By Naren Arulrajah with Vikas Vij
The power and reach of social media has grown exponentially over the years. For most businesses and professionals, it has become hard to ignore the marketing potential that social media offers. For a dental practice, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+ provide a powerful opportunity to reach out to potential patients in a more personalized manner and engage meaningfully. With very little investment of time and effort, it is possible to communicate and interact with a focused and interested target audience through social networking.
With more than a billion active users worldwide, Facebook continues to dominate the social media space. It offers interesting features such as Graph Search, which will enable a user to search for a local dentist through Facebook. It makes good sense to create a unique Facebook business page for your practice, and disseminate useful content, including images, videos and graphics, targeted at local patients. The page can be promoted through your dental website, blog, and email to build a significant membership that will multiply over time, depending on the quality of your content and social engagement levels.
Many users prefer Twitter because of the sharp and concise nature of its messages. You can create a Twitter account, and provide interesting nuggets of information about your practice, new procedures and techniques, newly emerging technologies in dentistry, latest updates, developments and events in the field, and interesting links related to dentistry. When your followers re- tweet your postings through their respective networks, it will widen your social exposure and eventually support the growth of your practice.
LinkedIn provides an opportunity to enhance your personal branding as a dentist. More than 300 million professionals around the world are using LinkedIn to give a boost to their online reputation, and engage with peers, customers and social influencers through the network. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your achievements as a dentist, and encourages your network members to endorse your profile. Active LinkedIn users can expect to rank high in Google search engine results because of the heavy weight that Google attaches to effective and popular LinkedIn profiles in its search results for professionals.
Pinterest has emerged as one of the highly successful social media platforms over a relatively short period of time. It capitalizes on the power of images to attract audiences. As a dentist, you might be able to use the network effectively by presenting a variety of before and after photos of your patients with their consent. Other images related to your practice will also provide a strong visual impact, which is more difficult to achieve with plain text. The images have a potential to be re-pinned by visitors and network members on their respective pin boards, which dramatically increases the possibility of exposure for your practice.
Effective Social Engagement
Effective social engagement that can produce real results for your dental practice begins by gaining an insightful understanding about your target audience over time. Take a keen interest in their queries, comments, opinions and conversations to learn more about them. That will help you to create more well-defined messages that would appeal to the target audience. For an effective leveraging of social media, you should preferably use multiple social networks. If you do that, it becomes important to achieve proper coordination and cohesion between various networks in order to gain a better marketing impact.
Optimize your multiple social channels with your detailed professional profile, use of localized keywords, and creating synergy between networks by sharing images, videos and links. Your dental website or blog can become the conduit for all social networks to establish a consistent brand voice and social personality for your practice. Social media engagement is an ongoing process, and results will appear over time. Consistency of purpose and commitment to the idea of social networking must be maintained over the long term. Your practice stands to gain remarkably if you can build a cohesive social media strategy with a passion to engage and socialize with your existing and potential patients.
About the Author:
Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company which focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education and the online reputations of Dentists.
With a team of 130+ full time marketers, www.ekwa.com helps doctors who know where they want to go, get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call Naren direct at 877-249-9666.