The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Dentists

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Make your dental practice the talk of the town

Social media marketing seems like a no-brainer for promoting your dental practice, right? It’s “free” and everybody uses it, so why not?

The truth is, when social media marketing is done improperly it’s not only ineffective, but it can actually have a negative impact on your overall marketing strategy.

Before you get started in social media for your dental office, you need to decide if it’s right for you, then you need to follow the proper steps to do it right. The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Dental Practices will help you do just that.

Should dentists use social media marketing?

Your first question about social media marketing is probably “do we really need it?” While more than 75% of dental practices use social media to attract patients, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good fit for your office. There are a number of pro’s and con’s to consider when deciding whether or not to add it to your marketing mix.

Why dentists shouldn’t use social media marketing…

Time

If you’re managing your own social media marketing, it can be time-consuming. Generating ideas, creating content, and posting on a consistent basis can require more effort than your team members can devote to it. Sharing the responsibilities among multiple people in your office can help spread out the burden, but be realistic about the total amount of time you plan to spend on social media before diving in.

Money

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are free to use, but that doesn’t mean that marketing through them comes without cost. Until you build up an organic audience, you’ll likely need to spend some money to reach enough people to make a difference. Also consider that creating your content may involve some expenses as well, especially if you are including photography and video in your strategy.

Why dentists should use social media marketing

Build your brand

Social media is a great way to showcase the personality of your brand. While your paid advertising promotes the benefits of coming to your practice, social media gives patients some insight about you and your team, helping to build a relationship before they even set foot in your office. Social media can also be a great opportunity for dentists to share knowledge and build their status in the community as a trusted healthcare provider.

Attract new patients

Social media channels can be a very effective way to target new patients for your practice. Some of this can be accomplished through organic reach, but paid ads can really target people based on a number of demographic and behavioral characteristics, allowing you to zero in on your “ideal” patients. Interacting with the people who engage with your posts through likes, shares, and comments also helps to show new patients how actively involved you are and can amplify your reach.

Connect with your current patients

Engaging your current patients is just as important as trying to reach new patients. Sharing content that informs them helps keep them connected to your team and can also encourage them to recommend your office to other people they are connected with online.

Help your SEO

Humans aren’t the only ones paying attention to your activity on social media. Search engines also get ranking signals from your social media activity, so the more active you are on social media, the better your chances of moving up the rankings.

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What social media platforms are best for marketing your dental practice?

If social media marketing works for your dental practice, you don’t want to take a shotgun approach and be on as many social channels as possible. You’ll be far more effective if you focus your efforts on the social media that will have the biggest impact.

It is no exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of social media platforms currently active across the web. Luckily, you only need to be concerned with a handful of them for the purposes of promoting your dental practice.

 

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Facebook

Facebook is without a doubt the most popular social media platform used by dentists for marketing purposes — and with good reason. Facebook reaches 69% of American adults and 74% of users are on the platform every day.

Appealing to a more “adult” audience that skews toward female users, Facebook is an ideal place to share blog posts, photos, videos, infographics, quick updates from your office, and fun items like birthdays and contests.

Facebook is also great because it allows you to set up a Facebook Business Page, which provides users with useful information about your dental practice, including hours, location, contact information, and more. You’ll also need a Business Page if you plan to do any Facebook advertising.

 

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Instagram

Instagram, which is actually part of Facebook, is a more visual social media platform geared toward the under-35 crowd. Instagram is the place to share photos and short videos, making it a great choice for cosmetic dentists to show off before and after images. It’s also a great place to share quick educational videos to help your patients keep their teeth healthy. Instagram isn’t designed to link out to external content, like your website or blog, so you might want to focus your Instagram posts on branding more than lead generation.

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YouTube

People don’t generally think of YouTube as a social media channel, but it actually has more users than Facebook. If your office produces video content, then posting it to YouTube is a good move. It is also worth mentioning that YouTube is the world’s largest search engine, even bigger than Google.

 

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Other Channels

There are a few other social media platforms that may be beneficial to certain types of dental practices or in special cases.

LinkedIn is primarily a business-to-business platform, and not necessarily a good way to reach patients. It can, however, be a good way to network with colleagues if you are a specialty practice that relies on professional referrals.

Twitter is popular, but is geared toward timely, news-worthy content that has a short shelf life. That means you’ll need to be very active posting content to remain visible. Most dental offices can’t keep up with the volume necessary to build a following on Twitter.

Pinterest is another visual platform that can possibly be useful for dental practices that have eye-catching content. But it is generally very hard to build any sort of meaningful audience to be worth the effort.

TikTok, a newer platform popular with Millennials and Gen Z users, is all about sharing short video clips 15 to 60 seconds in length. Because of its limited length, TikTok can be useful for grabbing attention and pushing users to your other social channels for longer content.

 

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How to build a successful social media marketing strategy for your dental practice

Ready to get started with social media for your office? Just like with any other marketing strategy, you need a plan if you want to be successful. Let’s look at who you’ll be targeting, how often you’ll engage with them, what content you’ll be sharing, and how you can produce that content.

Your audience

If you have personas defined for your ideal dental patients (you really should), then you already have a clear picture of who you are trying to engage with through social media. Sharing content that is tailored for your audience will greatly increase the amount of engagement you generate, as well as the size of the online following you build.

Starting out without any following may mean you need to pay to put your content in front of new people. Sharable content will help your audience grow. Also try to get your team members involved and encourage employees to share social posts with their own connections to help your reach expand faster.

To get additional traction or to reach people outside of your organic circles, consider adding paid social media ads to your distribution strategy. The targeting options available will allow you to zero in on your ideal patients based on demographics and interests.

Your content

Once you know your audience, you need to plan what kind of social content you’ll produce. That not only means subject matter, but also format. Some content works well in print, while other content works better visually as images or videos.

A big mistake many dentists make is being too self-promotional on social media. Try to limit that type of content to less than 20% of all your organic posts. It’s okay to ask for something once in a while, but if you’re too pushy, you’ll lose your followers quickly. Save the salesy stuff for your social media ads.

Also decide who will be your writer, photographer, and/or videographer for your content. It could be a member of your team or someone you outsource the creative work to. Either way, a single person should “own” your social media strategy. The responsibility should be clearly defined and entrusted to someone who can handle it well.

Your schedule

Although there isn’t really any magic formula for how often and when you post your content, consistency is the key. Posting weekly is good. Posting daily is even better. Your frequency will depend on how much time you have, how interesting your content is, how long it takes to create, and how interested your audience is.

Whatever sort of schedule and frequency you decide on, having a social media content calendar is a great idea to help keep you on track and to have your topics planned out in advance.

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Measuring your success

Knowing how successful your social media marketing efforts are is important. As mentioned earlier, even though social media platforms are free, social media marketing for your dental practice can drain both time and money if they are not being done effectively.

While there are dozens of measurable metrics available through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other channels you may be using, you should at the very least be tracking two factors — reach and engagement.

Reach

Reach is simply how many people your content is being viewed by. It can be broken down into three types.

Organic reach is the number of people who saw your post in their feed as a result of following or liking your social account. This is your strongest audience segment since they have indicated that they are interested in your content.

Viral reach tracks how many people have seen your content indirectly as a result of social sharing. They may not be following you, but their friends and/or families are. That means they are just one step away from becoming followers if they like what they see.

Paid reach, the number of people who saw your content through promoted social posts or ads, is the most expensive, and least engaged, segment of your overall audience. Most of these people are strangers to your dental practice, but the more of them you can convert to followers, the more you knock down your social media marketing costs.

Engagement

Your engagement statistics let you know if the content you are creating is hitting the mark. Low levels of engagement will mean you will begin to lose your audience, if you haven’t done so already. Keep a close watch on the amount of likes and shares you have for various types of posts. Use that information to help you decide what content to create more of, and what can be trimmed from your social media calendar.

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DIY or get help?

Social media marketing can be, and most often is, managed in-house by dental teams. It just takes efficient planning and an organized process to be successful.

If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of producing content on a regular basis and distributing it like clockwork, no worries. Golden Proportions Marketing has a team of dental social media experts ready to build your audience, generate engagement, and deliver results. Give us a call when you’re ready to get started!

Golden Proportions Marketing

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