Four Easy, Practical Steps to Start Effectively Using Twitter

New to Twitter? Does the thought of adding Twitter to your practice’s social media marketing toolbox scare you?

Don’t worry! It’s not as overwhelming as you may think – as long as you understand Twitter’s objectives in dental marketing, and take it in baby steps. Once you’ve set up your account, here are four simple steps you can follow this week to get started.

Step 1: Understand the “Why”

Before you do any tweeting, you must “get your head right.” Seriously.

Before the Internet, one of the ways you got to know people (prospective new patients) in your community was by meeting them face to face. Whether it was a new bridge club member, a new move-in to your church congregation, or being introduced to your golf buddy’s second cousin … all of these were one-to-one conversations.

Twitter allows you to do exactly the same kind of one-to-one networking online. Twitter is NOT a traditional, mass marketing tool – especially for a dental practice. Stop thinking of it that way.

Step 2: Learn Globally, Follow Locally

Use tools like Twellow or Followerwonk to cherry-pick the universe for people in your community. For a dental practice (assuming that the purpose here is marketing), it makes no sense to strike up conversations with people outside your geographic area of business influence.

Not sure how to use a tool like Twellow? Here’s a training video we recently created that explains how.

Step 3: Follow the 70/20/10 Tweet Rule

About 70% of your tweets should focus on sharing meaningful information and resources. Talk about your patients’ comfort, health and appearance. Find, follow, learn from, then share content from dentistry’s leaders (and other healthcare providers) that has direct benefits, relevance and application for your patients.

Around 20% should revolve around your efforts to connect with people and to create meaningful relationships. You do that by showing interest in others – NOT by trying to sell people dentistry. You’re earning the trust and permission needed to eventually talk about your own stuff! By doing an eensy-weensy bit of looking at other people’s Twitter bios and tweets, you can learn a ton about them very quickly. Chime in. Compliment. Ask questions. Don’t pitch. Be real.

The last 10% can be your personal stuff – a little bit of chitchat (used sparingly) and your own version of things that are interesting (yes, I know that’s highly subjective). Also, it’s perfectly all right here to start talking a little bit about your practice and the services you offer. Just try to continue to provide value when you talk about yourself too. And, it’s OK to just be you.

Sometimes the best way to put your arms around the perfect mix for this last 10% is to watch how others do this. Use one of the tools we’ve talked about above to find other dentists using Twitter.

Step 4: Start Very Small, But Consistent

Don’t let this overwhelm you. Honestly! If you make this too hard you won’t do it! Make a goal to find and meaningfully engage with two people a week on Twitter. Two meaningful connections are worth 1,000 percent more than 200 random follows or followers. And, you can do this in 15 minutes a week (even during commercial breaks watching your favorite TV show, laptop on lap)!

Go for it. A year from now you’ll look back and be glad you started now.

2 thoughts on “Four Easy, Practical Steps to Start Effectively Using Twitter

  1. Hi Jack–I find “meaningful” to be tougher on Twitter, since it’s fast moving, high volume, and followers are so often random. But, I still use it and find it fun. Besides, you can’t put all your eggs in one (social media) basket, or you’d miss out on connecting with lots of interesting folks!

    1. I agree that Twitter never really starts out as meaningful. However, I find the relationships that I start there very often become such. Thanks for your comment!

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