So, you’ve set up social media accounts for your practice. Now comes the hard bit – maintaining a flow of content that engages both prospective and existing patients. Stuck for ideas? We’ve collected tips from clinicians who have seen real benefits from having an active social media presence.
At Cahill Dental Care in Bolton, England, social media is part of the day-to-day. GaynaHorridge, the manager of the practice, has no doubt that the time invested in social media activity is well spent. According to Gayna, “It helps to promote the practice and drive new business.”
Dr. Paul de Kok from the KvPA Clinic (Kliniek voor Parodontologie) in Amsterdam, also says social media offers tangible benefits: “It has certainly helped me in creating awareness among referrers.”
Whichever social media channels you use, you need to keep your content fresh to keep people engaged. Here’s a few ideas for posts that work across various social networks, all tried and tested by Cahill Dental and the KvPA Clinic.
1. Special offers
“Free” and “discount” are some of the most powerful words used in traditional practice marketing and it’s no different on social media. Highlighting special offers is one of the best ways to persuade both new and existing patients to pick up the phone and make an appointment.
2. Testimonials and treatment results
Of course you’re going to say your practice is great – you’re biased. Endorsement from your existing patients is much more believable. You may find that patients post positive feedback on your page without being asked – Facebook, for example, has the option for you to set up a reviews section.
If positive feedback isn’t forthcoming, try asking patients for quotes that they’re happy for you to publish on your social media feeds. At Cahill Dental Care the staff even post “selfies” with satisfied patients. Have some fun with it.
Another great way to show off the quality of your work is by posting case images. Examples of great work foster a desire in patients considering treatment, and demonstrate that your practice can deliver the results they are longing for.
Got a study club session coming up or hosting a training session at your practice? What about an open day? Whether you’re looking for attendees or celebrating a successful event, let your followers on social media know.
If you’re involved in an industry event, either hosting or attending, LinkedIn is particularly good for building your reputation among fellow dental professionals.
4. Show that dental pros are humans too!
Posting about your staff helps give a human face to the practice. It allows potential patients to build a relationship with the treatment team even before they enter the waiting room, and builds familiarity among existing patients.
Cahill Dental Care does this regularly, sharing items such as charity events that staff are involved with, and even posting five personal facts about each member of the team. It makes the team seem friendly and approachable, which is positive for any practice.
A few final pointers…
Before you get posting, here’s a reminder of a few things to keep in mind:
Think about your audience: don’t forget that your social media posts compete with content from people’s friends and families. And, whether you want to believe it or not, they care more about what their loved ones have to say than the latest from their dentist. It’s therefore important to keep your audience in mind when publishing your posts.
Don’t use scientific language if you’re targeting patients. And choose your channel correctly too. If you want to engage with your professional peers, LinkedIn might be the best choice. For Cahill Dental Care, which primarily targets patients, Facebook is “by far the most effective channel”.
Let pictures tell your story: Posts with images tend to get a better response. Accompany your posts with high-quality, relevant imagery wherever possible. Dr. de Kok has found that images are one of the best ways to get a response on social media: “The biggest benefit I find is the free sharing of images,” he explained. “They are disseminated with a viral effect and end up with people who are not directly in your network.”
Keep it snappy: People are more than often skimming social media on a mobile device, so you need to get your message across quickly. While Twitter has a 140 character limit for each post, other channels don’t, so be careful to keep to the point. Hook the reader with something attention grabbing, and provide them with a link, e-mail address or phone number they can use if they’re interested to know more.
So there you go, a few ideas of topics of post ideas that have worked well for keeping fresh content flowing at other dental practices. But don’t forget, to be really engaging the content has to reflect the image of your practice that you want to portray, so don’t be afraid to vary the subject matter and format of your posts.
See what responses you get and repeat what works best. Don’t fear the social media sphere, embrace it. You’ll be glad you did.
More to explore
- Download your free copy of our social media e-book
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn