For such a new phenomenon, it is sometimes surprising to see how quickly social media has exploded in popularity. Almost everyone has at least one account on a social network, with many having two or three. This makes it an excellent tool for all sorts of marketing, and something your dental practice should take note of!
Social media connects people from around the world and from all different walks of life, so it is great for external marketing. Content shared from one person to another can reach an extremely wide audience, exposing your practice to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of potential patients.
However, in order for this to work you have to produce something that people will want to share with their friends and family. Well-run social media campaigns are great at giving people a reason to pass information on, usually through posting things that are engaging, interesting or humorous.
You probably already have a social media presence of some kind, but running a full campaign is a different story. It is not always easy to create something on social media that will engage your patients and encourage them to spread the word about your practice, and trying to do so can take a lot of time that you might not have.
Here are some suggestions for creating a social media campaign that will add something new to your practice’s external marketing:
This is one of the more common social media tactics, but only because it is so effective. Competitions are a well-tested external marketing idea that is almost guaranteed to expose your brand to more people than usual. Often, they cause more people to follow you over social media as well.
The concept is simple: first, find something attractive to giveaway. This should be themed towards what you provide as a practice, so a free tooth whitening would work, for example. Create a post with an image describing the competition, then upload it to your social media network. To enter the competition, people have to like, share or follow your page; or even all three!
This ensures the post will reach a wide audience, as each time someone hits ‘share’ it has the potential to reach hundreds of new people. Some of them will continue to follow your page, giving your future posts greater impact.
You can’t just post competitions all the time, of course. Most of your content has to be simple, engaging posts. But what exactly will engage people on social media? This is a difficult question to answer, but there are a few tactics you can try.
You should always look for something that people will find interesting and want to share with their friends. Sometimes this means posting something you think will get a laugh, while other times it means sharing something interesting that people won’t have heard of before. Useful content is a good idea as well, such as oral hygiene ‘lifehacks’.
One of the most engaging forms of content is video. You will probably have noticed that people will be much more inclined to watch something than to read it. It requires much less mental engagement to watch something, making it seem like less of a chore if a friend shares the content with you.
It is also easier to convey messages through a video. There is so much about communication that simply cannot be conveyed through text alone; things like body language and intonation can’t be used, for example. This makes videos immediately more engaging. You can also use colour and visual aids to make them more enticing for potential viewers.
In many ways, video is also the future of online marketing. It might not seem like a good investment now, but it is growing rapidly and by the time you come around it might be too late! If all your competitors have already started producing their own videos it will lessen the impact of yours, so try not to get left behind.