Let’s start off with what social media isn’t
What you’re about to read might seem strange – but pretty much all of the information you’ve likely heard or read about social media is wrong or at least useless.
So here’s what you need to know… or rather un-know:
Social media isn’t a new way of doing business.
It isn’t a way for people to engage in “radically different social actions” as I read recently.
It isn’t a special form of human communication.
It isn’t the next step in the evolution of how people interact.
So what is social media?
For most social media participants, it can be many things. It can be a place to socialize, keep in touch, communicate, play games, keep informed, or be entertained.
At its essence, it’s just a new format for human interaction. The communication itself is more or less the same as it’s always been – it’s just faster, online and largely public.
I want to demystify social media (first off, by not capitalizing the words themselves) because I think many professionals put the idea of social media into a special compartment and they look at it as a completely new idea.
But for a dental or medical practice, it helps to think of social media as a very simple kind of marketing tool. In fact, it’s an old tool; the oldest marketing tool in existence…
Word of mouth
That’s right – social media is a new form of a very old and highly useful kind of marketing: a way for your existing patients to tell potential patients about your practice.
So whenever you hear about social media in relation to marketing your practice, you need to make a mental note to substitute “social media” with “online word of mouth.”
You can absolutely use your practice’s social media platforms for more than marketing, but when it comes to marketing, you need a focus.
You already know that a referral from an existing patient is one of the best advertisements you could ask for.
And that’s how you need to view your social media marketing efforts: as a way to get your existing patients to tell their friends and family about you and your practice.
Social media as a marketing tool has to engage your patients and prospective patients. That means doing two things:
- Posting compelling, relevant content.
- Posting regularly.
Do those two things, and you’ll stay fresh in the minds of your existing patients – which means more word of mouth as well as better engagement in general.