Should You Use Social Media in a Dental Practice?
The internet, especially social media, is a great way for businesses worldwide to talk to their customers and make their brand more popular. But some dentists still aren’t sure if using social media is a good idea. Well, it is! Social media helps dentists spread their brand awareness, talk to their current patients and attract new ones. Dentists can use social media to show how good they are, give helpful dental advice, and even talk to patients online. Since many people (especially the younger generations) use social media, dentists can reach lots of people and get closer to them.
Like any business, if you are running a dental practice then you cannot afford to ignore the strength of social media marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide you with the opportunity to connect with current patients, new patients and other dental professionals. This connection allows you to promote and help to grow your dental practice with social media.
In this post, we’ll explain why social media is good for dentists and give some tips on how to do it right.
The Power of Social Media in a Digital Age
In today’s digital world, social media has changed the way people connect and find information. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a big part of our daily lives, connecting lots of people worldwide.
For dentists, using social media has many benefits. It lets them talk to their current patients, get new ones and show off their dental skills, which builds trust and spreads their practice’s brand. Social media can reach a huge audience, making it easy to share dental advice and updates with both current patients and people looking for dental care.
It also lets patients ask questions and share their experiences, making existing relationships stronger. Plus, it’s a cheap way to advertise and reach specific groups of people, getting more for your money. Social media also gives dentists info about how well their online presence is working. So, in short, social media is a must-have for dentists in the digital age. It helps them connect, engage, and look good online.
Benefits of Social Media for Dentists
It’s important to note that you cannot just rely on social media. Using social media platforms should form a significant part of your marketing strategy, but not all of it. Having said this, you can get some impressive benefits from using channels such as Facebook, if you do so in the right way. These benefits include:
- Making it easy for people to find your practice.
- Telling people what you can help them with.
- Targeting your presence at local people.
- Maintaining relationships with current patients, to keep them engaged.
- Allowing you to build positive relationships with other professionals.
- Giving audiences the chance to contact you easily.
Which Platforms Can Grow Your Dental Practice
In order to make sure that your practice benefits as much as possible, you need to plan your social media activity carefully. You need to think about who you are trying to reach. This list will usually include current patients, new patients and other dental professionals.
Once you have this information, it’s time to look at which platforms these people use and what type of content they are most likely to engage with. People are continuously scrolling on their phones for hours per day, with the right type of marketing, you’re going to get some people’s attention. There are some specific options you can consider, depending on which platforms you choose to use.
Facebook is often first on the list when it comes to using social media for dentists. This is because more than 3 billion people use Facebook globally; in the UK around 78% of Internet users use Facebook. Quite simply, it’s a potential market place that you cannot ignore. If you are wondering what to post on Facebook; here are some tips:
- Advice about oral hygiene routines.
- Comments and advice about new dental techniques.
- Community announcements, especially details of any community work you are doing.
- Special offers; although this type of content should not be used too often as you do not want your Facebook page to look too sales orientated.
- Videos and images that allow people to have a better connection with your practice.
- Team videos and profiles – audiences want to know the people behind the business.
Aside from posting on your regular Facebook page, you may also want to consider Facebook PPC (paid advertising). You can target your Facebook ads at people in your local area or based on their interests, demographics or even simply by uploading your contacts’ emails addresses.
This means you are likely to get engagement from people who are actually looking for a dentist locally to you. Your Facebook Page will quite often be the first thing people find when they search for you. So make sure you keep it up-to-date and interesting!
- Share oral hygiene tips.
- Provide insights on new dental techniques.
- Announce community involvement.
- Offer limited-time promotions.
- Use engaging videos and images.
- Showcase your team.
- Consider Facebook PPC advertising.
- Keep your page updated.
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Instagram is a hugely influential social media channel, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. It’s a great way of helping people to see inside your business, using images and videos. Connecting with people in this way helps them to see your practice as friendly and reliable. These are positive attributes that are sought by people looking for a dentist.
Set up an Instagram account for your practice and post video clips and images regularly. Instagram has a much younger audience on average than Facebook so take this into account when you post.
The best kind of posts for Instagram are your more fun behind-the-scenes clips, team videos and your best photos. Instagram is all about image and aesthetics! Show off your successes and make sure you tell the story of your practice through your videos and images.
Set up an Instagram account for your dental practice and regularly share behind-the-scenes clips, team videos, and visually appealing images to engage with a younger audience and showcase your practice’s successes.
You should think outside the box when you are using Twitter to help your practice to grow. It’s fine to tweet about the latest goings on at the practice and include the occasional promotion. However, using Twitter should be more about displaying your expertise. Tweet about the latest developments in the industry, or local charity events, and include your educated comments. You may also want to think about setting up a Twitter Q&A session, when you can communicate with people in real time.
Use Twitter to showcase your practice’s expertise by tweeting about industry developments, local events, and hosting Q&A sessions to engage with your audience in real time.
Social media for dentists is not just about communicating with patients and potential patients. You can use LinkedIn to publish articles and show your expertise. You can also use it to develop relationships with other dental practices which can be mutually beneficial. For instance, if you do not provide orthodontic services, you can find a local specialist to refer your patients to. This helps you to provide a better service and provides more patients for the orthodontist, for whom you may receive a referral fee.
Utilize LinkedIn to establish your practice’s expertise by publishing articles, connecting with other dental professionals, and fostering mutually beneficial relationships, such as referrals for specialized services, enhancing patient care, and expanding your network.
Building a Strong Online Presence Through Social Media
With the younger, tech-savvy generations beginning to make financial decisions, it is essential for dentists to have a good online presence through social media. Nowadays, when people need a dentist, they look for one online to read reviews and get recommendations, this is known as social proof. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help dentists connect with the people they want to reach, and it lets them create a professional and interesting online presence.
This means they can show how good they are, share useful information, and even offer virtual appointments, which makes them look trustworthy and builds a personal connection with patients. The best thing about social media is that it can reach a lot of people organically, and they can choose who sees their messages through targeted ads. So, it’s easier to get the right message to the right people. If patients sing your praises on social media, it adds credibility to your brand. Additionally, social media lets dentists keep up with what’s new in their field and connect with other professionals, adding to their trust, authority and expertise.
But to do well on social media, dentists need a plan, regular posts, interesting content, and a way to answer patient questions and feedback. Being consistent and responsive is vital to keep up a strong online presence.
In short, social media is a great tool for dentists to improve their online presence, talk to patients, and grow their practice. By using social media, dentists can show how good they are, get new patients, and be seen as experts in their field. So, the answer to whether social media is good for dentists is a big “yes!”.
Did You Know?
- 70% of dentists in the UK use social media for professional purposes. [Source: Dental Economics]
- 99.7% of patients stated that “Before and After” photos are very important when selecting a cosmetic dentist. [Source: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry]
- The most popular social media platform for dentists in the UK is Facebook, with 80% of dentists having a professional Facebook page. [Source: Dental Economics]
- Dentists who use social media are more likely to attract new patients and generate more leads. [Source: Social Media Examiner]
How to Get More Patients With Social Media
Using social media for marketing properly can transform your business. Social media is a place where billions of users spend hours a day scrolling and engaging with friends, brands and companies alike. These billions of users are not just users to your business, they are all potential customers.
If you haven’t done so already, get on every social media platform you can with a simple profile to start. It is then imperative to understand which platform is most likely to have your target audience. Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways of marketing a dental practice and can actually have a huge impact, if used correctly. Decide who your target audiences are (families, teenagers, people interested in health or cosmetics etc) and then figure out which platforms they are more likely to use and what they expect to see there.
Pick one platform to begin with
It can be a lot to try to gain a following on so many platforms at once, try tackling one social media platform to start with, whether that be Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram or Linked in. Whichever one you choose, try to gain some momentum in that channel first before moving on to other ones.
In this day and age it often seems like all social media platforms are more or less all the same. They all differ though, which is why it is important to learn about the social media channels before choosing which one is best for you and your business. They all offer different features. Linked In is more popular in the business world but as the platforms are all evolving, Instagram has become a great way to promote businesses and also shop around on various different businesses on the app.
To begin your social media journey, our experts advise that you begin by making a business profile or a business account page on your chosen social media platform. Making this type of account will unlock many more features that will be useful when it comes to your business, ads, reach, engagement and most importantly, checking your audience insights, we highly recommend this especially if you are using Instagram.
Include as many options for contacting your practice as possible on your social media channels – website, email, phone numbers, WhatsApp, direct messaging (like Facebook messenger), your address.
You need to build your brand name, but the idea is not to plaster your name everywhere. You need to post consistently but you need posts with substance. People follow and like to engage with posts that they are genuinely interested in or keep them entertained. It is a great idea to place online ads on Google as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, they get a lot of reach.
Let’s take Facebook for example. A car mechanic will surely see more visits and clicks on a platform like Facebook where there are people from every walk of life and every age range. But doing the same on Instagram or Snapchat often won’t net you the same result as the majority of the users are young teens that either just don’t own a car or simply aren’t interested in seeing anything related to your business.
That’s why although it’s a good idea to be present on every platform, focusing the majority of your efforts on one or two platforms that are going to be most beneficial and responsive to your efforts might be the better option, at least to begin with. We focus mainly on Facebook and Instagram, but you might find a different combination works for you.
To effectively leverage social media for marketing your dental practice, start by creating profiles on relevant platforms, focusing on one to build momentum. Understand your target audience and tailor your content accordingly, providing valuable information and engaging posts. Include multiple contact options and consider online ads for wider reach, focusing efforts on platforms most responsive to your audience.
Just like your business plan, your social media plan should bear the same importance. Like any good business strategy, using social media for business success needs to start with a well laid out plan. Without a plan you will have no clear goal for what you are trying to achieve, which means your team (if you have one) won’t have any specific goals either – which results in no way to measure your results and sometimes no results at all.
Take some time to create a social media plan. Social media may seem less pressing in the list of tasks that you need to do for your business, but it is more important and harder to master than you may think. Creating an effective plan will ensure that all your social efforts support your specific business goals.
Your social media plan needs to include all of the content you intend to produce for your platforms. This means planning the blogs and articles you’ll write, what kind of photos you need to take and what videos you need to create. You also need to specify which team members will be in charge of producing this content.
To maximize the impact of social media on your business, start with a comprehensive social media plan. Define clear goals, outline content strategies, and assign responsibilities to ensure consistency and effectiveness across platforms.
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Be authentic when you post
With social media being as overcrowded as it is, the need to stand out is exponential. It sounds overrated and overused but be yourself, that is who you are selling. Don’t try and be what you think others may want you to be, in the long run that will not work in favour for your company. Dont work too hard to make everything perfect or seem perfect; if you do, you will either never put up anything or worse you will break trust with your clientele.
Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, people on social media are bombarded with posts that seem to emit perfection, people really just want to follow pages that are ‘real’. Uploading posts and stories that are real and truthful that your audience can relate to and understand is what will get you those loyal followers that you aim to have.
Remember that social media is all about trends. Keeping up with relevant trends, topics and hashtags to engage a wider audience is pivotal to growing your social media network. Make sure anything you post fits your brand.
Maintain authenticity in your social media posts. Avoid striving for perfection and instead focus on being genuine and relatable to your audience. Embrace trends and share content that aligns with your brand while resonating with your followers.
ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE with your audiences
The primary goal for any business on social media is to build relationships and add value. This is the part where most people fall in their social media triumphant attempts. They work so hard to create content and will continuously protrude said content, but they then fail to actually engage with their audience.
It’s anywhere from 5 to 20 times more expensive to acquire new clients than it is to keep old ones. That’s why focusing efforts to retain clients by increasing customer engagement through any number of techniques is advised at every stage.
Knowing who your target audience is great even if your target audience is a very niche group of people and thanks to the extensive targeting selections on social media, you are able to target people based on purchasing behaviours, interests and demographics.
If you know exactly who and what type of people are going to see your ads, you can cater the ads to that specific audience. The key is to make ads that resonate with your audience, rather than throwing a general ad up hoping it appeals to someone who randomly comes across it.
The more you start using social media for marketing, the more data you will gather about your target audience. It is important to collect and learn from this data in order to streamline your target audience and spend ad budget where it makes the most sense. Don’t just focus on that streamlined audience, you can use tools within social media advertising that allow you to expand that audience.
Simply looking at the number of likes on your post is not as strong of an indicator of its performance as you think it is. Today, businesses need to look further into their performance metric. This includes tracking comments, amount to saves, shares and story views to understand how their content performs. Talk with people and really engage with your followers, it is what will keep them interested.
Respond to comments and reviews and jump into communities, especially ones that are in the same industry as your business. Share your perspectives and point of view, if anything, it will gain you a lot more attention than you may think, especially if you are slightly controversial or especially contemporary.
With a shift in how we measure engagement, it’s only natural that we also change how we try to improve audience/ follower engagement on our feeds. Trust us it’s not as hard as you may think.
Engaging honestly should be just for that aim, do not dominate the conversation or push for sales. Simply getting involved with the conversation, trends or your chosen community, you will get the following you need naturally and organically. Giving advice and offering suggestions will make you seem helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy. No one wants false claims with the congested roads of pretending on social media, most people really engage when they see something they believe is genuine, use that aspect of yourself and your business to your advantage.
Focus on engaging with your audience authentically on social media. Respond to comments, and reviews, and join relevant communities to share your perspective. Use data to understand your target audience and tailor your content to resonate with them, ultimately building trust and loyalty.
You need to commit and monitor
Signing up to any social media platform is absolutely free. In a few minutes you can be up and running but to build your business as a brand on social media it is mandatory that you commit to staying active on that platform. In the beginning at least, spend a minimum of one hour per day during your launch of your page or business engaging with the community. Use this time to not only focus on your own page but to catch a glimpse of some businesses that are similar to yours and take inspiration for what they are doing and how you can do better.
For some, it may be easy to spend hours a day on social media, but to run a business or build a brand on social media needs commitment and it is a lot easier said than done. Effective social media branding takes time and practice, in many cases it is worthwhile to hire someone who specialises in social media to help you.
Writing down a strategy is a good place to start and having clear goals will set you a track to go on, but actually sticking to it is a whole different story. Your social media plans will always be changing. At the least you should have a good idea of the thing you would like to post daily. Strategy is key. If you are not committing to posting on a regular basis and creating new content then you will always struggle to hook your audience or build an engaged following.
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During one hour a day, at no expense out of your pocket at all, you can build a community in no time. Committing to spending time on your social media accounts is step 1, step 2 is mentoring these accounts in the most effective way. Monitor other sites, feed and pages that discuss the industry your business is in, your products or services. Look for posts that mention your company, mentoring you growth will help you reach specific goals you have.
Your social media accounts are also the best place to respond to any comments or complaints, using them as opportunities to engage with your followers, grow your brand and collect market research. If you pay attention to the right aspects of your social media platform, you can get ahead of potential problems.
Many may think that continuously pouring out content will get you more followers, unfortunately it is not that easy. Looking at social media and posting once a day should suffice enough to engage your audience, educate and potentially entertain you from other posts within your given industry and hopefully inspire you to make more content.
You should definitely monitor your insights but what will help you a lot will be finding out what days and times most people visit to engage with your pages. This will help notify you when is the best time to post yourself to get the most engagement from your followers. Always check your insights!
Commitment is key to building your brand on social media. Spend at least one hour daily engaging with your community, observing competitors, and refining your strategy. Monitor industry-related discussions and respond to comments and feedback promptly to grow your brand and gather valuable insights. Understanding your audience’s behavior through insights will help optimize your posting schedule for maximum engagement. Always stay proactive and attentive to maintain a strong social media presence.
Establish a team and get expert help
Having a marketing team in place can prove invaluable, eleven if you own a small business. Having a small team can enable you to establish a strategy with the necessary specialities for social media management. Having a team can help you keep afloat all your media marketing. Keeping up with social media posts as well as website posts and blogs can be tiresome while you are also managing other important aspects of your business. This is where your team will prove to be beneficial.
Hiring someone who will be able to manage your content for marketing will make it a lot easier for you and their expertise will allow you to rely on someone to do what they know will work and help you reach your goals.
This isn’t an option for everyone, sometimes it’s employing the necessary help in only certain aspects. Samera has an expert marketing team from website developers, social media specialists to content writers. Employing third party specialists to help you when you need it can prove to be more helpful than you know. They are aware of what is necessary to get you recognition and can do it effectively without having to impose any stress onto you.
Establishing a dedicated marketing team, even for small businesses, can be invaluable for managing social media effectively. Having specialists in place can streamline content creation, ensuring consistency and expertise. Consider outsourcing certain aspects to third-party specialists when needed to alleviate stress and achieve your marketing goals more efficiently.
Tell them how to reach you
This seems like such an easy one but it is often overlooked. Make sure your followers know how to get hold of you. Plaster your contact details such as your web address, email address, phone numbers and social media handles. If it is possible, have them hyperlinked on any web content such as emails or newsletters and everywhere on your captions, having those details at the bottom or in the corner of web pages so it is easy for people to find you and remind them that you are available on various platforms.
Make it easy for your followers to reach you by prominently displaying your contact details, including your website address, email, phone numbers, and social media handles. Hyperlink these details in emails, newsletters, and captions for easy access. Ensure they are easily visible on web pages, and remind your audience of your availability across various platforms.
Social media ideas for dentists to engage audiences
Online contests are a great way to boost your following without opting for paid advertisements. You will have to fork out a bit for the final prize but that’s still cheaper than buying clicks and views.
Use simple, cheap treatments such as a free tooth whitening session, a dental care kit or a treatment voucher as your prizes to encourage winners to have to come to your location.
This not only directly promotes your own product/service but also saves you from spending on another item. It’s basically free publicity. As long as your customer service is handled well, you should be able to convert the prize winner into a long-term patient once they are in the practice.
Host online contests to engage your audience without paid ads. Offer prizes like free tooth whitening sessions, dental care kits, or treatment vouchers to encourage participation and promote your services. Convert contest winners into long-term patients with excellent customer service and a welcoming practice environment.
No one can do everything by themselves. Sooner or later you will need help and teaming up with another business that is in the same field can help create a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit greatly.
Creating strategic partnerships has many advantages while doesn’t require as much work on your part. Your business is able to receive twice as much notice and partnering with an industry-relevant business will also introduce you to an entirely new audience that is looking for something in your area of specialties.
Continuing from the previous example once again, a car mechanic can partner with a car dealership and have access to an exclusive audience that would usually be out of reach. And you can even go a step further and give discounts or offer special pricing to the customers that are referred to you by the partner.
Certain businesses in the dental industry, like equipment suppliers and dental tech companies, are always happy to team up with practitioners to help grow their patient base (as this often translates into more revenue for them too). Reach out, share posts and see what opportunities are out there.
Forge partnerships with complementary businesses in your industry to expand your reach and gain access to new audiences. Offer exclusive deals or discounts to customers referred by your partners to incentivize collaboration and mutual growth. Reach out to equipment suppliers and dental tech companies to explore potential partnership opportunities that benefit both parties.
Speaking of referral programs, they should not only be limited to your partnerships. Under normal circumstances even if customers like what you have to offer, they still often wouldn’t just refer to your services without a reason. So why not give them one?
You have a lot of freedom when it comes to designing referral programs, but the one thing that should be kept in mind is the reward. It has to be enticing enough for your customers to consider actively referring new clients. What you’re looking for is someone that will stick around, even after the initial purchase.
Studies have shown that referred customers have much higher brand loyalty from the get-go and larger profit margins without much work from your side. Not only this, but it would also increase the loyalty of your existing customers once they have a more vested interest in your brand.
Plus, with the dozens of different kinds of software out there that are designed for the sole purpose of setting up and maintaining such referral programs, there really is no reason for you to not at least try it out.
Implement referral programs to encourage existing customers to refer new clients to your dental practice. Design enticing rewards that incentivize customers to actively participate in the referral process. Utilize referral program software to streamline the setup and maintenance of your program, maximizing its effectiveness with minimal effort.
Measuring the Success of Social Media Efforts for Dental Practices
It’s essential for dental practices to monitor their online efforts to figure out what works, and what doesn’t and to direct their efforts. You can do this by looking at a few important things:
- Growth of Your Online Community: See if more people are following or liking your pages on social media.
- Website Traffic from Social Media: Check if social media is sending more people to your website.
- Likes, Comments, and Shares: Look at how much people are liking, commenting, and sharing your posts.
- Follower Demographics: Find out what kind of people are following you and use that info to make content they like.
- Clicks and Conversions: See if people are clicking on your links and taking action, like making appointments.
- Inquiries and Appointments: Check if people are getting in touch or booking appointments because of what they see on social media.
By keeping an eye on these things, you can tailor your social media strategy to what works best for you. Remember, not all strategies will work the same for all practices, you need to figure out what works best for you.
To measure the success of your social media efforts for your dental practice, track key metrics such as the growth of your online community, website traffic from social media, engagement metrics like likes, comments, and shares, follower demographics, clicks, and conversions, as well as inquiries and appointments generated from social media. Tailor your strategy based on these insights to optimize your results and effectively reach your target audience.
Tips on How to Effectively Manage Your Social Media Accounts
Here are some easy tips for dentists to handle their social media accounts well:
- Set Clear Goals: Decide what you want from social media, like getting more people to know your brand or bringing them to your website. This will help you plan what to post and how to interact.
- Choose the Right Platforms: Not all social media is the same. Pick the ones where your audience hangs out. Facebook and Instagram are good choices for dentists because you can share pictures and useful info.
- Share Helpful Stuff: People like content that teaches them something or makes them interested. Share tips for taking care of your teeth, facts about oral health, photos showing changes, what patients say about you, and sneak peeks of your practice. This helps you become a trusted expert.
- Be Regular: To stay active, post new things often. Make a schedule for what to post and when. This keeps you organized and seen by your audience.
- Talk to Your Audience: Social media isn’t just for talking at people. Answer comments, messages, and reviews quickly and nicely. This helps you connect with people and gain their trust.
- Reach Local People: Since most of your patients are probably local, use social media to talk to them. You can use features like location tags, local hashtags, or targeted ads to make sure your content reaches the right people in your area.
- Work with Influencers: Team up with important people in your community or field. Find local influencers or dental experts to work together on content or host events.
To effectively manage your dental practice’s social media, set clear goals, choose the right platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and share valuable content such as oral health tips and patient testimonials. Maintain consistency in posting, engage with your audience promptly, target local communities, and consider collaborating with influencers to expand your reach and credibility.
“I’ll be honest, social media is not my strong suit, so we do not use it as much as we should. We don’t feel like we are missing out on that many leads as a result, however. Social media can absolutely be a great tool to get leads in, but it can be very labour intensive. With SEO (our main tool), we can produce content fairly easily and quickly without too much reliance on anyone else.
Our SEO is good enough that we produce more than enough leads purely through organic searches. However, this approach won’t work for everyone.
With Social Media, you need multimedia content to make it work, you need engagement and you need a strong strategy. We have found it can be quite difficult getting enough images and videos to make posting effective. Dentists are focused (as they should be) on the day-to-day of delivering their services. They’re not thinking “how can I make a fun, engaging video out of this procedure.” They’re thinking about the patient, and the next patient.
You need someone in-house regularly producing visual content (photos and videos). Content production is the key to this.
If you have someone on the team who is social media savvy and is willing to put the work in then great! Otherwise, you’re probably going to find it difficult to produce enough engaging content to really get the leads you want in.
If you can, get someone dedicated to producing this content. Or, you can hire a photographer or videographer to come in for a couple of sessions and produce a mass of images and videos that you can then drip-feed into your social media.
If you know your audience is mostly made up of the younger generations, social media is going to be a lot more effective for you. At the very least, you need some sort of presence. Have a look at what your competition is doing and, if possible, you just need to at least match them.
However, with the social media generation now aging up to become the financial decision makers in the household, social media is going to become more and more important to get leads in. To be honest, it probably all depends on what Google are going to do in terms of search. If AI makes search as effective and useful as they hope, you probably won’t need any other medium. However, if it doesn’t revolutionise searching online, the rise of social media as a search tool may just snowball.”
Head of Digital Marketing