Navigating the Social Media Scene
Fifteen years ago, social media was the cool, new kid on the block. Today, it’s become more like a best friend. Businesses no longer rely solely on postcards, fliers, and digital ads. Now, they are able to leverage the power of social media to strengthen their brand image, gain followers, and spark local interest through targeted geographic marketing.
But let’s face it, unless you are a millennial or a recent graduate, you didn’t grow up sharing your daily experiences, moods, or meal choices on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. In fact, instead of a “best friend,” social media seems more like Eddie Haskell or Dennis the Menace to you. And just like these next-door nuisances, social media is not going away. So it’s time to pick up those feet you’ve been dragging and get on board.
It doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right knowledge, you can master the ins and outs of the most popular social networking sites and leverage this tool to gain new patients, push promotions, boost production, and garner community support. Trust me—it’s all doable. You just need to learn the rules and how to play the game.
Here are some basic do’s and don’ts to follow when using social media to market your practice:
DO Have Fun with It
Your social media posts should always be professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them fun. Post a poll, a funny photo, a contest, or a thought-provoking question. The key is to engage the viewer. This is a great opportunity to interact with your patients when they are not in your office and keep them thinking about your practice.
DON’T Allow Grammar and Spelling Mistakes to Slip Through
Always edit. Posting a sloppy typo is one of the easiest ways to instantly zap your credibility. To the public eye, your social media accounts are a direct reflection of your practice and your skills as a doctor. If you can’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re,” what does that say about your attention to detail when performing a complex procedure?
DO Share a More Personal Side of Your Practice
Social media is a perfect place to highlight the great things that your team is doing in and around the community. If your team recently volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity build, share some pictures. If your hygienist is a Girl Scout troop leader, talk about it. Studies show that people want to give their business to people they like. And the more they know about you, your team, and the great things you do, the more they will like calling you their dentist.
DON’T Mistake a Lack of Likes for Failure
I get it: “numbers” are a big part of the social media game. After all, they’re how you track your progress. How many followers do you have? What about reviews, page clicks, and likes? While all of these statistics are important, they don’t necessarily give you the big picture of how your social media campaigns are performing. Don’t adopt a defeatist attitude. Keep at it.
DO Post Frequently
Keep your social media accounts active by consistently posting new content. This helps to ensure that your practice stays fresh in your patient’s mind between appointments. It also helps you to increase your visibility on some sites, such as Facebook, which use specific algorithms to calculate who is able to see your posts.
When you are running a professional social media account, you have to be careful not to confuse your personal opinion with the official opinion of your business. Control your image. Don’t post content that is negative, overtly political, whiny, or self-pitying. It has the potential to cause some serious damage to your practice’s credibility.
DO Respond to Negative Posts
When it comes to negative reviews, there is nothing worse than silence or avoidance. If there was a legitimate mistake, own it, apologize, and move on. If there was a misunderstanding, set the record straight. But this is not the platform to place blame or get into unproductive banter. Take the high road AT ALL TIMES.
Social media is not the place for white papers, text-heavy ads, or sales pitches—period. When you use stiff, formal, “salesy” language on fun, spontaneous platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it comes across as painfully boring and stale. Posts should be eye-catching, entertaining, witty, or thought provoking. It is all about the “now,” so keep your phone handy to capture a fun, spontaneous moment or patient interaction.
DO Leverage Multiple Social Media Platforms.
If you are just getting your feet wet, I’ve got news for you. There are literally hundreds of social networking sites in the world. But for your purposes, let’s focus on four of the most prominent sites:
1. Twitter. A stream of brief, daily updates (140 characters or less) that help to keep your followers engaged.
2. LinkedIn. A professional social network that is perfect for highlighting your credibility and business connections.
3. Instagram. A visual portal into your practice’s culture that features photos and video clips.
4. Facebook. A one-stop shop where you can share statuses, slogans, updates, photos, videos, links, and more to interact with followers on every level.
Sit down and create a plan for integrating multiple social media sites into your marketing efforts. What kinds of messages do you want to convey on each site? How can you use each site’s unique platform to guide your content?
DON’T Share the Same Content on All of Your Networks
Repurposing good content is great, but be careful not to re-share the exact same thing across all of your social media accounts. It’s important to know your audience for each platform and post accordingly. The practice of “cross-posting” does not take into account the platform specific features or ideal posting times for each site.
I’ve worked with enough doctors to know that marketing is not your top priority, nor does it fall into your comfort zone. Learn more about how to leverage innovative marketing strategies to attract new and retain current patients at a content-filled, two-day event in October. Go to https://www.jaygeierevents.com to find out more information or to register.
About the Author
Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute. He is the creator of the world-renowned five-star new patient generation training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. Learn more by visiting www.schedulinginstitute.com.