There are certain attributes every good social media manager should have – excellent writing skills, curiosity, timeliness, confidentiality and the ability to collaborate. You say you have all of these? Well, then you may be able to create your dental practice’s social media presence. But before you get too far, there are a few more things to consider.
Studies show it takes a midsize company about 32 hours a month to manage a single social media platform. The list of social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, Tumblr – goes on and on. And the landscape is changing every day. You’re already likely to have a work week consisting of 40+ hours devoted to running the business of your practice and providing dental services to your patients. Are you ready to add even more hours to your workload? Can you afford one week per month per social media outlet?
Obviously the time you can commit to any endeavor is important to its success. Beyond the time factor, here are three questions to answer when you’re deciding to do it yourself or hire a professional.
1. Do you understand all of the networks? You probably have a personal Facebook account. You may even have Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts. But do you know how to leverage them? Don’t be a lurker. Posting once in a while and forgetting about your page isn’t going to help your practice’s growth. Do you know how posters on each platform prefer to engage? In order to reach beyond your immediate friends you have to reach your patients and potential patients on their level and on a regular basis. The more engagements you create; the more shares you’ll get; the more traffic will come to your social media pages; the more appointments will be made.
2. Can you respond to everything? Social media is a landscape of immediacy. Posters expect responses within 24 on most platforms. On some platforms, i.e. Twitter, you need to be much quicker. Facebook even added a feature that tells fans that you’re “very responsive to messages” when you consistently answer within 5 minutes or less. Failing to respond to a post in a timely manner, or at all, can have serious repercussions on your brand name. Social media offers posters a sense of anonymity and protection. So when they feel slighted you can expect negative comments and feedback.
3. Are you missing opportunities? Do you run a patient referral program? How about special promotions for dental procedures? One of the fastest and most successful ways to spread the word among your existing patients is through social media. If you forget to spread the word this way, you may also miss out on six degrees of connections begin exposed to your practice. Your social media posts should never be an afterthought. Social media marketing is just like any other outlet – you need to begin with a strategic plan that covers your communications for months in advance. This will help ensure you don’t miss opportunities to engage with patients, potential patients and more.
Now that you’ve answered some important questions, and weighed the time and money aspects of social media marketing, what do you think? Are you going to try doing it yourself or would you like to investigate hiring someone to handle your practice’s social media responsibilities? Qualified Internet marketing companies should be able to create a social media plan to meet your practice’s goals. If you have concerns, look at how they handle their own social media. How often do they blog? How many channels do they use and how much engagement do they get? If a company isn’t using social media well for themselves, they probably won’t help you use it well either. Still have questions? Call ProSites today for a personal consultation at 888-932-3644.