There is no way you can be successful with social media marketing if your dental clinic isn’t social.
I simply say this because far too many dentists often forget this concept.
Thus with this in mind let’s take a closer look at how best to be social online for the good of your clinic and patients.
Comparing The Offline World To The Online One
The key to any type of successful social or business relationship is communication and it’s no different online.
In fact, I’m all for social media being renamed as conversational media. Thus instead of calling it dental social media marketing, we call it dental conversational media marketing.
This is because unfortunately many don’t quite seem to understand the essence of being social on the internet and thus this name change may just give them a clue as to how they should behave On Facebook and Twitter.
They seem to believe social media marketing should be a one-way dialogue and far from a conversation.
The cosmetic dental clinic that continually bombards their Facebook Fan Page or Twitter stream with promotional messages is effectively shouting at their fans and followers. There is clearly no effort being made to first listen and secondly engage.
It’s hardly a conversation!
It’s only a matter of time before their audience will turn off and go elsewhere. It’s far better to build your clinic brand and social connections online by having conversations and showing an active and genuine interest in others.
The fact is, simply because it’s your Fan Page doesn’t give you the right to send rapid-fire sales messages all week long.
Social Media Keeps Your Dental Clinic Name Front Of Mind!
Social media allows you to easily make connections in your community. It’s far easier to do this than if you had to make them in person. Over time you can build rapport online and strengthen them to the point that it becomes a no-brainer for your fans to look to you the next time they are in pain.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up the technicalities of marketing online with social media and forget the all-important point that human psychology hasn’t changed over the years, people still buy people. This simple lesson has stood the test of time and will never change. History proves this time and time again.
By offering value and being human you will trump all the other dentists in your neighbourhood, in terms of staying in front of mind. Your story will be remembered over the practitioner who regularly blares out his next offer, with no consideration for those that have chosen to listen to him.
Social Media Is Just One Cog In Your Marketing Wheel
Let’s not get carried away with social media! It should be part of your marketing mix but not the overriding main component that dominates everything.
History has also shown that in the main one technological invention doesn’t replace another.
We still have the fax machine and whilst many predicted a paperless office, it’s safe to say you and I will be using paper for a long time to come.
If you consider all of these tools, namely the telephone, radio, television, and the internet – not one has replaced the other as the definite way to advertise your business. Rather they give us additional ways to market.
Thus it’s advisable to not put all your eggs in one basket and depend totally on social media.
Key Question: Is Your Social Media Marketing Pushing Or Pulling?
So whilst the internet hasn’t replaced other methods of advertising it has been responsible for the major shift from push to pull marketing.
Let’s look at the big picture for one moment.
When you paste your message across a billboard or run a 30-second ad on a local radio you are essentially pushing your message out into your neighbourhood. This was at the heart of marketing for many decades and as a business, you were in complete control. You did all of the talking, the customer had no way of replying.
Fast forward to today and this is totally different. Social media allows your patients to actively to engage in conversation.
Furthermore much like when you meet someone for the first time at a party or business networking event, it’s best to be the one who does more listening than talking. No one likes to get trapped into a corner with the social bore, as she or he hijacks the whole conversation with their own stories.
In short, if you weren’t listening before, you need to now, if you want social media to enhance your business.
Make Sure Your Dental Clinic Is In The Listening Game
Social media has changed the way we communicate online.
Smart dental clinic owners are aware of this and understand that instead of shouting they are now in the game of listening.
Your best dental marketing will occur when you give your prospects and patients the opportunity to pull information from you. Allow them to use all the social tools to reply, engage and give their opinion.
Critically these replies will be in the public domain and shared by others.
Don’t worry there will always be time to start your own conversations, but the secret to success in social media is in entering into existing conversations as much as possible. Thus you should be continually listening to your community and working out where you can had value by responding to a discussion already taking place online.
There’s so much opportunity online for dentists to create real relationships within their community. Social media allows you to reach out to people when they are having their own conversation and if appropriate give your own opinion.
There are a number of reasons why nobody likes to be cold called, but one important one relates to the fact that the person you are calling is simply not talking about the topic you want them to focus on at the time you make the call.
Now imagine cold calling when they are having the exact conversation you would like to start with them.
See the difference!
Of course, there is no way that this can really consistently happen offline, but online we have the tools to do exactly this.
Thus when you enter the conversation, it’s on their terms. They are open to your comments. It is on their terms and not on yours. You are seen as the friendly advisor rather than the pushy salesman.
Winning by Caring
Ultimately though the way forward in truly becoming a social company offline and online is by caring. Caring has and will always be key to success. When you take the time to listen, you are truly showing you care.
Too many osteopaths believe success simply equates to how many fans they have on Facebook or how many followers they have on Twitter.
Collecting fans, followers and subscribers is a fallacy.
Consider the action of following someone, it doesn’t take much, tapping a link is hardly a friendship. It can be considered a connection, but anything more and you will have to work at the relationship. Imagine the scenario of hosting a cocktail party, but then having invited everyone you decide not to talk to anyone at the party.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t contemplate doing it, would you?
The natural inclination would be to talk to as many people as possible because surely that is why you invited them.
Sadly this is exactly what many businesses do online. They set up a Facebook Fan page, write a comment on it and then never reply to anyone that replies back. There is essentially no commitment to enter into any form of conversation.
Don’t be that person or business!
Learn to be the one who listens and cares, it makes absolute business sense and it’s the right thing to do.