Save time, get better results
According to recent research on social media use, about seven in 10 Americans use social media today. With about 70% of patients using social media to connect, share information and entertain themselves, tools like Facebook and Instagram offer incredible opportunities for your practice to gain exposure and grow relationships. So what gets in the way of many practices staying active on social media? Often it’s lack of time, skills or interest.
Luckily there are solutions for all of these issues. For practices that lack skill sets or interest, it may be time to consider outsourcing to an agency knowledgeable about dental nuances and guidelines. For practices that want to manage social media internally, yet find there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, it’s time to consider a strategy. Planning a monthly social media strategy — while it may sound overwhelming— can save you time and get better results.
The first step in creating a social media strategy is to decide what type of social media calendar or planner to use. There are a multitude of options. Some practices use Facebook’s native scheduling tool directly on Business Pages or Facebook’s Creator, or a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, that allows a user to build content for multiple social media platforms in one convenient online calendar. Users enter their content and images and schedule them to be posted automatically. This type of basic planning and scheduling is an absolute must for practices that want to save time and be more effective with their social media.
Consider business builders
If your practice only posts spontaneously, you may be missing out on tremendous opportunities to share information that can help you meet your business objectives. For instance, if you want to attract more clear aligner therapy patients, dental implant patients or smile makeover patients, you should include content about these topics on a regular basis. Or you want to grow more patient referrals or let patients know that you provide care for young children— so you would want to include those topics in your content as well.
Many times I talk with frustrated dentists that feel their social media isn’t helping them grow their practice. When we evaluate their social media, there may be fun posts about birthdays or floss dancing videos — and while this is valuable human-side content — it lacks in the dental-specific department. Patients need to see relevant, dental-specific content if you want them to know you offer these treatments.
Include an 80/20 content mix
Creating a social media strategy for the month ahead will require your staff social media coordinator to spend 30 to 60 minutes to plan out posts for the month ahead. I suggest an 80/20 guideline, with approximately 80% of the content being human-side related content and 20% of your content relating to dentistry or business objectives. For many general dentistry practices, two posts per week is plenty. Despite what some marketers may say, it’s all about quality not quantity. When dentists ask how often they should post, I typically respond with “whenever you have something good to say.” A few posts of genuine interest to the patient are worth far more than daily posts that are irrelevant.
Here’s a sampling of topics you might post about for the month ahead:
- Posting a personalized holiday greeting.
- Reminding patients that insurance benefits are expiring or renewing.
- Recommending dental implants.
- Thanking patients for their referrals.
- Showcasing before and after photos of clear aligner therapy.
- Giving a shout out to a favorite local neighborhood business.
Make time for continued success
Another powerful benefit to using a social media planning tool is that you know when you are on or off track. Planning tools make it easy to hold team members accountable. You either have your content planned for the month ahead — or not. This will require that you allow time every month to build your social media strategy and content, place any related Facebook Boosts or ads and follow up to ensure everything is running smoothly, as well as respond to patient comments or questions. At a glance your planning calendar will show you how well your team is keeping up with social media and working toward your goals.
Most importantly, when you review your social media strategy for the month ahead, you should easily see if you are including business-building content. This content is the vital 20% mix of important dental-specific content you need to include to attract your ideal patients and continue to grow relationships with existing patients.
Ms. Zamora and her team provide customized social media marketing services for general dentists and specialists. Since 2008, they’ve worked with hundreds of dental professionals worldwide to train them in authentic and valuable online interactions. Learn more about her services and her book, Get Found, Get Liked, Get Patients: Making the Most of Social Media, at RitaZamora.com.