How do you get more social media followers for your dental practice?
In 2015, you will no doubt be aware that around 1 in 6 people across the globe is a Facebook user. You may also be aware that Twitter has 280 million active users, and Instagram has 300 million active users.
Therefore, it’s necessary for your dental practice to have some sort of presence on some of the most active social networks. We do also offer social media management for dentists, by the way. Using these social networks correctly will enable you to connect with existing clients whilst simultaneously attracting new ones.
Here is a list of the 10 most popular social networks in the USA:
Of that list, the most popular with a typical dental demographic are:
- Facebook – 1.3 billion global active monthly users. 72% of online adults visit Facebook at least once a month. In the US and Canada, 157 million adults are active on Facebook every day.
- Twitter – 52.2 million American users. A demographic of 18-44 year olds, with 16% of the American population viewing Tweets every month.
- Instagram – 300 million global active monthly users. 20% of online American adult females use Instagram and 15% of online American adult males use Instagram.
The other networks have different demographics, or are networks for specific niches. For example, LinkedIn is predominantly a network for professionals to connect. You may wish to explore networks such as Pinterest and LinkedIn more closely, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll look at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How to get your dental practice more likes on Facebook
Firstly, you need to create a Facebook page for your dental practice. This can be done by going to www.facebook.com/pages/create. As a dental practice, you’ll need to click on “Local Business or Place” and fill out your business name, address and phone number. These should be accurate as they will be listed publicly on your Facebook page.
You’ll then want to fill out details such as the “Category”, “About” and “Website” sections. Save the information and upload a profile photo. Company logos usually work well. Or, a photo of the dentist or dental staff.
Once you’ve created your page, go to www.facebook.com/username, go down to the box which says “Create your Facebook web address” and select your page. Enter your desired username, for example: www.facebook.com/mydentalpractice and check the availability.
If it is available, and your page is eligible to change its username, you can accept the changes. If it isn’t eligible for a username change, then it may be because you need to get to 25 likes before you can do anything.
Why would you want to change a username? A typical Facebook page without a username looks like this: www.facebook.com/page/your-page/034482201?ref=hl. With a username, it looks like this: facebook.com/yourpage. It allows you to create a more memorable web address to direct users to.
When you have your page set up, you’ll want to start attracting users. At this stage, I’d like to warn you that you should never try to buy Facebook page likes from any online services, as these are never real users and this type of practice could lead to you being banned from Facebook altogether.
There are many legal ways of building a Facebook presence, but the most reliable are often the most simple. Start by doing the following:
- Adding a Facebook link to any marketing material you send out
- Add a link to your Facebook page from your website’s home page
- Send out a personal Facebook message asking friends and family to like your new page
These three methods are often very effective in helping to kickstart your page. Once you’ve got 20-30 likes on your page, you need to start to add informative content designed to interact with current page followers and also designed to attract new clients.
The Facebook system is all based around interactions. If someone likes an article on your page, then a majority of that person’s Facebook friends are informed. This means that through one like, fifty people may be exposed to your content.
Posting up to three times per week is recommended. Any more than that and followers may get bored of your updates and stories. Limit yourself to only posting relevant stories and advice on your page. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of posting on your Facebook page:
- Post regularly – up to three times per week
- Post relevant content
- Post advice
- Post blog updates
- Post offers and discounts (if applicable)
- Interact with your users. If someone leaves a comment, reply!
- Post anything too personal. Keep your page a professional environment
- Post controversial content
- Post complaints, rants or anything you wouldn’t be happy saying in front of a client
- Ignore your users
- Post anything longer than 200 characters
Some excellent examples of content to write could be things such as new articles you’ve written, any upcoming media appearances, or pieces of advice. Keeping the tone light yet professional will help. Here are some post examples:
Example 1: A New Article
Do you really need to floss every day? Our very own Dr John has been exploring this: [link to article]
Example 2: A media appearance
Dr John has been featured in an article for the New York Times! Read it here [link]. Thanks to [article author] for coming to meet us.
Example 3: A piece of advice
Happy halloween! Kids: drink optimally fluoridated water today to help prevent tooth decay.
Facebook Advertising For Dentists
A couple of years ago, Facebook introduced their very own advertising platform, designed to help small business owners reach a highly targeted audience. Thanks to all of the information Facebook now has about its users, you can set up an advertising campaign to cost effectively promote your dental practice.
You can use Facebook advertising to either promote your Facebook page, or to encourage users to visit your website.
To start a Facebook advertising campaign, go to www.facebook.com/advertising and go to “Manage Your Adverts”. From there, click on “Create Campaign” and select one of the following options:
- Promote your Page
- Send people to your website
In this instance, we’ll click on Promote your Page. This will encourage people to like your page, which should convert them to customers down the line. The next step is to select your Facebook page and refine your options.
Facebook really allows you to refine your advertising profile like no other platform. Using the Facebook advertising interface, you’ll be able to define the following:
- Location (you can pinpoint certain towns and cities)
- Age (anywhere from 13 to 65+)
- Relationship status
- Filter by parents
You can also set a daily budget to ensure that you don’t overspend on Facebook advertising. You may wish to start with $10 per day to see how effective advertising is for your practice.
For those who don’t already use Twitter, it’s a platform which allows you to send out short messages of 140 characters or less. Twitter allows you to mention other users by including an “@” symbol. For example, to mention the singer Katy Perry in a tweet, you’d use “@katyperry”. Hashtags (#) are also used to let a wider network know about what you’re saying. If you are tweeting about flossing for example, you may use #flossing.
To sign up to Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/signup and fill in your name (this can be your dental practice name), email, password and desired username. As there are over 1 billion Twitter accounts registered, finding a username could be difficult. We had to go with @dentaldesignUSA because many other options were taken already.
Once you’ve signed up, go to twitter.com and sign into your new account. You can click on the “Edit Profile” button on your Twitter homepage to add a cover photo, a new profile photo and to add a biography and website.
Gaining Twitter followers can be more difficult than finding Facebook followers, but it can be done. You will need to be active on Twitter, posting relevant content 3-5 times per week, and interacting with anyone that may mention you in a Tweet.
Using Hashtags – as mentioned earlier – can be a good way to spread your Twitter messages to a wider audience, and can lead to people following you. However, only use hashtags that are appropriate to what you’re tweeting about. A link to an article on your website could naturally include the hashtag #dentist or #dental, but including #iphone in that same tweet would be largely pointless.
As of writing, Twitter doesn’t offer the same advertising options as Facebook, although there are plans to allow smaller businesses to advertise by promoting Tweets. I’ve been able to access Twitter’s advertising platform by going to http://ads.twitter.com, which you may be able to do too. Twitter is allowing access to some accounts at the moment, and not others.
If you do manage to access Twitter’s advertising platform, you’ll be able to advertise by promoting Tweets and content designed to help improve the amount of followers you have, or to improve clicks to your website. It’s an advertising platform that we shall be looking at closely in the coming weeks.
Instagram is a fairly new social network, but has been extremely popular. Since its first release in October 2010, the company has built up a large network of over 300 million users. It’s now owned by Facebook, who paid the Instagram owners $1billion in cash and stock in April 2012. Just 18 months after it was launched. That valuation is mainly due to the type of audience that Instagram attracts, and the fact that they’re easy for brands to target. A large proportion of teens and young adults in the US are regular users on Instagram. In fact, 83% of teenage girls from “wealthy households” are on Instagram.
To get an Instagram account, you’ll need a smartphone running Windows, iOS or Android. Go to your app store, search for Instagram and download the application. Once that’s completed, open the app and sign up with your desired username, email address and password. Adding a profile photo (preferably your company logo) should be done at this stage, too. Your Instagram profile’s biography and website URL will be filled in at a later date.
Getting followers on Instagram is all about interacting with other users. I came up with a theory a while ago that by liking and commenting on relevant photos, you could quickly build a following on Instagram. I opened a test account and started liking and commenting on images relating to a certain subject (you can use the search function to find specific hashtags, for example #dentists).
After doing this for around 20 minutes per day for a week, I gained a 375 followers. Of course, posting regularly (once every day or two) will also help to spread your brand on Instagram. Posting funny, engaging or informative images with captions works well. Within your captions, try to utilize hashtags. Many users regularly search through hashtags for new accounts to follow, so by adding hashtags you’ll be able to reach a wider audience.
This concludes our information on how to gain more followers for your dental practice. Remember, if you do need help with social media, we offer social media management services. To enquire about these services, fill in your details on our Get A Quote page.