Should You Use Social Media in a Dental Practice?

Should You Use Social Media in a Dental Practice?

Dental Business Guide Podcast Episode | 2nd February 2021
George Bellamy and Nikita Kanda

George Bellamy: Welcome to the Samera podcast, I’m George and today I’m with our very own social media manager, you’re a social media manager or…

Nikita Kanda: Social media expert 

George Bellamy: Social media expert, Nikita Kanda. Hello, and welcome to the podcast.

Nikita Kanda: Hello, George, How are you?

George Bellamy: I’m very good. Yes, right let’s just dive straight in. So we’re gonna be talking about social media, that’s your forte. So, I’ve been reading up on things you’ve written about social media and whatnot. And really, just to start off with, why should businesses use social media? Why should we even bother? Why not do things organically? 

People Want to See What is Real

Nikita Kanda: I think in this day and age, social media is such a big thing that I think if you’re not using it, you’re silly to be honest. I mean, it’s something that you grasp your audience, your viewers, or even you grab sales from it, any sort of business. It doesn’t matter what it is, obviously, we’re talking specifics like dentists and dental businesses, definitely people want to see what’s real nowadays.

So you know, if you’ve got before and after pictures, if you’ve got anything real, videos of your team members and everything, people want to see what’s real. They will straightaway go to search for you on Google.

So I know if I’ve ever wanted to look up a dentist or anything like that, I straightaway go on and look at their social media because I think that’s the time that we’re living in now. It’s just something that everyone is doing and I think you definitely need to have, you know?

George Bellamy: Because 5 or 10 years ago, social media really wasn’t a prominent thing. But as you say, nowadays, it’s just everywhere. You know, I read somewhere once, it’s one in three people in the world have Facebook, or something like that, it’s ridiculous.

Read our article on using social media to grow a dental practice.

Social Media Keeps Growing

Nikita Kanda: It’s just growing on another level, and especially Instagram, Facebook, the two main things, I think it’s just growing, especially for businesses there. I was speaking about this the other day, Instagram for businesses is such a big thing.

Now they actually have made a business account. So you can have a normal account in Instagram, or you can have a business account, which just unlocks so many other features for businesses and just helps you build up your revenue, make more money, get more clients, get more followers, it’s just so much more you can do.

George Bellamy: Right. Okay, so let’s say I’m a practice and I want to start making social media. I don’t have the resources to do all of them. Because I think there’s like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, is Myspace still a thing? No, there’s so many different social media platforms. So which one should I choose? And why, really?

Start With Facebook and Instagram

Nikita Kanda: So if you were to start a dental practice, I definitely think Instagram and Facebook are the two that you should definitely start. It’s just a no-brainer, especially these days. If you’re trying to reach that young market as well, then Instagram is 100%. I’m very, I’m like Instagram pro. I’m like “you have to get Instagram, It’s like the way to go”.

Watch our webinar on using Facebook and Instagram ads for dentists.

And of course, it’s not expensive, it’s free to sign up. So it’s not like you have to be spending money. If you don’t have the money to spend when you do start your business, then it’s something you can do for free. Yeah, I would just say start with a plan though, kind of know what goals you want, what do you want out of it? Start with it with a good business strategy. I would always say start first with: what are your goals? 

What Are Your Goals?

George Bellamy: So, which one would you choose? You’re an Instagram advocate so, would you always just use Instagram over everything else then?

Nikita Kanda: Yeah 100%. I think I’d use Instagram over any other social media apps.

George Bellamy: Right. What are the main differences between all three? Like I said, the three main ones are what? Instagram, Facebook and Twitter?

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, I would say that.

George Bellamy: What about snapchat? Do people use that still? 

You Don’t Need Snapchat

Nikita Kanda: Snapchat was more of a craze. I think it’s still used but with younger kids now. It’s just more for messaging and photos and just that it’s more about filters and it’s not really something that necessary. I mean, I guess if you’re like a really big brand or a celebrity, it’s good to have such because I guess your followers can watch you but you know, from a business point of view, I don’t really think you need Snapchat.

It’s something that more younger kids use to be honest, but at the moment, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, yeah, definitely. And also YouTube is another angle if you’re making content creating videos, you definitely would say but Instagram’s more visual.

I think it is great for growing businesses. I think Twitter’s more quick comments it’s like ‘newsworthy’ and then Facebook, I guess every kind of business probably has a Facebook page. So I definitely think it’s got the social aspect but definitely business features as well because Instagram and Facebook are linked now. So if you are setting up an Instagram business page, you will have to have a Facebook page already set up there.

George Bellamy: Right okay. Yeah, that’s interesting.

Which Platform Works For You?

Nikita Kanda: It’s important just to know which platform you think is best for you, and then what will reach your viewers or your followers or your clients.

George Bellamy: So, obviously there’s millions and millions and hundreds of millions, if not billions of Instagram accounts. Would you say that every practice probably has an Instagram? Whether or not they use it or not?

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, I think nowadays, everybody’s got a page, an Instagram page, whether they use it or not. And I mean, you know, some people have done this whole fake followers thing that makes them look like they’ve got thousands of followers. I mean, that’s a whole other episode probably.

But yeah, I wouldn’t recommend doing that because people won’t see you as being authentic. I think that’s one of the main things is definitely be true to yourself. Definitely be authentic, and be real with your followers and people watch it otherwise, they’re not going to trust you, and they’re not going to want to come to you for business.

George Bellamy: Right, so how would you stand out then between everything else? Because obviously, you know, we’re going along with a sense of every practice has an Instagram, how can we stand out? How can we be that one shining object in a sea of black really?

Be Yourself, Be Authentic

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, like I said, definitely be yourself, be authentic, but just see your goals, what you’re trying to achieve, look at your team members, what do your team bring to the table and people want to see that real aspect of it.

They want to see your team being bubbly, having fun and being happy. I think Instagram has also turned into this whole posey-posey lifestyle, show the fast cars and this and that, and this glamorous lifestyle. But I think if you show that you’re real, I definitely think you will stand out.

Engage With Your Followers

But make sure you engage with people, because that’s another thing that a lot of these big Instagram pages of people with thousands of followers don’t do. They don’t engage with their followers, they don’t reply back to them with comments, or they don’t, you know, they don’t talk to them.

So people will feel disconnected in that way and then they might unfollow you in the future because they’d be like, oh, you’re not engaging with us so why do I need to follow you so definitely, I think, get to know people that are following you.

George Bellamy: Right. So okay, so how often should I post an image or a video or something? Would you stick with a schedule? Or is it more or less a sense of just putting things on? Like, would it be good if I put on five photos in one day? And then don’t do anything the rest of the week? Or, you know, What, really? 

Commit Yourself Daily

Nikita Kanda: I definitely think it’s a daily thing, you have to commit yourself daily. So every day I would be posting, especially with a new business, every single day post something, even if it’s, you know, one video a day, one picture a day, one advert a day you need to be posting daily like, it is so important.

Because the more you post, the more engagement you’re going to get, the more followers you’re going to get. So I definitely would say start with a minimum, if it’s just you on your own or a small team, start with minimum one hour. But I would say spend a few hours and get a social media manager if you can to just manage all of the accounts, because it’s so important that it’s going out at certain times, certain days as well.

Test to See What Works

I’d say Monday to Friday, think about what you’re going to post there with, obviously Samera Dental Group, every Monday we do a poll, tips every Tuesday, videos on Wednesday, Thursday, live Q and A’s, there are so many things you can do.

But I would set a week where you do it every single day and then you kind of see afterwards, what days am I getting the most engagement, and then you kind of start to see what works. Once you start doing it daily, it really helps you with your insights, and you start gaining all this information of your followers and really helps you for your business to see okay, what’s going to work and what’s not.

Watch our webinar on using marketing to increase profits in a dental practice.

George Bellamy: Okay, that’s pretty cool. So really, it’s just making sure you stick to a schedule. Let me just say how Instagram’s got business pages. Does that come with analytics, so you can see where your posts are on hours of the day and that kind of thing?

Set Up an Instagram Business Page

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, exactly. So that’s really important and I really love this feature, because Instagram business page allows you to see your insights. It allows you to see where in the world and which countries your pictures or videos or content is reaching, how many males or many females it’s reaching. The age bracket is really important as well, because you want to be seeing where is your business and who is it reaching, the age bracket, is it the right age bracket? 

If not, then you need to do something about that and yes, it shows you all these minor details, which is really, really important and shows you who’s exited your story of who’s gone back to look at it or your website, who’s clicked on your profile and how many people, there’s so much information you can gain from just an Instagram insights – it’s really useful.

Yeah, it’s really, really good. So I do recommend that you switch to a business profile if you haven’t done so already.

George Bellamy: Yeah, that’s really interesting. So okay I’ve got my schedule sorted now, do I post just photos, just videos or sprinkle a bit of both? Or do I put on a video on like, a certain day of the week, or what really?

Mix Up Your Posts

Nikita Kanda: I’d say, yeah, you mix it up. So you do photos, videos and do some lives, Instagram stories. The stories are different to the actual posts, stories are something that just lasts 24 hours but you tend to get more viewers on a story because it’s a quick view and it comes up on the homepage, the people just always tend to click straight away on the story.

Okay. So I think that’s really important to make sure when you do, what I do is when I post on the actual page itself, I always go and post it on the story as well. So I’ll be like, ‘click this new post’ or ‘click this new blog’ it’s kind of like an ad for this for the page really. Then people that will see it on the story will be like, okay, cool they’ve got something new, a new blog post’s out, let me go on their page and read it. So it’s really, really important that you kind of sync the two.

George Bellamy: Okay, So with social media, I’ve found that people very much don’t want things being thrown in their face. So basically, try and keep things more or less organic, as we’re not trying to gain a following (but you can if you want). So you’re trying to say don’t push. Say ‘follow us’ and don’t push to go on our website because I think that could scare people off in that sense.

Be Smart With Your Response

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, no, definitely. I wouldn’t be pushy with it because again, like you just said it would definitely scare people away and they might follow you and then again they might unfollow you and you want to kind of keep those followers and you want to keep the authentic followers as well.

That’s why I was saying definitely engage with people if they do comment, or they do send you a direct message, I definitely would reply to that. Make sure you’re quite quick with the response as well.

And again, with Google reviews, I mean, that’s another whole podcast, but definitely reply straight away if you can, because it makes them feel that there is somebody there behind that screen that actually cares and takes time. Because a lot of these social media pages, like I said earlier, they’re all about the glitz and the glamour and they don’t respond to people. So I think if you actually have that response and engagement there they feel like okay, this is a trustworthy brand. There’s actually somebody there that takes the time to respond.

George Bellamy: Yeah. Awesome. Okay, what happens if I’m doing a schedule and do my photos, my stories, all that, I’ve got a colour scheme going, you know, the whole shebang. But I’m not getting the following. It’s not really picking up the traction, so what can someone do to try and change that up?

Keep Going – Stick To It!

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, I would say just keep going because the thing is, when you start off on any social media page, you’re not going to get the following straight away. It’s just how it is, you need to stick to it.

Stick to posting every single day, stick to your plan, stick to what you’re doing in your content, keep pushing out even if one person or two people see it. You know what, that one person or two people – in a month’s time it might be 20 people, then it might be 200 people.

So what I would say is just keep doing it because the more you do it, the repetition is key. And I think don’t get put off by, oh, I posted a video and it’s not getting 1000 views. The thing is, with social media, it takes its time, if you want real authentic followers, it definitely takes its time and that’s just what it is.

Give yourself time, don’t just think this isn’t working because one person or nobody’s seen it, it really does take a while. Don’t go by what you see on Instagram, sometimes you’ll see people with 50,000 followers. But if you really look at what I’ve noticed, if I see a dental practice of 50,000 followers, I look on their photos or their content, and they’ve got about, I don’t know 16 to 20 likes, those numbers don’t add up to me. So then they’ve obviously paid for followers. So really don’t believe everything you see is what I’m saying, because it does take time.

Read out article on 5 reasons to use Facebook ads.

George Bellamy: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, because Exactly. Because half those followers would be fake and then again, what they’re doing, they’ve probably bought the followers and thought okay, we look cool, because we’ve got 50,000 followers, but really, you’re not getting the engagement and the engagement is key.

I definitely wouldn’t go down that route, I think be authentic. Take your time. Keep repeating, keep posting stuff every single day, spend time on it and it will come, it will definitely come like it just takes a while. 

George Bellamy: Yeah. Okay, so how do I gain that following then? Obviously, Instagram and Facebook have those hashtags and that lot? How should I use them? Because obviously some hashtags have got hundreds of millions of uses others have got a couple you know, do I go with the small like the smaller niche type hashtags? Or do I go with the whole filled up wider fetch ones? 

Use Smaller Traffic Hashtags

Nikita Kanda: I would say mix them up, definitely hashtag whatever is relevant to your business. So – ‘dental practice’, ‘dental’, ‘dental hygienists’, ‘dental nurse’, ‘dental business’ all about everything dental, hashtag it and anything else you can think of. Say you did dentistry, visit #dentalbusinesstips.

Okay, it might not have that many posts on it or, you know, it might be like a lower end of the hashtags, but somebody might actually type that in one day and be like, okay, I need some dental business tips, let me type that in and it will come up with yours. It will be the first to come up with because they haven’t been used that much.

So mix it up, use the ones that are quite common, but also make up your own. Also use the ones that you think people wouldn’t use much because somebody will use it. Yeah, it’s just good to mix it all up. And then you will get followers that way with the hashtags.

Also, again, like I said, the more you’re posting, you’re reaching different people, because there’s an explore page on Instagram. So say I’ve been all day clicking on different dental businesses, then in my explore page, it’s going to come up with other dentists or other things that relate to that, what I’ve been clicking on, right kind of relatable posts if you will.

So you know what, you will be seen in loads of different ways. And also ads as well sponsored, and get yourself sponsored on Instagram or ads again, it’s like Facebook ads. That’s a whole other podcast but yeah, that’s definitely something to go with it.

George Bellamy: Okay, amazing. Well, thank you so much for the insight. I’m sure everyone is very appreciative because I am a complete novice when it comes to Instagram. So I have my own Instagram for my Landrover defender has not got the following whatsoever but I might actually start using these tips now so thank you very much.

Read our article on 5 reasons you should use Google Ads.

Nikita Kanda: Oh, I definitely have a quick tip I’ll give is definitely get people that you know, friends, family, whoever to post about your page because the more people that post about it, whoever it is, friends, family, whatever, the more people that post about it, it will get more views, more followers and their followers will want to follow you because they’re seeing it through their page and it just kind of goes in a spiral basis.

George Bellamy: Whole full circle thing really.

Nikita Kanda: Yeah, word of mouth. definitely get people to push it for you, your friends and what not. So definitely, that’s another great tip.

George Bellamy: Superb. Well, that’s right, wrap it up there. Thanks very much for listening everyone and we’ll catch you on the next one.

Nikita Kanda: Thank you.

Our Expert Opinion

“Social media is becoming more important as the generations who grew up with it start making financial decisions. However, it can take a lot of ongoing work to make it work properly as a lead magnet and to convert those leads into patients.

My advice would be to get the team member who uses social media most in their personal life to handle your practice’s platforms. Post blogs, reviews, testimonials, offers and team photos a couple of times a week and use your social media as a touch point. What I mean by that is don’t expect to convert or find leads with your social media (unless you’re paying for ads). I don’t mean you can’t do that with social media – but it does take a lot more work and is harder to get right.

Treat your social media as a reference for leads captured by your website. When leads find your website they’ll read through it but they’ll want more. Your website is the polished, crafted front you show customers. Treat your social media as the behind-the-scenes, real life version where patients can learn more about you and feel closer to you.

They’ll want to see your reviews and testimonials, pictures of the team, reviews etc. They want to see the ‘real you’ so show it to them.”

Chris O’Shea
Head of Digital Marketing

Marketing a Dental Practice: Further Information

For further information on how to effectively market a dental practice, check out our Learning Centre here, where you can find articles and webinars like our guide How to Market a Dental Practice.

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