By 2021 the dental industry is projected to be worth around $36.8 billion. That’s a lot of teeth for the tooth fairy. But if your practice wants a piece of the profit, it’s incredibly important to start a social media marketing plan for dentists and your specific industry.
For decades, dentists relied almost exclusively on reputation and word of mouth marketing to help them build their practice. But it’s 2018 and more likely than not, your audience is on social. Whether it’s blogging, video marketing, paid social ads or even podcasts, you have to learn the specifics of social media marketing for dentists.
Just like any other industry, there are ways to better attract, retain and ultimately market to your patients. And for the sake of this article, we’re looking at the dentists needing the extra push for social marketing efforts.
Let’s get started!
Why Does Social Media Marketing Matter For Dentists?
Social media marketing for dentists is still in the early roots of adoption, but more dental practices are seeing the power of being active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For an industry that leaves 15% of the population quivering with dread, what better way to earn a loyal patient than to consistently show them there’s nothing to fear?
Dentists are in a bit of different position than many other industries. Clothing stores, software companies, restaurants and other industries have to convince people that what they’re selling is worth their money—even if it’s something they don’t need. Dentists on the other hand don’t need to convince people they need to get their teeth and gums checked. Everyone knows they need to visit the dentist.
The challenges most dentists face are simply getting people to remember to schedule their appointments, and helping them overcome the fear and anxiety associated with dental visits.
Ultimately, it comes down to building trust and earning a patient’s confidence.
Social media marketing is the ultimate way to build relationships with your audience. For a dentist that means convincing your patients that you can deliver a pain-free experience.
Use social media to help patients feel more comfortable before they even visit your office. Showcase your authority, track record and industry experience by letting clients know they’re in safe hands. Remove some of the stigma around going to the dentist through fun and light hearted social content. By giving your practice an interesting personality, you ensure that people look forward to seeing you. Again, it’s all about trust.
Remember that you’re not just selling toothpaste and root canals–you’re selling comfort, good health, confidence, trust and above all a good experience. Social media gives you the platform you need to connect with your patients. Remind them that you’re all about people, not just teeth.
The Benefits of Social Media for Dentists
For dentists in both big and small cities, advertising is a bread and butter tactic to gain new customers. However, how much of this time and effort are you spending on social media? If you need more convincing, Facebook ad revenue is expected to outpace print ads by 2019.
The more digitally focused the world becomes, the larger amount companies from the healthcare industry realize that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t just channels for sharing cat pictures. They’re a place where businesses discover new clients, interact with prospects and build a better brand name. Here are just some of the ways social media benefits dentists:
1. Better Establish Relationships
Many people consider going to the dentist to be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact some people are so scared that they avoid going to their appointments. It’s no wonder that marketing toward this experience is well, like pulling teeth.
Fortunately, social provides you the chance to create relationships with your audience through customer testimonials, client experiences, friendly office images and most importantly, the results of your work. For instance, when it comes to relationship building, responding to a question through social media about dental care demonstrates your effort of care and knowledge. You want to show you’re there to help. Tweets, Facebook shares and liking patients’ Instagram posts shows support on a friendlier level.
2. Attract New Clients
People take their healthcare decisions very seriously–and a lot of folks turn to Google for help. More than half of people use search engines to find a dentist. However, another survey discovered 15% of people said their No. 1 reason for not booking a dentist appointment was due to trouble finding an office.
When we invest in a dentist we’re not just buying a one-off product. Instead, we’re committing to a consistent relationship with someone we feel we can trust to keep us looking and feeling our best. When your patients start looking for a new dentist, they’re going to do their research and you need to be there.
In fact, 75% of people admitted they purchased a product or service because they saw it on social media. If you’re active on social, the things that you post help answer the questions customers have about your practice, making you into a more credible option for your prospects.
3. Showcase Your Leadership
Finally, the viral nature of social media means it’s easy to spread information about your practice far and wide. By writing articles, posting videos and sharing information that demonstrates your expertise, you can begin to show off thought leadership. For example, Imperial Dental uses social media to build trust through showcasing experience and professionalism by sharing industry content.
It’s hard to trust brands, but when you have the proof to back up your claims, it makes all the difference. That’s why becoming a leader within the dental industry and showcasing it on social media not only attracts new patients, it also gets the attention of peers in your field.
Best Social Media Platforms for Dentist
Now that we’ve covered the importance of social, it’s time to take the next step and figure out where you’re going to launch your campaign. There are several platforms out there and each one has the power to attract new patients. However, some social channels naturally work better for dentists than others. Let’s go over the big networks to see what works best for you.
Remember–it’s always best to work slowly through your network adoption rather than try to increase marketing on all your channels at the exact same time.
Facebook attracts billions of visitors every day, which makes this platform one of the broadest networks for dentists. However, through Facebook advertising, you have the chance to dive deep into customer personas and audience types. If you haven’t already, check out our guide below to help get you started on a social media advertising strategy.
Facebook is an intimate social platform used by friends and family members, so it’s important to learn about and work with the Facebook algorithm accordingly. Use Facebook to build deep and trusting relationships with your audience by trying a few of these options:
- Sharing photos of your team and office, as well as any happy clients
- Linking to blog posts and news articles relevant to your area
- Providing updates about your practice and asking customers for input
- Running promotions and contests
- Showing off a patient or team member of the months
- Running Facebook Live Q&A sessions
- Providing dental tips and answering customer questions
Because dentists often rely on the visual impact of their work to attract patients, channels with a focus on imagery and video are often an obvious choice. YouTube is a great way for dentists to expand the trust-building content they share on social media with:
- Office tours
- Q&A sessions or team interviews
- Patient testimonials
- Dental tips
Educational and entertaining information in video form will help to build trust with your target audience. Companies with videos get 41% more web traffic than their non-video using counterparts.
Twitter is another fantastic channel for dentists on social media. Like Facebook, it appeals to a broad collection of customers. The difference is that the messages you share will be more compact and refined. Twitter is about engaging with clients quickly and it also helps you to attract attention using branded hashtags. Ways to use Twitter for your dental ads include:
- Using hashtags related to your industry to draw attention like #TeethWhitening
- Sharing relevant content from industry peers
- Live-tweeting from dental conferences
- Responding to questions and concerns about dental care
- Handling customer service questions
When you’ve finished giving your patients a photo-ready smile, where do you think they show it off first? Instagram is the ultimate way to demonstrate the confidence-boosting visual side of your practice, particularly if you focus on cosmetic dentistry. Remember, don’t overuse filters here. The aim should be to appear as professional and authentic as possible. Some things dentists on Instagram might take advantage of include:
- Behind the scenes photos
- Reposting pictures patients take in your office
- Showing before and after images (with patient permission)
- Promoting events
- Running competitions for #BestSmile or something similar
- Branded hashtags
Social Media Secrets for Dentists: Best Practices
Once you’ve decided where to campaign, it’s time to finalize your social strategy. We’ll say it again, but the key to a truly incredible marketing campaign will always be understanding your audience.
Start by considering your USP (unique selling point), what you can offer to your customers and the kinds of clients you want to attract. Building user personas will help you figure out not just where you should launch your social media campaign, but what kind of content you should share.
Once you know your audience, don’t forget these last tips to increase awareness and solidify your campaign:
1. Make the Most of Employee Advocacy
Since social media marketing is all about building close relationships with your patients, it makes sense to tap into the impact of the people they interact with most–your staff. Your team members live in the same communities as your prospective patients, they love your practice and know how to reach out to your followers.
Using employee advocacy tools like Bambu helps your employees curate and post content on their own personal social channels. This lets you reach a wider audience and gives your practice that human touch your patients crave.
2. Be Personal, Not Clinical
Remember, your aim is to convince clients you provide a professional and comfortable experience. With that in mind, try not to be too clinical with your posts. A great way to add a personal touch to your campaigns is to show dramatic before and after photos that highlight your patients’ stories. Just remember to keep the HIPAA guidelines in mind. Ideally, your patient will share photos for you and you simply retweet or regram them.
Also, the odd joke or meme can go a long way to showing your customers that you’re more than just a teeth-cleaning robot too.
3. Share Engaging & Valuable Content
When people come to dentists, they’re looking for everything they need to enjoy a great smile. This means they want products and services to help with their oral hygiene, but they also want to learn what they can do to keep disease at bay and protect their teeth. When posting on social media, show your authority by giving valuable tips on dental hygiene.
If people find your posts helpful, they’ll be more likely to share them with friends and family. The end result is more engagement for your dental practice.
An important stat to know is 49% of people say they share content because they believe it’s informative and valuable to others. Content gives you a chance to show off your industry authority too.
4. Engage With Your Audience
Again, one of the most important things to remember about social media is it’s all about connecting with your audience. You don’t just want to post information for your potential patients, you want to elicit a response by creating content that gets people to click, comment or share.
One great way to encourage engagement from your audience is to ask a question. People love an opportunity to give their opinion on important topics. Ask questions that pertain to your patients’ oral health habits and encourage them to get involved with a compelling call to action.
5. Make the Most of Live Video
Live video is one of the most exciting trends on social media right now. This tool is one of the best ways to engage your audience and expand your credibility as a dentist. Video options like Instagram Stories and Facebook Live allow you to go beyond standard dentist ads and have genuine conversations with your audience.
6. Generate Reviews & Referrals
Online reviews are another great marketing tool that can pack a serious punch for dentists. Around 90% of consumers are influenced to buy products or services purely by reading reviews online. The more testimonials you get from happy patients, the better new prospects will feel with their decision to choose your practice.
If you’re having trouble generating reviews to begin with, you can always improve your chances of earning a testimonial with office visits and dental hygiene product discounts or other items for people who offer feedback.
Using Social Media Marketing for Dentists
Just like any marketing strategy, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to be successful in the social media world as a dentist. However, if you can recognize the importance of building a relationship with your audience through social channels, you can begin to create a brand that’s more credible, trustworthy and appealing for today’s patients.
Prove to your audience that they can trust you, and you’ll look forward to an army of happy patients who no longer dread going to the dentist.