Social media has grown way beyond anyone’s predictions. With tons of content being generated each and every moment, you might find it way too overwhelming or silly to try to put your dental practice on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a jungle out there! But don’t worry, here are five simple ideas to get you started.
Businesses have a love-it or hate-it relationship with social media. Some business owners will say, “Well, social media is just a toy. It’s just for entertainment.” Then you have the other side of the fence that says, “It’s a tool. This is definitely what we should use.” Both of those sides can be really rigid about their opinion.
But I propose to you that the best approach is somewhere in between. It’s a tool and it’s used for entertainment. It can be used to convey important information about your practice.
- Provide valuable information to your patients.
Social media is not just about making funny, interesting videos to turn people’s heads and get them to look at your channel. It’s also about providing value and how that value pertains to your cosmetic dentistry practice. One of the ways you can provide that value is to put out messaging that is helpful, or valuable, for your customer.
Since the holidays are approaching, we can use the example of out-of-office messages. Those out-of-the-office messages are hugely important for your practice. If you’re gonna be away for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, your office or your practice is going to be closed. Update that on your website, update it on Google, and update it on Yelp. Your social media presence is a place to connect with your patients. They want information, so the worst thing that you can do is not provide enough information. If your practice closes for Christmas or New Year’s, update that information on those platforms. In addition, post it on your social media platforms. On Facebook, you can put a message on your page and say “We’re closed this week!” and pin it to the top. This is just one example of using your social media platform as a place for people to go when they have questions about your practice. Your patients will love you for it. Patients love predictable!
- Provide updates.
Another way to preempt the questions your patients might have is to update your office hours. As we near the end of the year, there’s so much festiveness, but there’s also a lot of hassle, with everybody trying to crunch and cram in all the stuff they put off all year. A lot of practices have special hours for their business. If you are gonna be open later because you know that people really want to see you, but they can’t make it during the daytime, or if you are going to be open on the weekends, update that! Post a note on social media and say, “Hey, we have special holiday hours!” Patients will then know that they can count on your practice to be there for them when they need it on their schedule, which helps build trust, too. If you have holiday hours, but never update their platforms with them, nobody knows. You’d be treating it like a big surprise, so only those in the know will be able to use the “special hours.” That’s crazy! The more people know about these kinds of updates, the better.
Part of the reason these updates are important around this time of year is this is the time when insurance benefits start to reset. As we near the new year, some people may have benefits that are unused. That’s an incentive to prioritize getting over to your practice, and they may have some free time this time of year to utilize your practice. Being upfront about your hours is the best way to meet potential patients where they are at.
- In case of emergency
Another thing that is super important to communicate on social media for your patients is storm closures. As the seasons change, you get weird times of year in terms of weather, and it could be raining in some places, snowing in others, and sunny in others. You might have weather emergencies like flash floods or sudden ice and snow. But no matter what the weather, using your social media in these situations boils down to eliminating the uncertainty that might create. Patients may not know if your practice is open or if it’s closed. If it’s excessively icy outside, should they show up or should they not show up? This is a great opportunity for you to take the lead and be proactive. Put those notices on social media. You can say it yourself in a video format, or you can post it as a banner, but you want to put out some information saying, “Hey, we’re here for you. If you’re able to make it in, great. If you’re not able to make it in, that’s fine too. We will reschedule you.” Make it easy for them to find out that information. Calling closed businesses and chasing down information is a huge time-waster, and your patients hate wasting time! If a patient has to dig around for information, that makes you look unprofessional, and it will look bad for your practice. Next time they book a dental appointment, they may go to a different practice because it was too much of a headache last time.
If you do have a voice system that you have control over, create an out-of-office message saying the same things. “We’re open, but we can reschedule if you need to reschedule” or “Due to the weather, we’ve closed for the day. We’ll reach out to reschedule your appointment soon.” That way, when people call, they’re not just dropping a message in the black hole of the voicemail queue and hoping that someone is going to call them back, or worse: just assuming that your office is closed. In reality, maybe your receptionist just couldn’t get to the phone fast enough. But if you have updated voice messages, it eliminates the ambiguity.
- Show the people behind the dental tools
The last point I would like to cover is updating your presence with the festiveness of that time of year. Not just the website, but all of your social platforms. I guess technically all your social platforms are websites, but you know what I mean. It’s useful to first have a “job description” for your marketing, specifically for your website and social media, outlining what you want your website and social media to do. Humanizing your digital property in this way allows it to communicate what you need to communicate on each platform. Humanizing your digital presence might look like updating your website around the holidays to show some images that are relevant to your core demographic: maybe a family sitting around the table, some people playing pickup football, maybe some friends getting back together or coming back home. Put those images at the forefront and highlight that across all your social platforms. Small things like updating your banner image on Facebook or updating some pictures on Yelp or on your website can generate a lot of interest, and these updates go into showing goodwill and good faith. That can really enhance your practice because everyone loves the holidays! Those images start to pull on people’s heartstrings. If it resonates enough, they may share it, like it, or comment on it, which can help your practice reach a wider audience.
Those are some great things that you can do to humanize your practice. If you’re interested in learning more about how to grow your cosmetic dental practice, we’d love to help you. We are on a mission to help 500 cosmetic dental practices double their revenue by 2026, and we want yours to be one of them. Now that you know how social media visibility can help you find your next patient, would you be interested in a free consultation for your dental practice?