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Warning! Never Confuse Dentist Social Media Ideas With Advertising

By November 8, 2012November 30th, 2021No Comments

dental social media

Warning! Never Confuse Dentist Social Media Ideas With Advertising

ALTHOUGH I’VE NEVER BEEN TO DENTAL SCHOOL, I understand from hundreds of visits with dentists that there aren’t a whole lot of dental marketing classes taught there. That’s OK. There aren’t a whole lot of dentistry classes taught to marketing majors either.

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It’s fine to confess that you don’t understand the distinction between social media marketing and social media advertising. It took us a long time (years) to really understand the difference. This type of marketing is relatively new.

A simple way to understand this is, dental social media marketing is the term for any form of social media activity that your not paying any money to do. A practice post on your Facebook page that highlights your new dental website would be a marketing tactic.

When it comes to advertising, any activity on social media that you pay for would be considered an advertising activity. You pay for social media advertising in a variety of forms, including boosted posts, full-fledged advertisements, like campaigns.

The distinction between the two is confusing to say the least. Especially since the two words are used interchangeably. But, there is a big difference between advertising and marketing and the type of dentist social media ideas that are created.

Now, there are some caveats to this distinction, so don’t raise your hand too quickly. We’re going to get into more about how to differentiate. But, this is a helpful distinction.

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Marketing can include some advertising but you have to be careful. Here’s a slide with a definition we’ve used when teaching dentists around the country about dental marketing services:

social media marketing for dentists

The Circles Of Marketing

Thanks to Seth Godin, the modern marketing genius, for wire-framing the beginnings of this concept. I learn tons from him and I try to distill some of those things specifically for our dental practice clients. Grasping the strategy and tactics behind effective dental social media marketing requires differentiating between the activities that surround advertising (white circle) and marketing (blue circles):

dental social media

The outer circle includes all those non-participatory activities that aren’t marketing—they’re advertising. What do I mean by saying non-participatory? Rather than creating content that is engaging, which inherently gets pushed out to more people online, you’re spending dollars to push the content out.

The basic idea is that if your content is really helpful then people share it. On the other hand if your dental office social media ideas are selling a service then people typically don’t share that content online and you need to spend money to get the advertisement in front of the potential patient.

The next circle in is the first marketing circle (shaded in blue). Tribe building, stories that spread and creating connections represent the foundational goals of your dental social media post campaign. This circle introduces the human, honest, transparent component of your marketing.

The next circle, “The Experience Being Your Patient” is often not thought of as part of your marketing. This circle represents all of the things in your practice that surround the dentistry you perform. The way in which your phone is answered, the CE you attend, the way your team makes patients feel, the unique qualities of your practice culture, the way your version of dentistry is “packaged”. In short, the things that can literally change people’s perceptions of the dentistry you perform.

Finally, the inner circle represents your “product” and service, dentistry. When your dentistry is remarkable (that is, worthy of a remark) marketing for dentists becomes much easier because the marketing naturally springs from the very core of your business.

Here’s the kicker… In Seth Godin’s words, “When in doubt, when your marketing isn’t working, the answer is easy: go one circle in.”

Dentist Social Media Ideas: Action Item

Time for some thoughtful self examination. Does your practice rely on the outer circle? Is that your primary strategy for building your practice? If so, it’s time to make a BIG change.

This weekend, turn off the television, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and reread this post. Study and contemplate the Circles of Marketing graphic and evaluate the current status of your dentist social media ideas related to each one of the circles.

If your first blue circle, “Tribe Building, Stories That Spread, and Connections”, is weak, start there. The easiest, fastest, and most effective way to begin is to become one of our clients (sorry for the pitch… I don’t often do that). If you’re a complete do it yourself-er, read my post about dental social media platforms which has suggestions for getting things set up and started on your own.

Dentist social media ideas for strengthening the two innermost circles are beyond the scope of this post. However, you likely know what they are if you thoughtfully and honestly think about it for a little while. Where can your product and service improve? How can you make patients feel more valued?

Solicit the help of awesome professionals like Gary Takacs and Kristie Nation to put the management and clinical components in place for creating a more thriving practice.

You can do this. We can help.

This post is part of a the series 26 Dental Social Media Marketing Truths.

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About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental marketing expert and a key member of the dental social media team at My Social Practice. My Social Practice is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Adrian is passionate about helping dental practices grow using dentist social media ideas. Interested in learning more about the benefits of social media for dentists please schedule a complimentary consultation. And, don’t forget to read our Google My Business reviews.