PennWell Dental Community
You may have noticed that I’ve been talking a lot about social media lately. Last year, I released a new edition of Everything is Marketing that includes strategies for using social media in your marketing and I recently uploaded a new whitepaper on the subject on GoAskFred.com. It may seem like a lot of attention for one topic, but it’s for a very good reason: I believe social media is one of the most important marketing tools to emerge since the creation of the World Wide Web.
Social media lets you interact with your patients on a level never before possible through the Web. It allows you to informally educate them about dentistry while keeping them up to date on what’s happening in your practice. It enables you to build a collection of patient testimonials and foster networks of supporters and friends. All of these work to keep you in your patients’ minds and to build long-term loyalty. Plus, every new profile you set up on a social networking site can help your practice show up in a natural Web search, which means that in addition to helping with your internal marketing, social media can also be a great source of new patients.
Admittedly, using this medium to its full advantage takes time. There are thousands of social networks out there, and even if you only create profiles on the really popular ones (such as Facebook®, Twitter®, Yelp®, LinkedIn® and YouTube®), keeping them current and maintained isn’t easy, particularly for a busy dental
practice. But don’t let that deter you. I recommend having one or two staff members whose responsibilities include keeping all of your sites up to date, and that they post new content to your Facebook page or Twitter feed a few days a week. The key is doing it regularly. It really shouldn’t take very long to update your profiles if they’re checked consistently.
Decide on what messages you’re going to communicate each week beforehand, and make sure you set an appropriate tone for your posts early on and stay consistent about it. Are you a fun and quirky
practice? Or do you feel a more conservative, professional voice is the better way for you to go? One approach isn’t better than the other, but whichever tone you decide on should remain consistent with each new post.
I go into a much more detailed strategy on using social media in my book and in the whitepaper, so rather than repeating that information here, let me just say that in addition to being smart when it comes to using social networks, it’s also important that you’re quick. Facebook doubled its size from 100 million users to 200 million in less than eight months. Twitter is growing at a rate of 1,382% a year. That’s the very definition of the word “explosive.” We’re midway through 2010 and I still can’t write the year without smiling. We’re finally entering the future we used to read about as kids. And I’m telling you, the future of marketing, including dental marketing, is social media.