Social Media and Your Orthodontic Practice: Getting Started

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. YouTube. LinkedIn. Tumblr. Snapchat. These days, it can be hard to keep up with what new and popular social media channels are out there. When it comes to knowing how to navigate them from a business perspective for your orthodontic practice, it can get even more confusing! How do you really know where you should start with social media to help build your patient base as an orthodontist? Here are some tips to help:

Creating vs. Utilizing:  Understand the Difference

So your practice has signed up for a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn account. Great! Now what? Simply having these social accounts is a good place to start, but if you don’t know how to utilize them effectively as a business, they could end up making you look outdated and irrelevant as a business. As you start developing your social media plan as a practice, make sure doctors and staff members are on the same page about the importance of (and the resources required for) keeping these accounts active and updated, not just simply letting them exist. That leads to our next point:

Only Choose Social Media Accounts You Can Really Commit To

With the number of social media options available online, it can seem like the best option to sign up for an account on several of them just to show that your practice is up to date with the widgets you include on your website.  But can you effectively manage all of those accounts and keep them updated regularly? The reality is that most orthodontic practices have more elements in their marketing mix than just social media that demand time and attention. From a business perspective, it reflects much better on your reputation to choose one or two social media channels and manage them excellently, rather than be spread too thin with several channels and manage them poorly.

Know What You’re Using Each Social Channel For

Before you jump into a new social media channel, you need to have a basic plan of what you’ll be using it for based on what the general population uses it for. You also need to ask yourself, “Will people really care about the content I can share on this channel?”

Social Media and Your Orthodontic Practice Getting Started - December

Let’s look at a few different social media options, how they are generally used, and how they relate to your orthodontic practice.

Facebook – If you only choose one social media channel to focus on, Facebook will probably be the most effective for your orthodontic practice. It’s a platform where you can create informal two-way communication with patients as you share content like photos, links to informative posts, practice news, and updates. It’s also a place where patients can respond with comments and leave star reviews of your business. To be considered active on Facebook, you should plan on posting at least 2-3 times per week.

Twitter – Compared to Facebook, Twitter is more about disseminating information rather than two-way communication.  A lot of people like using Twitter to follow real-time events, news coverage, and hashtag searches. Active Twitter accounts update several times weekly, if not daily, and posts need to be short, catchy, and under 140 characters.

Instagram – If you choose to use Instagram to market your orthodontic practice, it’s important that your entire team is committed to posting things that are really visually appealing. Instagram can be a fun way to showcase before and after pictures of your patients, or even hosting giveaways or Instagram-specific contents to help build your number of followers.

YouTube – Utilizing YouTube can be a great way to show a different side of your practice through video, and can also help create more visibility for your practice name in Google searches. If you choose to open a YouTube account, however, it’s important that your videos are original (don’t just post stock videos) and provide some sort of value to the viewer, whether that’s entertainment or information.

While it would take dozens of blog posts to cover all the ins and outs of social media usage for your orthodontic practice, we hope this gives you a good place to start! If you haven’t invested much time or effort into your social media yet, or if your social media marketing efforts have slowed down recently, try focusing your efforts just on one account to begin with and expand to others as your followers grow.

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