers are catching up and using this platform more and more. Facebook still dominates the internet as a whole.
- Twitter: Twitter is commonly where young, affluent individuals hang out. 18-24 year olds love this platform.
- Instagram: Another favorite among the youth, many cosmetic dentists find this platform is a great place to showcase before and after photos and have their patients tag them so that their friends can see the results and be motivated to contact them for information or an appointment.
Before you dive into creating a strategy for each of these platforms, you need to understand how to do that and most importantly where to start.
Find Your Patients
Just like you wouldn’t set up a cosmetic dentistry practice in an area where there’s more cows than people, you wouldn’t set up a social network profile if your audience isn’t there. Taking into consideration the information above, you need to think about who your target audience is and which networks you are most likely to find them on.
It’s better to excel at a few networks that are high value, than to perform with mediocrity on every network under the sun.
Know Your Goals
First and foremost, you must think about your purpose behind creating these profiles. If your goal is to attract new patients, then the content you create and push out should align with that goal. Additional goals, however, should include being personable, showing who your practice is, and engaging with existing patients.
All of this allows you to not just attract visitors, but also nurture leads in the various stages of the sales funnel. So whether someone is at the top and simply curious, toward the middle and showing buy signs, or at the end and ready to close, you can be there along the way guiding them through the process.
Create Relevant Content
As a dentist how many times have you had a patient come into the office who has already diagnosed themselves because of something they read online. Much of what is found online is open to interpretation, but that doesn’t stop patients from consulting “Dr. Google” and drawing a conclusion about their health before they even see a dentist. It can be frustrating to say the least, but as a dentist you have the ability to go against this trend. How?
By creating relevant content that is clear cut and honest patients will begin to look to you as a solid source of information, instead of other less reliable sources. Your blog is one of the best places to start. As you strategize you’ll get an idea of what you audience is looking for and craft content that attracts new visitors and informs all who come to your website.
Your social media platforms are a place for you to actively engage with your audience. You can answer questions, respond to comments, and try to solve any issues or complaints voiced on your channel. It’s important to maintain transparency when interacting with people on your page. Remember, everyone is watching how you will respond, so whether someone is praising your practice or complaining, you need to always be on your a game.
Many dentists love to share before and after photos of patients, pictures of their no cavity club, and other patient testimonials. While this is all great stuff to share, it’s crucial that you still honor all HIPAA regulations. Anything that is considered protected health information should be kept offline. The only way around this is to have a legal waiver signed by any patient you wish to feature on your social channels.
It’s recommended you hire a lawyer to create a waiver that is iron clad so that you are protected in the long run. Additionally, you should make it clear to patients that they can rescind their waiver, but it must be in writing or through a secure email. You can learn about secure email in this article.