The way your patients and potential patients connect with businesses online continues to evolve, and your dental marketing strategy needs to evolve with it. Here are a few trends you should keep in mind while building your dental practice’s online presence!
If you’re keeping an eye on the latest studies on how people are using social media, you’ll see that it’s changing at a breakneck pace, but everything is always changing in one direction—from complex to simple, from minutes to seconds, from planned and polished content to spontaneous and authentic interaction.
Are you taking advantage of these trends in your dental marketing efforts? New social media tools offer simple ways to promote your practice that spark engagement, build trust, and invite potential patients to become a part of your practice family.
Here’s a quick rundown of some current social media trends that are continuing to gain momentum, and how you can utilize them in simple ways to grow your dental practice:
Live Video in Dental Marketing
The ability to broadcast live video has been around for a few years, but now with virtually every major social platform featuring live video tools, it can become a powerful part of your dental marketing, especially on Facebook and Instagram.
Live video is highly interactive, and many patients and fans that might not leave a comment on your regular posts will find it easier to send a message on a live video. This interaction will give your other posts a higher chance of being seen by patients and fans.
As we here at My Social Practice track the progress of our clients’ dental marketing efforts on Facebook, we’ve found that it’s not unusual for live video posts to get up to ten times the amount of Likes and shares as normal image and text posts. Video content is simply more interesting, and helps patients and prospective patients connect with your team personally.
Livestreaming takes the stress and complication out of creating video content. When people tune into a livestream, they don’t expect anything to be scripted or edited, they just want to see what’s going on and maybe say hello in the chat! It’s a great way to give your fans a behind-the-scenes look at your practice and help them connect with your team on a personal level.
“Storified” Social Media Content
Instagram and Facebook stories present some unique dental marketing opportunities for social media growth. They are essentially slideshows of photos and 10-second videos that grow as you add to them throughout the day—much like Snapchat stories.
Stories from people and brands you follow appear at the top of your feed, making it easy to quickly see what your friends are up to. Here’s the difference: stories are separated from your regular Instagram feed, and disappear after 24 hours. You might ask yourself then, “Why should I put effort into creating social media content that’s just going to be deleted in a day?”
The format of Instagram Stories, including the 24-hour limitation, can actually help you create more engaging content. Here are a few reasons why:
- Be more spontaneous. Got an idea for a post but not sure if it will work? An Instagram story is a perfect way to experiment. If it’s a hit with fans, you can continue adding to the story, and if not, it won’t stick around long.
- Take fans along for the ride. Instagram Stories offer a unique way to make day-to-day events interesting. Running practice errands or unboxing a new piece of equipment? Share an interesting snapshot from each step of the process, resulting in an easy-to-follow montage of moments.
- Never worry about over-posting. Because stories are completely separated from regular Instagram feeds, you can post as much as you want to a story and never annoy your followers or clog their feeds.
- Less polished = more authentic. Traditionally, Instagram has been seen as where people share their best, most-composed photography. Not so with Instagram Stories. In the context of a story, a less-curated, more fun look at your practice is a better approach—and requires less effort on your part!
With its skyrocketing popularity, the stories format is likely to become the primary way users interact with social media platforms, replacing the role of the News Feed. Smartphones and shorter attention spans will continue to fuel the prominence of short-lived content in 2019, especially with younger generations.
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Paid Facebook Advertising
There’s no getting around it: Facebook is now a pay-to-play platform. But when you’ve got great content and know the basics of boosting posts, you’ll find it’s an incredible value for your dental marketing dollar.
If you’ve been tracking the reach of your practice’s Facebook posts over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a decline in how many people are seeing them. Don’t worry, It’s not because you’re any less interesting! It’s a result of Facebook (and all other major social media platforms) using algorithms to sort content and show users what it thinks is most relevant to them.
What does this mean for your practice? As Facebook news feeds become more crowded with content, it will be more difficult to reach your desired audience with your posts — even fans who follow your page. Small, strategic investments in boosting posts will dramatically increase your posts’ reach, helping you maintain top-of-mind awareness with fans and expand your audience to those most likely to become new patients.
We recommend you start by spending $5 promoting posts a couple of times each week. Increase your budget from there. Don’t stop and don’t give up. On the other end of the budget spectrum, we had a client spend $5,000 in one month boosting posts that promoted an Invisalign campaign they were running. Facebook boosting resulted in nearly 100 in-practice consultations that produced over $250,000.
Even if your Facebook page is starting with just a few Likes, boosting is one of the best dental marketing tools available to grow your practice’s social media presence and reach the people most likely to become new patients. When paired with great content, boosting can connect you with more people in more meaningful ways for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Transparency in Dental Marketing
As patients and fans come to recognize your practice’s social media presence as a dependable way to get useful information, have some fun, and connect with your team personally, you’ll see returns in the form of better patient relationships, greater case acceptance, and more referrals.
We all know it isn’t easy doing the right things day to day. We get tired, right? So whether we’re talking about regular exercise, sound eating habits, great oral hygiene (or in this case, consistent dental social media marketing activity) success often hinges on consistency.
First off, what do we mean by “consistency” on social media? Primarily, it’s making a daily attempt to connect authentically with your audience by posting high-quality content regularly and responding to their interaction.
There’s a degree of transference that takes place in patients’ minds with practices that are consistent with their dental social media efforts. The assumption is that if you’re consistent and reliable in providing relevant, educational, honest, human content through your social media platform, then you also likely provide the same consistency and leading-edge standards in everything you do — including the dental materials and procedures you use, the patient benefit-driven technologies you ascribe to, the way you respond and treat people, the CE you attend, etc.
It’s this type of positive top-of-mind awareness that leads patients to introduce your practice to family and friends who trust their recommendations.