Curious about how to put social media to work promoting your dental practice? Everyone is talking about the benefits of social media, especially for a family dentistry. So where should you start?
First, identify the goal of your social media marketing efforts. Are you hoping to use social media as an extension of customer service? Or will it be an outreach tool to gain new clients? Make sure to establish what you hope to accomplish with social media before you dive in.
Second, establish hard and fast time constraints for the person in charge of managing your account. Social media can be an enormous time suck, and without parameters in place for time investment you could quickly create a black hole of productivity.
Third, don’t reinvent the wheel. Look first to your competitors to see what’s working for them before you try to create your own strategy.
Remember, building organic social communities online can take years, especially if you’re not willing to spend money on advertising them. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a community of people who are interested in talking about your brand. So how can you speed up the process?
Pay to play. Especially with facebook, running ads can significantly increase your fan base in a short period of time. Twitter has a similar option for promoting your brand to acquire new followers. Make sure to set strict budgets, as advertising on social networks can itself be a black hole. Try not to spend more than $0.80 per acquired fan/follower.
Another way to speed up the growth of you social networks is through contests. Giveaways and freebies are always surefire ways to pick up new fans. However, make sure to thoroughly read the rulebook on giveaways for each network you plan to utilize. Facebook in particular has a strict code on how a company can conduct a contest.
If the previous two means of increasing the fan base of your dentist office don’t fit your shoestring budget, here are a few tips for organically growing your fan base:
- Always provide value. No one is going to become a fan of yours because they like to hear about how great your practice is over and over again.
- Be engaging. Don’t just post static messages like promotional emails; ask questions and reply directly to people in your service area. This is especially easy with twitter, where you can engage in conversations with people that are talking about relevant issues within a specific geographic area of your practice.
- Be real. Share photos and bios of your team and office regularly. Allow people the ability to connect with you beyond a logo and mission statement.
So what are you waiting for? Jump in and start promoting your dental practice through social media!
Has your practice already started using social media? What’s been your biggest challenge? What have you found to work best?