Dental Social Media Marketing — Put Together a Plan That Works
by Tony Shannon
In today’s ultra-connected world, your dental practice’s online success depends on your ability to design and execute a digital marketing plan that gets you in front of your target audience. Social media marketing is a tough egg to crack for local businesses in particular.
Social media opens up the world to companies, giving them the option to connect with potential customers half a world away. But that doesn’t do a whole lot of good for dental practices, who want to laser-focus their marketing efforts toward attracting patients in their local area.
I work with many dental practices, helping them to define and execute a marketing strategy that delivers measurable results.
For this reason, I find that it is important that every dental practice undertakes dental social media marketing with a solid plan in place for connecting with those customers.
Today the most likely audience to follow a brand on social media are 18-34 years old. Because of the focus on locality, dental practices will need to tailor their efforts to certain platforms and types of content to catch their target markets eye.
As you start to put together your social media marketing plan, take these tips into consideration:
Audit Your Current Dental Social Media Marketing Efforts
What are you currently doing? What is working and what isn’t providing you results? Before you can make improvements you have to know what areas need improvement.
Dig into your efforts for each update and post that you have made. Take note of the ones that were able to garner the most traction and which ones fell flat.
Also, take note of how your social media efforts performed on the various platforms. For many dental practices, I have found that Facebook tends to perform a bit better than Twitter, just because of the focus on locality on the platform.
Now, that isn’t the same for every company that I work with, but there does seem to be a trend in place there.
Once you complete your audit, you can use that to shape your strategy moving forward by focusing on the areas of social media that have produced results in the past and instituting analytics platforms that help you to track and tweak your efforts as you go.
Define Your Goals
When I work with new clients, the first thing that we do regarding social media is to define some longterm goals that we would like to reach.
This is great not only for visualizing where you would like your marketing to take you, but to help set realistic expectations for your social media marketing efforts.
In dental social media marketing, building a following is a slow grind that can take months to come to fruition.
Setting simple goals like reaching a number of followers, bringing on a number of new customers through the platform, or facilitating a certain level of engagement from your following are good starter goals.
With goals in mind, you can measure whether or not your social media has been an effective time investment for your company a few months down the road.
Dive Into Research
Let me put this plainly — there are plenty of dental practices out there that are making money hand over fist from their social media marketing efforts.
Those that understand their target market and know how to develop personal connections are able to reliably bring patients in through dental social media marketing.
Start by getting to know your audience. What practices in your area are doing well on social media? What kinds of posts is your audience readily engaging with?
What could they be doing better? Actually, speak with your customers to find out what they would like from you on social media. Just having a conversation with a customer can be eye-opening and give you feedback that otherwise would have been overlooked.
When I help dental practices put together a social media marketing plan, research is the most important aspect. Getting to know your audience helps you deliver the information that they want to read and engage with.
Decide on Platforms to Target
Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and a handful of other social media platforms, there are just too many for a dental practice to reliably engage on all of them.
With most practices, we will decide on one to two to focus on, and the rest will be handled through marketing automation. On Twitter, 92% of your engagement will come from link clicks on your Tweets, according to HubSpot. This makes Twitter the perfect platform for sharing content.
For most dental practices, Facebook provides the best returns. It allows you to connect with people that are in your local area, and the ads system there ensures that you only pay for advertising to your target audience.
There are more than 50 million small businesses that are currently using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers.
Put Together a Plan for Each Platform
Once you decide on what channels you would like to target, you have to put a custom tailored plan together for each channel. The type of content that you share on Facebook will differ a lot from the content that you share on Pinterest.
Knowing what your goals are for each channel can help to inform your strategy. Ultimately each social media platform has its own benefits and limitations for dental practices.
Typically, I work with dental practices that want a more complete inbound marketing solution.
This means that generally, we are sharing the content that we create on social platforms, along with some platform-specific updates that are custom created for the audience on that platform.
Measure, Optimize, and Iterate
One thing that I always want to impress upon new clients is that data is king. We should always follow what the data is telling us and use that to inform our strategies.
You’ll never find success on social media if you are constantly just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Having the right tools in place to measure and optimize your social media marketing strategies is critical for success. When something doesn’t work, we can’t be afraid to leave it by the wayside and try something new.
Often, dental practices don’t know what works with their audience until they try it, so I always push for my clients to put trust in the data that we collect and use it to their advantage.
Social Media for Dental Practices
Social media allows you to develop more personal connections with your customers while keeping them informed.
Check out this useful article from our friends at Imaginary Lava: 39 Tips to Get Amazing Results with Your Social Media Strategy
Using these platforms to get your brand in front of prospective clients is absolutely essential to longterm local marketing success, but it does require a concerted effort.
Through my time running RiseFuel, we’ve helped many dental practices to harness the power of social media and generate reliable leads and new patients.