Have you ever wondered where your competitors get their cool graphics? How other practices might generate likes and shares? Well, it is all about finding the right content to show your practice in the best light possible. ot
Before we get too far, we need to clear up a misconception about DIY social media marketing. Many business owners believe doing all your social media marketing yourself is the least expensive option. In many cases, however, it can even be more expensive than hiring a digital marketing team! The reason? Many people waste money in the form of time and effort generating content that does not generate interest in your practice.
First, it is helpful to evaluate the cost of generating the content versus the value the content generates. If you take somebody out of their job and have them make social media videos, how much is that going to cost you in direct and indirect costs? The people making the content cannot see patients during that time, and you need multiple people to do it. Camera, narration, direction, and coming up with captions and ideas all take time and collaboration. In total cost, that could be hundreds or thousands depending on how much time you invest. It is a comparable cost to hire a social media team to make content that is relevant.
Once you have evaluated cost, the next step is understanding what your product is and is not. You might be tempted to use your social media presence to make funny videos. A lot of people go into their business social media accounts thinking, “Let me just make this funny video. I am going to get some engagement!” But that is the wrong approach. Not all engagement leads to someone making an appointment. When you are using it for your business, social media is not just for fun. It is for patient prequalification. Funny videos are not your product; your product is your product! Social media is a tool that you can use to prequalify your patients, to get them interested in your products and services. Many practice owners just put content out there willy-nilly, but this is a huge pitfall, and it costs them time and money. For a successful social media presence that bolsters your business, posts always lead back to your product.
Now that you know how to focus on your product, you might wonder what kind of hardware you need. DIY content involves a few upfront investments. You can invest in a cell phone, which is something that you might have on hand. It does not have to be top-of-the-line. You can get an offline cell phone, even secondhand from somewhere like Facebook or even Craigslist. Keep that at the office, connected to your social media accounts. It is best to have a password lock on it, because if it gets stolen, that person has access to your social media accounts! Yikes! Using a cell phone is convenient because when you want your team to take some pictures or make some quick videos, it is right there at your fingertips and your whole team probably already knows how to use it.
If you have a larger budget, I recommend investing in a professional-style camera. These can run you 250 to 500 bucks for a new or gently used one. It is a bit steep, but that is going to give you some really crisp photos. The camera can capture great photos, but it is still worth practicing to make sure you get great angles. That can be a bit of a challenge for some people, learning simply where to take the picture. Once you get some practice, you should be golden. Default settings on those cameras are often intuitive and clear.
Another possibility is to look for stock images on platforms like Envato, a library of stock photos and videos. You could also use a site like Canva, which has a photo library where you can create content, but it is also a great source of original, unique content if you know how to use it properly. Adobe and Shutterstock are other great platforms that you can use to create content. With a subscription, these give you a certain amount of images each month.
Unfortunately, free platforms are not a great option. Sometimes an image lands there that does not belong there because it belongs to someone and the rights are not open for use. When we are building our client sites, we do not use any free content. If you cannot prove where you got the content from, that can lead into a DMCA issue with the copyright holder. That stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects artists from having their work used without permission. Whatever content you get from other websites, make sure you use it in compliance with the licensing guidelines. For instance, just because you can use an image on your website does not mean that you can make a t-shirt and print those images if merchandise is not part of the license. Sometimes content is only licensed for web use. So if you have background music and you are using it on a web format, that is great. But if you take that same music and you use it in a TV commercial, that is a different platform which may have different rights, and you may end up in hot water.
When you use the content, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind. The first is: do not use the images in a way that is going to make the subject of the image look bad. The actors and models in the images are paid to look or act a certain way, but they are people outside of their job. For example, an actor in a commercial is playing a womanizer. He has been paid to act that way, and so has everyone else in the scene. They have a script that tells them what to say and a director to tell them how to say it. And at the end of the day, they have decided to put their face and voice to their characters. But in the visual media space, there are so many different images out there. Sometimes people take images just to take images. And those images are used in so many different platforms and contexts, you do not know where it is going to be used at the end of the day. It may end up on some weird platforms or out of context and different from what the original artists thought that it represented, which can lead to other issues and other challenges.
Besides making sure to show people in a positive light, the images you use are most effective if they represent your target demographic. If your practice is in a certain zip code and that zip code has a higher number of a demographic, use images that are relevant to that demographic. And if your practice moves to a different zip code and they have a different demographic, adapt your presence by using different images that represent them. Those demographics could be anything, from social to religious to socio-economic. Patients and customers respond best when practices and companies meet people where they are. Posting images that are not relevant will fail to connect with people. You might even upset some people! Either way, you will end up wasting money.
These are some tips for effective social media content. 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?