These days, it’s hard to find an article about marketing best practices without social media being at the top of the list. However, simply creating social media accounts for your orthodontic practice is not enough. Social media is a two-way street: your followers will only engage with you as much as you engage with them. And a meaningful interaction on Facebook could make the difference between simply having one more Facebook follower and having a new patient at your practice. Here are some tips for effectively interacting with your practice’s Facebook followers, in addition to some advice on what not to do.
Know Your Voice
If you haven’t already developed a unique voice for your practice, now is your opportunity. One way to do this is to think about your orthodontic practice as a character in a book and then post in the voice of that character. What values does your staff seek to exemplify every day? Is it respect, goofiness, honesty, diversity, etc.? Show your personality on Facebook.
Know Your Audience
Being aware of who your audience is just as important as knowing your practice’s voice. In December 2019, 71% of U.S. adults used Facebook. According to findings from a Pew Research Center survey, more women than men use Facebook (75% of women in the United States are on Facebook). What does this mean for you and your practice? It’s likely that the moms in your community make up the majority of your Facebook audience.
They are probably used to reading their fair share of sad and sobering headlines every day (in addition to seeing pictures of their best friend’s two-year-old hugging their new Labradoodle puppy). No matter what voice you choose, it’s best to keep the tone of your Facebook posts light and entertaining. Even if you believe it’s important for as many people as possible to know about the risks of mail-order teeth aligners, be sure to present this information in an engaging and entertaining way.
Personalize Your Page
This is similar advice to knowing your voice. Personalizing your page is an easy way to share who you are and what you value. Posting photos, videos, and stories about your staff is one way to demonstrate you don’t just talk about your values, you actually live them out.
If diversity is important to you, you could start sharing stories about the cultural backgrounds of your staff. If humor is one of your values, you could share funny photos of your staff or record a video of them telling a humorous story or their favorite joke.
Share Links to Your Blog
You’ve worked hard to create educational, well-researched blog posts for your website to establish your expertise in the field of orthodontics. You should definitely leverage your Facebook page in order to increase the readership of your blog. Intersperse original content for social media with articles that you’ve posted on your blog.
Respond to Comments Quickly
This is a critical component of approaching social media as a two-way street. If your Facebook followers start to feel like there isn’t a warm body on the other side and they are shouting into the void, they won’t have as much of an incentive to keep reaching out. It doesn’t matter if the comments are positive or negative, you should always respond to them. And a best practice for knowing how quickly you should respond to comments or messages is to think about them as emails or voicemails. Would you go an entire week without responding to a voicemail from a patient?
Asking a question is one of the easiest ways to encourage your followers to interact with your page. However, you shouldn’t feel limited by asking questions related to braces and orthodontics. Perhaps there is a big football game coming up between two rival high schools in your community. Ask your followers who they predict is going to win! Not only will this post get some likes and comments, but it will also show your followers that you care about your community.
What Not to Do
It’s best to avoid promotional posts. Your followers will stop interacting with your content if they all read like advertisements. However, if your content is clever and informative, you can build genuine interest in your practice.
In addition, it’s been shown that posts with pictures and videos perform better than posts with only text. It’s best to avoid posts with several paragraphs of writing. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid text in your posts altogether. Rather, consider how you can incorporate an image or a graphic into the post as well. A website like Canva.com offers a free tool for creating simple graphics and is very user-friendly.
At the end of the day, it’s best to have fun on social media. It’s a genuine way to interact with your patients and prospects and create a community around your orthodontic practice.