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Essential social media advice for dental practices

Social media refers to any app or website that lets users create and share their own content. Not only is social media a great way to stay in contact with family and friends, but it also a great way to stay in touch with your local community.

Facebook is the leader in social media, with more than a billion members and more than 800 million daily active users. Facebook lets users interact with family and friends in a closed environment.

More and more brands generate leads from marketing on social media. Dentists can join the conversation by creating a business page and engaging with current and potential patients.

Social media also offers excellent benefits for search engine optimization. Here’s why:

  1. Social networks, such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google+, let users rate and provide online reviews for local businesses. These reviews can be very useful for other users when choosing which dentist to visit. Search engines like Google consider this valuable information so business with reviews then to rank higher.
  2. The number of likes, tweets or shares your site receives is a ranking factor for the search engines. These factors not only show that your business is active, but also how popular your business is.

Why use social media?

There are many reasons to use social media:

  • Build your reputation: Social media can be incredibly helpful in building your professional reputation in the community. By providing valuable content, you portray yourself as a leader in your field and as an active member of your community.
  • Increase your visibility: Through regular posts you’ll stay connected with your fans. High quality posts help your patients to better understand their treatment options and the quality of care that you provide. Plus having your name come up in their news feed reminds them to book their next appointment!
  • Provide a space for people to talk about your practice: People are going to talk about your practice – whether it’s good or bad. In both cases, it’s helpful to direct patients to a platform that you monitor, such as Facebook or Google+. Then, if you get a negative or positive review, you’ll see it and can reach out to the patient right away.
  • Improve your search engine ranking: Hundreds of factors determine whether your website will rank on the first page of search engine results. Social media signals play a big role in determining where you will rank. The number of likes, and the number of people talking about your practice send search engines the message that your practice is active and a relevant choice.

How do I integrate social media into my practice?

Creating a successful Facebook page requires dedication and consistency. A great page will show Facebook fans behind the closed doors of your dental practice and allow them to learn more about you and what you do. To achieve this personal touch it’s important to have a designated Facebook administrator from the office who understands how Facebook works.

What do I post?

Many marketers use the cocktail party rule or the 70/20/10 rule. The basic principle for both is that if you’re at a cocktail party, no one wants to stand around and listen to you talk about yourself the whole time. You have to provide something of value and share with others – and then maybe you can talk about yourself a bit.

We use the 70/20/10 Facebook posting guideline, which says that 70% of your content should be informative and provide valuable information to your patients. After that, 20% of your content can be shared content or content written or designed by others outside of your business. Finally, 10% of your content can be promotional.

Get more Facebook post tips for your dental practice here.

What do I write about?

People post anything and everything to social media… but that doesn’t mean you should for your dental practice! The most important thing to consider for your dental practice posts is relevance: is this post relevant to my dental practice? While your son’s first haircut might be cute, it won’t bring business into your office. In fact, posting irrelevant things might cause readers to leave your Facebook page because the page doesn’t live up to their expectations. Make sure every post is related to dentistry, your dental office and the people who work there.

Another key factor to consider when posting is whether your post provides value. Posts might be educational, informative or entertaining, but they should ultimately leave your patient better off for having engaged with your dental practice on Facebook.

How often do I post?

Set a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key. You might decide you only have enough content to post twice a week. That’s fine: just be consistent. Your audience will come to expect your posts and start looking forward to them each week.

Maybe you can only carve thirty minutes out to think about social media per week. If that’s the case, you can use scheduling apps like Buffer or Hootsuite to send things out over time, instead of posting a lot at once. Make sure you’re scheduling the posts to go out at a time when you’re in the office. That way, if any one responds, you’ll be available to engage with them.

What is reach?

Your reach is the number of people who have seen your post – whether or not they engaged with it. When you add a post to Facebook, it gets displayed on the newsfeed of a percentage of your followers. If one of your fans likes or shares your post, it gets displayed to a percentage of their followers.

Engagement is the key factor that decides whether a post is seen by thousands of people… or is only seen by a handful of your own followers. Engagement is when someone clicks, shares or likes your post. As people engage with your post, it gets shared on their newsfeed to a percentage of their friends.

How do I extend my reach?

Promoted posts are a great way of extending your reach. Instead of waiting for people to discover your post, you can pay Facebook to give them a little nudge by boosting your post. For as little as a dollar a day, you can have many more people viewing your posts.

You can also control the kinds of people who see your post, to a certain extent. Maybe you’re interested in marketing your latest blog post on dental care during pregnancy to women age 20-35 within your geographic area. Facebook lets you target your post based on age, gender, location and interests. This means you can specifically target certain types of people to make sure you’re not wasting your money showing that blog post on pregnancy and dental care to a 64-year-old man.

Conclusion

When it’s done correctly, social media can help keep your practice top-of-mind with your current and potential patients. This makes them more likely to give you a call when it comes time to book their next check-up.

Questions or comments? Send us an email. We’re always here to help!

Jean Fraser
Jean Fraser
As the Director of Marketing at Optio Publishing, Jean is fascinated by all things related to internet marketing, including SEO, Google AdWords and Social Media Management. When not at work she can be found tearing up the dance floor.
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