Most people think that social media only provides retail businesses and those involved in B2B marketing with a way to build brand, reputation and authority for themselves and their companies. Professionals such as dentists tend to shy away from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus but that is actually a mistake as dental practices can indeed benefit from being socially active online.

All types of businesses including dental practices have competition. Staying one step ahead of your competitors is a never-ending battle as you need to attract new patient and keep them coming through your door. One thing dentists should know and keep in mind is that most of their patients today are using social networking sites daily which means your current patients are online as are your potential patients.

Here are a few ways social networking sites can help dentists promote their services to draw in more patients and retain the ones they already have.

Optimize Your Facebook Page so It Succeeds

If you’re planning on using Facebook to promote your dental practice, which you should by the way as it’s the largest social networking site, be sure to make your business hours, location and phone number accessible. Encourage your audience to interact on your page by commenting on their office visits and experience. Dental practices that succeed on Facebook share office events they’re sponsoring and encourage their followers to take part and share the events with their social networking friends. Be sure to encourage your followers to pose questions on your Facebook page. Post photos of your office, doctor(s) and staff so people see the human side of your practice and be sure to promptly respond to any questions asked as this helps build trust. A great way to gain new patients is to add an ‘Appointment Request’ form right on your Facebook page that makes it super convenient to schedule appointments with you.

Post Creative, Fun and Interesting Content

When interacting with people on social media, focus on providing helpful advice and communication. Just as offline relationships thrive when it’s a win-win situation, online relationships built via social networking work in the same way. You could post oral health tips, dental news, office and staff news, patient testimonials and helpful resources on your social network channels. It’s also a good idea to advertise any specials you may be offering. The key to being successful is to engage regularly as people today are becoming increasingly social online with businesses of all types including dental practices.

Make it a Team Effort

One way to ensure that you’re consistently providing fresh content is to get your team involved in your social networking campaign. This can include your front desk personnel, office manager, dental assistants and the doctors. The more people who post content on your social networking sites, the more powerful social presence you’ll have. The chances are that several members of your staff are very social-savvy so tap into that as it will help you build your brand and expand your reach online.

These are just a few ways dentists can get the most out of social media. Every dental professional from the small one-doctor practice to the largest dental clinic can benefit from being active on social networking channels. An increasing number of dentists are jumping on the social media bandwagon to attract new patients and to keep the ones they already have. It’s also becoming commonplace for the typical retiring dentist to use social media to sell a dental practice so the power of this marketing channel should never be underestimated.

Marissa Kunz is a digital marketing consultant. She also writes about social media strategy and B2B marketing.

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