The age of social media has been an opportunity for dentists who adopt the right approach. There is increasing demand for cosmetic dentistry treatment, which many patients are prepared to pay for private treatments. This includes clear braces such as Invisalign, invisible orthodontics such as Incognito braces, veneers and teeth whitening.
Social media not only enables practices to reach patients at a local level within the surrounding area of their practice location, but also to showcase their reputation to attract new patients. This includes sharing patient reviews and ratings, and before and after images showing smile makeovers. Practices will also need to determine if they want to do free or paid social media marketing. Free marketing is organic marketing and paid marketing includes paid ads, promotions and offers, also including other channels such as Groupon deals, although this does mean committing to offers which can work as a loss leader basis.
Social media needs the right strategy and implementation to yield results. Strategy requires the planning, branding and marketing. And implementation includes content and frequency of posts, in addition to patient interaction and replying to messages and questions.
For many practices, the reception staff will be responsible for managing social media channels. Channels can include Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, Linked In, Snapchat and Twitter among others. A channel management plan will be required and demands content planning and scheduling. There are platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer which allow practices to manage their portfolio of channels and post to multiple channels at the same time. This can save time for a busy practice and means that social media management can be kept within the dental practice rather than being outsourced to a marketing company.
The content calendar should include content which can be text, news, offers, images, reviews, tips and more. Local news and information can also be shared. A proportion of content should include call to action messages to encourage new and existing patients to schedule an appointment. Content production does not need to be a time consuming task, but should instead be integrated with the practice management. For example website content can be used for social media, including videos and reviews, it is not necessary to create or commission new content. Content curation is also an option. Content should add value, be engaging and some content can be promotional with a call to action.
New patients can be attracted through sharing promotions and asking for referrals. By building and promoting the practice reputation, this will also serve to attract new patients. Offers can be created to attract patients for specific treatments as required by the practice business plan. For example discounts can be offered for referring new patients who can be friends or family members etc.
Patients also appreciate the sharing of tips on dental health topics, as this can help patients improve their own dental health and the dental health of their family. A strong social media presence is important for all practices at the local level and to build and maintain a strong patient base.