The reach of social media networks has gone beyond our personal lives. Now, their influence extends over business, regardless of the industry -- yes, that includes your dental practice!
To reach a wider audience within a shorter period of time and lesser amount of money, it's time to embrace and leverage what social media networks can do for you. If you've already mastered Facebook and Twitter, it's time to move to the next level - particularly Instagram and Pinterest. Both sites are visual, so here are a few specific suggestions you can try out in the coming year:
- Hold a contest -- People like getting free stuff, but they love winning free stuff even more because of the added thrill of being chosen either out of luck or merit. To leverage this fact of human nature, hold a monthly contest with small prizes like free movie tickets or discount coupons. The contest can be of any kind, like a guessing game (e.g., guess the number of toothbrushes in a big jar) or a trivia game (e.g., answer the question of the week).
- Share infographics -- Text content works on social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, but not so much on visual sites like Instagram and Pinterest. To capture people's attention, post infographics instead! Infographics present numerical data and other facts through illustrations, graphs, and colors. You can make your own from scratch or on sites like Piktochart and Easel.ly, or you can hunt for ready-made ones and share them (just make sure to give credit where it's due). The ADA, AAP, and BIOLASE all have infographics you can share.
- Post photos from your everyday dental practice -- In general, people patronize businesses that have the human touch. To differentiate your dental practice from the rest, and to make it seem more accessible to customers (both potential and current), share photos of your clinic, your staff, your professional activities, etc. In this way, people will have a glimpse of your services in action.
- Start an interactive campaign -- Social media is all about interaction, so you can go beyond than just posting content and waiting for feedback. To get more out of social media, conceptualize a theme, work around it, and launch it. An example would be a "New Year's Resolution" campaign featuring dental-related goals for the coming year. You can post photos of goals such as "a white, bright smile" or "fresh breath," then include information on the services you offer to help people reach these goals. Next, you can ask them what they want to improve about their dental health, and then share their responses on social media along with suggestions on how they can get what they want. Remember, it's all about what your customers need.
- Start a comic strip -- If you have artistic talent, take advantage of that by launching a weekly comic strip in your social media accounts. The art doesn't have to be complicated; for example, you can feature anthropomorphic teeth as the main characters, with content focusing on basic dental hygiene. The important thing is to make the content funny, because that's what most folks expect from a comic strip. Not a comic genius? Ask your office staff for other ideas - it's amazing what the team can come up with based on their personal experiences.
Social media is a highly accessible tool just waiting to be utilized. With the increasing number of mobile users, you'll be able to reach more people if you learn how to harness social media's power. Try the tips mentioned above and see the difference within six months to a year. Results may not be instant, but they deliver sustainable organic growth.Photo credit: kentbrew / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA