LAST WEEK I HAD OPPORTUNITIES to speak to a couple of great dental groups in Raleigh, NC and Boston, MA. It’s always interesting for me to visit with attendees after I speak to discuss their questions and comments.
After each presentation last week I heard (what was essentially) the same comment several times. It sounded something like this… “I had never considered that the scope of social media marketing for a dental practice has such broad application across so many in-practice and online ideas. I thought you were just going to talk about digital coupons, Facebook, and viral cat videos!”
Effective, integrated social media marketing in a dental practice touches many strategies and topics. Content curation is a powerful social media tool that’s typically underutilized and not well understood in dental marketing.
“What Is Content Curation?”
Perhaps you’ve heard the term, “content curation” but you’re not sure what it means—especially as it relates to marketing a dental practice.
The idea of curation certainly isn’t a new concept—museum curators have been making decisions about which pieces of art to collect, group, and display for a long time. As they plan their exhibitions, they thoughtfully consider the relationships between various pieces of art. They aim to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. There are also other objectives for great exhibitions, including impressing potential donors. Great content can support calls to action.
Radio station program directors curate music for their audiences. News organizations are constantly curating and distilling stories as they decide what’s important to report each day.
Content curation is simply the process of collecting, filtering, distilling, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular area of interest. And in the case of dental marketing, this dentistry-related information is internet based.
American author and public speaker, John Naisbitt said, “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” Funny thing is, he said that in 1929. I wonder what he would say today!
We all know the feeling… When we need information on a topic we “google it”. When 8,989,987 results are delivered back in .03 seconds it’s both amazing, and amazingly overwhelming. How do we know where to start? How do we know what to believe and what to discard? Are the results on page two really less relevant than those on page one? How about page 22?
Just a few short years ago, the social media battle cry was, “content is king!” Great content is still important, but now it shares the throne with a powerful queen, “context”. Curation helps bring context to content.
“Why Should My Dental Practice Curate Content?”
You’re already your patients’ trusted oral health care partner. Patients see you as the authority. Curating content is about supporting that perception and strengthening trust. By curating (that is, suggesting and sharing) content, you further assume the position of authority—a position that your patients and other fans WANT you to assume!
Harvard Business School professor, Joseph Badaracco once said, “In today’s environment, hoarding knowledge ultimately erodes your power. If you know something very important, the way to get power is by actually sharing it.”
Perhaps you’ve never thought about yourself in this way. After all, you’re a highly skilled practitioner, not an educator, right? Wrong. Social media has changed the publishing/education paradigm and created a remarkable opportunity for you to establish yourself as THE thought leader, to provide real value to patients through distillation, to increase your clout, to prompt case acceptance, and to strengthen those relationships… All of which contribute to a more thriving dental practice. Social media has also helped make it possible to do this without spending a ton of your time.
Curation Leads To Patient Advocacy
Permission-based marketing that leads to patient advocacy requires practices to provide value first, which then leads to trust and consideration. Curating content is another effective way to lead people through your dental marketing funnel.
Several years ago, before the idea of content curation became mainstream, we carefully analyzed the various kinds of dental-related content that people found relevant, appreciated the value of, and responded to the most. We discovered that every patient-directed dental topic fell into one of three categories. We nicknamed our unique approach to dental content categorization CHA™ (Comfort, Health, and Appearance).
Comfort extends well beyond physical comfort to include psychological comfort and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the techniques, materials, and equipment you use—in connection with the treatment recommendations you make—are the very best available. Patients want to know that you provide good value, that treatment is never over prescribed, and that you always have their best interests at heart in all that you do.
Health topics related to dentistry are everywhere today. The systemic connections between oral health and whole body health are fascinating and relevant to your fans. Demonstrating that you’re progressive and passionate about this subject, participating in the best continuing education available, and staying up-to-date on the latest in genetic research, etc., builds your practice’s clout. Public interest in this kind of content has never been higher. YOU have the opportunity to bring context to that content.
Appearance related content helps reinforce that the things you do each day in your practice really matter. Sharing topics about confidence, restored smiles, and the personal and professional benefits of a gorgeous smile not only catch the attention of patients and prospective patients, but also contribute to great vibes among team members in your practice.
Curate content that supports these three topics.
Curation Supports Case Acceptance
Most dental practices suffer million-dollar-file-cabinet syndrome to one degree or another. You know what I mean. All of those treatment recommendations you’ve made that never move to fruition. Today, by harnessing the power of the content trifecta I described above, you can use the world’s best content to support your recommendations!
Curation Helps Grow Your Practice
Providing context serves your practice growth objectives too. You don’t need permission from anyone to assume this position of thought leadership. What you deem important enough to share and talk about will be accepted by those who already respect you—and they will share those things with their highly scalable, permission-based social networks. Elevating your profile in your community by sharing great content increases top-of-mind awareness for your practice.
“How Do I Curate Content?”
A word of caution… Don’t mistakenly think that curating content always substitutes for creating content. It doesn’t. It supports it by giving you more options, more often. Give credit where credit is due. There’s no need to always reinvent the wheel. Become the trusted filter your fans and patients want and appreciate. It’s a huge service.
The best way to start is by doing two things:
First, be sure you’re subscribing to great content yourself. This doesn’t need to be overwhelming! This isn’t another task that takes a lot of time. In fact, during our beta testing, many of our clients said that it was something they enjoyed doing between the things they’re already doing anyway—e.g. waiting for a child’s Saturday morning soccer game to begin… Sitting in church during a boring sermon (haha)… Standing in line at the DMV, etc. There are many great apps for your smartphone that can help you fill your own content bucket.
Second, find one simple distribution tool and use it consistently. The first tool that I started using is called Buffer. Buffer allows you to easily comment on an article, then schedule and share it in a number of places on your social media platform. It’s fast and simple. Once you start to get a feel for how curation works, you’ll experiment with other tools until you find the right one(s) to fit your needs.
Here are two helpful overviews for two great tools—Pearltrees and Buffer.
Examples From The Image Above
In this post, you saw this image we created. If you’re wondering what types of content you might curate, here are the 5 examples we used:
1. The Unexpected Way Running Affects Your Teeth
2. Dental Implants vs. Fixed Dental Bridges
3. How Important Is Your Smile?
4. What Singles Want: Survey Looks at Attraction, Turnoffs
5. Oral Health and Pregnancy
My Social Practice Helps Dental Practices Curate Content
Just as a little sneak preview… We’ve been helping our valued clients curate content for a long time through our Daily Kickstart program. Now, we’re taking content curation support to the next level through the development of a product that better helps our dental and orthodontic practice clients more easily become awesome content curators. Stay tuned…
Do you already curate content for your patients and fans? If so, what have I missed? What’s working well for you? Please share in the comments section below!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” My promise to you is that if you make the effort to consistently curate relevant, interesting content, you’ll realize great rewards—both personally and professionally.