Is It Okay for a Dentist to Tweet?

Absolutely! Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN… They are all good for content marketing, as long as they are done correctly.

Wait. What’s content marketing? It’s the marketing of your business through the creation and distribution of high quality content with the aim of attracting and engaging with a target audience. Not unlike this blog post, even if we do say so ourselves!

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become an important resource for sharing content, information and having conversations with existing and potential clients. But when it comes to professional businesses, like a dental practice, there are certain caveats that you need to consider.

Should we be on social media at all?

Whether your practice should engage in social media depends largely on the audience you are trying to reach but there is no doubt that the post-Baby Boom generations (otherwise known as Gen X, Y and Z, born after 1961, 1975 and 1995) are online and if they are part of your target market, you should be too.

It’s only a portion of your marketing efforts but, these days, an increasingly important one. And here’s something else to consider: a dental practice that is not up to date online may lead potential patients to question if they aren’t up to date in other ways, including clinical skills and in-office equipment.

Privacy is paramount

There is one absolute rule about social media vis-a-vis a professional business and that’s privacy. You must ensure that you, or whomever you engage to handle your social media, are acutely aware of the importance of protecting patient privacy. You can’t snap a picture of someone in the middle of a procedure and post it on Instagram without their express permission. You should not use patient’s names when quoting them on Facebook without their permission. It seems obvious to say but it’s worth repeating.

Ideally, your dental practice will develop and maintain a social media policy for staff to adhere to as well, so that they are clear on what is allowed and not allowed to be shared on social media, on behalf of or even mentioning the practice.

Return on investment is a relative notion

Social media takes time and resources to engage in so you might be wondering what the return on investment will be. Let me ask you this: What is the return on investment when you call a patient personally to check on them, following a procedure in your dental office? It’s not a tangible return, right? But it builds trust and loyalty with that patient. They will remain with you and will probably refer you to their friends if they genuinely feel that you care about their wellbeing.

Social media works on much the same way. It’s not about the number of followers you have on Twitter but about the quality of the conversations you are having with those followers. And it doesn’t always have to be about dentistry! Keep it professional and clean but you can talk about other things, such as special events happening in your neighborhood or the latest scores from the pee-wee t-ball team that you are sponsoring. The idea is to spark a positive conversation.

What platforms are right for me?

Ideally, your dental practice will only be working on two or three platforms, at most. The reason for this is simply that it’s time consuming to engage with followers and you need to be present regularly, so spreading yourself too thin won’t be feasible.

Twitter is great for quick conversations and sharing, as is Facebook. Or perhaps a series of videos on YouTube that show people how things work and perhaps help take the fear out of some procedures? There’s no need to get graphic, but if people can see the kind of people your practice has on staff and the work that you do, they’ll be more likely to trust you. The advantage to sharing that type of content is that it can be re-shared on your website, on the blog, and on other platforms, like Facebook. It’s the kind of content that can go a long way by being reused and re-shared.

Do I have to do it myself?

In a word: no. Outsourcing your content and social media marketing is perfectly acceptable but be very comfortable with the person / firm that you hire before you bring them on board. Your professional reputation is in their hands, so with that in mind, it’s probably best to hire someone with experience and not your sister’s nephew.

The most compelling content is that which is generated by your patients. If they have something good to say about you, ask them if they’d be willing to post a testimonial on your Facebook page. Their friends and family will see it and the ‘social media’ effect will be complete!

Do’s and don’ts to keep in mind

DO be real on social media—you don’t need to overshare personal information but ‘chat’ with a natural voice and people will respond.

DON’T oversell your dental practice—if every post is a sales pitch, people will tune you out.

DO keep it professional—you might think a video of your brother-in-law burping the alphabet is hilarious but it’s probably not the right image for your practice.

DON’T be a bullhorn—if you are always ‘talking’ on social media and never asking questions or listening to customers / potential customers questions or issues, you aren’t engaging.

In the end, it’s best to get some professional help, even if it’s only to get you started on the path of using social media as part of your marketing plan. A little prevention goes a long way!

Don’t get stuck stagnating in your practice. There are ways to change and grow, keeping it interesting for you and lucrative too.

Contact the experts at Dental Management Advisors and we’ll help you get back to doing more of what you love.

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