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Integrating Your Practice With Social Media Marketing

Each day, millions of online users gravitate toward popular social media sites (eg, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs) to interact with others, exchange information, and build new relationships. In fact, there are currently over 400 million Facebook users. Social networking has even surpassed personal e-mail in popularity. 

How does this impact your practice? You now have not only the ability to engage with your existing patient base but also reach a vast audience of prospective patients interested in what your practice has to offer. Built correctly and integrated with your practice website, social networking has the power to significantly enhance your web presence, improve your website traffic, and increase your patient flow.

Building Your Network

The first step to building an effective social networking campaign is to create a space for your practice on the leading social media platforms (ie, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube). Utilize visual elements within your website that create a branded look and feel that reflects the quality of your practice for each social media site. Be sure to include photos and important practice information (eg, office hours, addresses, and phone numbers) as well.

When prospective patients locate you on social media platforms, you can easily redirect them to your website to learn more about your practice. Include a strong call to action by requesting an appointment. Likewise, you can direct existing patients to your social media sites from direct links on your homepage to stimulate participation, offer dental education, or promote office specials. Building up your network is also important to the success of your campaign; therefore, send an e-blast to your current patient base, announcing your social network and encouraging existing patients to join your social media pages. 

Content Creation

Managing your social networking campaign requires time and energy. You will want to regularly provide information and keep your social media platforms up to date with relevant content, such as posting tips for teeth whitening, announcing a new treatment, or promoting an in-office event.  One of the easiest and most effective ways to manage multiple social media sites is to build a blog, which functions as the nucleus of your social networking campaign. You can feed content from your practice blog into your social media site so that your entire network automatically updates every time you post to your blog. This ensures all of your social media sites are continuously updated with fresh content. It also allows you to point viewers back to your website’s blog for additional information and engagement. 

Generally, an individual within your office has both the experience and enthusiasm for social networking and will head up your campaign. If not, many professional dental marketing and website companies offer social media management services to build and maintain your entire campaign for you.

Improved Interaction and Patient Education

With the recent rise in social media, never before has it been this easy to engage with patients and broadcast information to a large network of individuals. You can quickly share educational resources, increase awareness about your services, and post influential YouTube video testimonials -- all in real-time -- to your social media sites. Promote monthly specials exclusive to your social media site members to encourage office visits. Regular participation enables your practice to reinforce your values and connect with patients on a more personal level through requested feedback and comments. Not only will your practice appear technologically savvy, you will also appear genuinely interested in your patients by actively engaging in meaningful and valuable dialogue.

Generate Patient Referrals

Patient opinion is far more influential than any other form of marketing. A substantial benefit of social networking is its ability to heighten word-of-mouth referrals for your practice. With just the click of a mouse, patients can share information about you and your services with their entire network of friends. For example, suppose a patient is immensely satisfied with her newly whitened teeth. She takes a photo of her new smile on her cell phone, uploads the photo to her blog, and writes a brief post about her wonderful experience. This post then feeds into her social network pages. In a matter of seconds, her entire social network is instantly aware of your practice’s superior service and quality care, making your social media campaign a highly effective tool for promoting services. 

It is no surprise that dentists are embracing online social networking as a major component of their online marketing strategy. The effectiveness and influence of online social networking is undeniable. With leading social media sites (eg, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), it has never been easier to obtain and share content with a vast network of other people. Millions of individuals go online to network with other people, gather information, and share first-hand experiences, including their dental choices. The social networking phenomenon is an important tool to achieve growth and success for your practice.   

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