Social media is an incredibly important business tool, especially for small companies trying to get their name and mission more widely known. Social media can, and does, provide great opportunity at low cost for dental practices working on acquiring new patients and building their word of mouth buzz.
There are countless social networks available and each has their benefits – and fallbacks. The most important concept to remember when working with social media marketing is to not feel pressured to have a presence on every social network. There are too many possibilities, and not every network is beneficial to every business. Just because Nike is having wild success on Twitter doesn’t mean you will.
Monitoring several social media accounts at once can be intimidating, and if not handled correctly, it can be detrimental to your brand. Before you embark on your social media journey, understand the time commitment you’re going to have to invest in order to stay involved on each platform.
There are several basic best practices to follow to ensure you avoid the time-suck that is social media.
Don’t sign up for every network
Just because Pinterest is the new hot platform by engaging users with eye-catching photographs, doesn’t mean it is right for your business. If your practice has tons of great (not gross) photos (these can be of aesthetic dentistry, unique cases, or even your office if it is picture worthy) to share with potential clients that can link back to your blog and website, then you could succeed on Pinterest. If not… you might want to let this one be. Boasting millions of users doesn’t mean any of those millions want to talk about dentistry – make sure your audience is where you go.
Don’t sit on Twitter and watch your stream go by
Perhaps the easiest social network of all to get distracted by and lured into is Twitter. Once you follow a few people, your feed updates rather quickly and it can be easy to feel as though if you leave the site, you’ll miss an important piece of news. Set a daily time limit for yourself and combat the feeling that people are talking without you. Check in for mentions of your brand that warrant responses.
Find a scheduling solution that works for you
It is nearly impossible (and a huge waste of time) to manually update your social networks hour by hour. This doesn’t mean you’re not checking mentions and responses to your brand, but you can easily send messages all day without having to manually plug them in. This will leave plenty of time for you to concentrate on what really matters – building your business and taking care of patients! There are several scheduling platforms that oversee multiple social network platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and are free or low cost. Some platforms to check out include Buffer, HootSuite and Sprout Social.
Do your research
Before branding yourself on social media, do some research and find out what people want to hear from you. If dentists in your area aren’t having great success with Facebook, maybe you should stick to LinkedIn. Run keyword searches for your area on Twitter and see what people are talking about – you may be surprised to find that you have potential clients already asking for you on social networks.
Set up goals
By setting up goals for your brand, you’ll be able to easily know what networks are working for you and which ones you need to cut your time on. If one goal is to increase website traffic by 30% and you achieve that, but notice that almost all of that traffic is coming from Twitter, you should re-evaluate how much time you’re spending on Facebook.
Run analytics reports
Running analytics reports also helps with keeping stress levels at a minimum when it comes to social media marketing. By keeping track of how quickly fans and followers are growing on your various networks, what types of fans they are (are they mostly female, mostly male, 50 and over, do they all live in your region, etc.) you’ll better know how to communicate with them. Programs like Sprout Social can help you learn more about your audience, and running reports on Tweriod can even tell you when the best time to tweet is.
At first, social media marketing can seem intimidating and maybe even not beneficial to your practice. However, many dentists are succeeding on several platforms, and if you’re not involved, your competition is already beating you. By following a few simple rules, you can minimize stress and time spent on social, engage your patients with interesting information, and make sure you’re concentrating on core business practices.
At Engage Dental, we work closely with doctors and their staff to create a custom, personalized website and overall web strategy that will bring your practice to top Internet visibility. If you are interested in having an exciting new website that will help and impress your patients, contact us today.