Social media is becoming a bigger player in dental practice marketing, but many dentists don’t understand the need to utilize it differently than other forms of marketing. While most marketing revolves solely on getting your marketing message out, social media demands engagement and interaction. It is not enough for dentists to simply set up Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts, follow local users and post updates or tweets that only focus on sharing a marketing message. Social media requires social interaction to be effective.
On Facebook, this involves making sure to comment whenever someone leaves a note on your wall, seeking local businesses to “like” and commenting on their pages and seeking opportunities to share about local events that would benefit your followers. Facebook provides applications that can be used to help your followers engage more, including contest and opinion poll apps. Facebook’s recent revamp of the Facebook Page business profile makes it easier for businesses to be interactive.
On Twitter, a dentist cannot simply post tweets with a marketing message seeking new patients. Some time must be taken each week to interact with tweets from other local users. The reply and retweet features make this possible. Social media offers a great opportunity for dentists to decrease the fear factor many new patients face by demonstrating their compassion and personality through these interactions.
While social media is “free,” there is certainly a time commitment that must be made and your time is not free. Some dentists seek to involve their staff members in helping to expand their social media presence. It is certainly a good idea to have all staff members participate in brainstorming information that would be good to share through social media avenues. For instance, a dental hygienist or dental front office manager may have a great idea for a local event to share about which was discussed with a patient in the waiting room. One should proceed with caution before turning over the entire administration of social media to a staff member however as the final reflection is on the dentist.