5 Common Questions about Social Media for Dental Practices
We recently held a webinar to help dentists like you improve their presence on social media networks to gain more referrals and engage with patients. We received a lot of great questions that we thought everyone could benefit from hearing the answers! Here are the top five questions we received from your peers:
1. How often should you post things from other news sources such as articles you read on DentalTown, a local newspaper, etc.?
As often as you like! A general rule of thumb is to post on Facebook one to three times a week, and at least three times a week on Twitter. The key is to balance newsworthy and third party articles with your own original content based on what your capacity allows you to do. For example, John Doe, DDS has a goal to post once a week each month but their capacity only allows them to create one original post per month. They could post their own original content the first week, and then share content from other news sources for the following three weeks.
Even more important than frequency is ensuring that the content you share is important and relevant to your current and prospective patients. Posting educational content from other news sources is a great way to stay relevant and engage with your followers.
2. How would Twitter be helpful to a dental practice?
Twitter is great for real-time conversations with your current and prospective patients and provides a forum to answer frequently asked questions. A common practice on the Internet is to host an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) event on social media. An AMA event typically means that you are reaching out on Twitter, or your social media platform of choice, and invite users to ask you any questions that they have. This particular social media event is probably best held before benefits expire when most people are actively looking for dentists for help.
3. Which is better: Facebook, Twitter, or a website?
Your practice’s website is the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy, so you should have a website regardless of your presence on social media. Search engines rely on the existence of a website for your dental practice to understand how relevant you are to searchers looking for your services. Sometimes business may think that because they have a Facebook page, they don’t need a website. On the contrary, not having a website limits your dental practice’s online presence because social media profiles alone are unlikely to appear on search results. For example, anyone Googling “Dentist in [your city]” will not likely find your information. Furthermore, search engine optimization is impossible without a website (learn more about SEO for dental practices here).
Once you have a website, an active social media presence is a great way to create awareness and increase referrals and traffic to your site. Choosing between Facebook and Twitter will depend on your capacity to post content and where you find the most engagement, which will differ from business to business. If you’re not sure about which to choose, try using both Facebook and Twitter for a while and see which has the most activity. Just remember that they are not created equal.
Twitter will demand a higher frequency of posts because content is consumed in real time. You may have to post several times a day on Twitter, whereas Facebook allows you to limit your posting to 1-3 times a week. However, if you find that you are getting a better response on Twitter, then you may just have to dedicate your posts on that platform and accept that you’ll need to post more frequently.
4. Most of our current patients are older. How do we use social media to engage them while still appealing to a younger (potential patient) crowd as well?
First, know where your audience is. If you typically target people that are retired, you’ll want to use Facebook. According to SproutSocial, “11 percent of [Facebook’s] 1.15 billion members are seniors, and one in five will log on for an hour any given day.” Additionally, you can be sure that millennials can also be found on Facebook.
Second, post about topics that your audience cares about. If you want your content to resonate with an older demographic, then you’ll want to touch on topics like dental implants, or dentures. On the flipside, you can appeal to millennials who are new parents by posting about baby bottle decay, or tips on how to keep teeth white for a special day such as graduation or a wedding. As mentioned above, they key is balance. If you post engaging content to both audiences without leaning too heavily one side or another, you’ll be able to appeal to both.
5. What is the best way to get a respectable amount of followers quickly?
There are a handful of ways to gain followers:
- Post relevant content
- Promote your social media profiles via your website with buttons that link to your pages
- Send an email to your patients and invite them to follow you on social media with links to your pages
Once upon a time businesses would purchase followers to make it seem as if they had a lot of interest around their business on social media. However, there are two major downsides to doing this:
- You are buying an audience who is likely uninterested in what you have to say. Your reach and engagement metrics (how many times people Like, Share or comment on your posts) will suffer.
- Most social media platforms are great at recognizing and eliminating fake profiles used to augment a user-base. Purchasing followers could put you at risk for a penalty and shut your profile down.
Of course, if anyone is going to follow you, you must make it worth their while. Continue to post regularly (same time and days each week) so your followers come to expect your content and are therefore more likely to engage with your page. Every time a follower Likes, shares or comments on your posts, their friends can see their interactions could possibly choose to follow you. The more relevant, educational content you post, the more likely you are to attract a decent following.