Social media marketing in your dental practice is fueled by one-to-one relationships. Unlike traditional marketing, success is typically realized through connections with small numbers of patients and prospective patients, combined with great strategy, interesting content and passion.
In our experience working with hundreds of dental practice clients, we’ve discovered a direct correlation between their social media marketing success and their understanding of 7 key concepts.
Various social media tools will always come and go. Your practice’s social media marketing strategy shouldn’t be dependent on any one account or network over which you have little control. In the long run, your objective should be to build your own platform, anchored by your “social hub” blogsite.
Except for your website, the tools in the spokes are “outposts”. They’re places designed for conversations. They’re places to show interest in others. They’re places where you earn increased patient trust.
Don’t try to sell dentistry every time you blog, update or tweet! Of course, one of the reasons you’re creating this permission-based, social media marketing strategy is to grow a thriving, profitable business. But keep in mind that the topics must be interesting and relevant, first.
Would you walk into a party, climb up on the table and start selling your stuff? Of course not. Instead, you’d look around for people that you’d like to get to know. After briefly introducing yourself, you’d ask about the other person. You’d show interest. You’d find connection points. That’s how meaningful relationships begin face to face. It’s exactly the same with social media.
Dentistry is a relationship-based business. You can’t just write a check—as you would if you were launching a billboard campaign—and expect social media marketing to work. Remember … Social media isn’t something you “have.” It’s something you “do.”
4. In-Practice Support
Team members have close relationships with your patients. Involving them helps ensure success. Early on, there aren’t enough people inside your platform. Shares, blog comments, Facebook Likes, retweets, etc. can be few and far between. Initially, build your platform from the outside in. The best place to start is with your team.
It’s also important to have some simple, printed handout materials, posters, buttons, etc. to spark conversations and create interest inside your practice. Also have easy, accessible ways (such as an in-practice iPad) for people to subscribe, Like, share and comment.
Share your practice culture and your passion for what you do through social media. Information alone rarely motivates anybody to do anything. That’s because it’s not human. Connect with your patients and prospective patients on an emotional, personal level.
Take advantage of your team members’ passions too! Each has everyday interests, hobbies, challenges, and victories—all of which are awesome storytelling opportunities.
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Social media marketing isn’t just about marketing. Your platform provides an easy way to not only better connect with your patients, but to also share and enlist others in giving.
Do a few things every year for your community. Use your platform to spread the word before, during and after the event. Be imaginative. It always comes back in spades.
7. Consistency & Patience
Measuring success with new marketing seems difficult because you tend to only hear about the big “viral” successes in social media. It may surprise you to learn that a study of Facebook dental practice pages showed 82% have less than 100 Likes, and only 2% have more than 500 Likes. You don’t need your efforts to “go viral” to realize remarkable benefits. But you do need consistency and patience.
Remember to celebrate every social media marketing victory—no matter how small. Each time you connect with one person you’ve also started earning permission to connect with his or her trusted, highly scalable network(s).
The fact that you’re reading this post says you have a progressive, visionary dental practice. And although the rewards of social media may not yet be readily apparent to you, your gut tells you it’s the right thing to do. Your sensibility tells you that strengthened relationships with patients and prospective patients makes a difference, grows your practice, enhances careers, and makes you more profitable. Press on!