Your one-page social media "pocket guide"

Sept. 1, 2011
The time to start seriously dedicating yourself to social media is now. The number of people who make choices influenced by social media ...

Kristie Nation

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: social media, pocket guide, campaign, Facebook, Twitter, feedback, Kristie Nation.

The time to start seriously dedicating yourself to social media is now. The number of people who make choices influenced by social media continues to climb, and you will not find a cheaper, easier way to create the sort of positive impact social media can bring to your practice.

Why should my practice use social media?

There are four good reasons you should implement a social media campaign immediately:

  1. Social media reaches consumers where they are, in the middle of their daily lives. By going social, you put yourself directly in the way of the people you want most to reach.
  2. Social media drives targeted traffic. You don’t have a point of sale with Facebook or Twitter, but you do have a huge funnel ready to receive your potential patients.
  3. Social media delivers consumers exactly where they need to be so you can turn them into patients. You can use effective call-to-action phrases to get these targets to enter the funnel and pipe them directly to your website or your practice’s upcoming event.
  4. Social media establishes you as an expert and creates innumerable opportunities to engage. Now instead of merely promoting yourself, you can engage, respond, and react to others positively.

What should my social media campaign accomplish?

There are six main objectives you should plan to achieve with a social media campaign:

  1. Branding. Build awareness for your practice’s brand.
  2. Personalization. Reach out to your patient base and draw them closer with individualized attention.
  3. Promotion. Draw attention to events by adding them to programs within social media.
  4. Introduction. Increase the audience scope for new products, procedures, and technology.
  5. Production. Create a more productive practice by improving patient relationships.
  6. Engagement. Use social media as your No. 1 avenue for back-and-forth communication.

Who should run my social media campaign?

The individual you select to spearhead your social media efforts should be outgoing and responsive, comfortable with social media practices, willing to spend time developing relationships, and able to constantly monitor and participate in conversations surrounding your practice.

They should also have a strong knowledge of your technology, services and special offerings, as well as a working knowledge of what your competitors offer and how you are unique in your trading zone. The key to good social media is being able to knowledgeably and quickly respond at any time to questions or concerns raised by the online community.

How do I create content for my social media campaign?

If you do things correctly, eventually most of your content will be community created and driven. All you will have to do is steer. At first, however, a large amount of activity will center around finding and joining conversations about your company or industry. Answer questions, reveal useful information, and share tips.

Use Twitter and Facebook to help you introduce new products or services and drive traffic to your website. Create special offers for your fans and followers to encourage more participation on your Facebook page. Develop relationships with your most active community members.

Post links on Facebook and Twitter that offer tidbits from a patient success story or a recent testimonial. Share a tip from a recent article you read in an industry publication and encourage readers to follow the link to read more.

Encourage reviews and feedback. Don’t be afraid! Even if you occasionally get a bad review among the good ones, it can be an opportunity to react in a positive manner. People learn as much about a practice from the way it handles unhappy patients as they do from glowing testimonials. Speaking of testimonials, ask for them — frequently!

Your social media campaign can help you funnel patients, new and existing, through your practice by offering them what they cannot get elsewhere — a thriving community of past, current, and future patients who share positive commentary about your practice that makes you the obvious choice to meet their needs.

Kristie Nation is the founder and CEO of myDentalCMO, a marketing consulting firm that provides strategic marketing “treatment plans” exclusively for dental practices. The firm was founded with a mission to prevent dentists from wasting countless dollars marketing their practices ineffectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (888) 557-6443.

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