A strong social media presence is essential to attract new patients — and retaining your current patients. Social media helps boost your practice’s brand, putting your name (and message) regularly in front of those key people you want in your circle.
Your dedication to providing valuable health information is reflected in your social media. Your commitment to helping people live their best lives must be inherent in your messages.
But beware the easy mistakes that can damage your reputation.
Don’t worry, every dental practice — every business — faces these same challenges. Problem is, your energies are primarily focused on patient care, and keeping up with social media, marketing, and online content is like having a second job. It’s just too much for a practitioner to manage well.
You may devote a weekend afternoon to your social media, but truthfully, it requires day-to-day monitoring to ensure optimal communications with prospective patients. And if you’re like most practitioners, you really require a good work-life balance to provide your patients your full attention and the highest-level care.
At-a-glance: social media mishaps
Facebook is generally considered the top-priority social media outlet for dentistry and other healthcare practices. Instagram, Twitter, and now TikTok also boost your stories, services, your brand.
On all these platforms, you need to avoid these common mistakes:
#1: Last-minute errors
If you’re working week-to-week on social media, without planning in advance, you’re at high risk for cringe-worthy editorial mistakes. A misspelling, grammar error, or ineffective photo are the result of last-minute efforts. You won’t notice these errors, committed in haste, until a patient points it out — so embarrassing and unprofessional.
That’s why an editorial schedule is very helpful. By planning your social media posts, you save time in your everyday communications. You’ll know what’s coming up, and know exactly what needs to be done so there’s no scrambling at the last minute. And you’ll have time to proofread (plus get a second set of eyes to double-check).
The end result is higher-quality content, with images that reflect your demographic and your topic effectively. Your social media will appear professional and will do its job — retaining and accruing patients.
#2: Random publishing
Consistency and regularity are the keys to social media publishing. Identify the channels that best fit your audience, then decide the frequency you should publish. And once you start publishing, keep it rolling. Your current and prospective patients will expect to see your messages on a regular basis, and you want to meet their expectations.
You’re providing a valuable service to your community, keeping them informed about issues affecting their health. Show your commitment with regular publishing, and enhance the impression that you’re well-organized. You’ll add to the online conversation on important topics, guiding patients to the medical attention they deserve.
When appropriate, you can publish a special post that meets your patients’ needs. If you’ve implemented new COVID protocols or changed hours, this certainly is necessary. Your patients will appreciate the updates.
#3: Using the wrong social media platforms
Certain medical specialties lend themselves to photos vs. text content. For example, facial aesthetics is very much a before-and-after specialty, and patients expect to see photos showing results of your treatments. You can share these images on Facebook, but they’re especially perfect for Instagram.
Medical news and insights, including healthcare tips, are best shared on Facebook and Twitter. People expect to see high-quality content on these sites.
#4: Publishing “off-brand” messages
Any risk you take with political or humorous messaging is considered potentially “off-brand” as it doesn’t reflect your professional practice. When you express personal opinion in your social media, you risk offending patients — and losing prospects.
As a professional, you’ve got to take this seriously. You can’t risk damaging your reputation, so steer clear of any impulse to jump into the mainstream fray.
Hiring an agency to handle social media removes this risk. Your editorial posts will be planned and handled by others (with your approval), so you’re safely removed from any potential disasters.
#5: Getting overwhelmed
If you’ve made this your year for social media, you’re on the right track. But it’s easy to jump in too deep and get overwhelmed. You may have the basics organized — your content categories, a few blog topics, an idea which social media platforms are best for your prospects.
Here’s the thing — do you really have time to do all that? And do you know how to use those platforms, what rules they set for content?
It’s a lot to juggle, and to do well. You want your efforts to retain and draw the right patients — as well as your peers, even media. If you really can’t pull this off every week, with the workload you currently have, it’s time to look for help.
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to professionally organize and execute your social media posts. The burden will be off your shoulders, with a pay-off in sharing information from respected sources, and ending any rumors or misinformation. Your online content and social media posts are an investment in your practice’s reputation — and that’s undeniably priceless.