When it comes to choosing an orthodontist, people don’t necessarily rely on credentials alone – they look to referrals from trusted sources. However, the majority of these referrals are shifting from word-of-mouth through personal contacts to online recommendations from social networks. An organization’s social media presence plays a large role in consumer decision-making. Because all orthodontic practices offer similar services, your social media engagement is what can make you stand out from the rest. The following four platforms are valuable tools in promoting your organization, building a brand culture, and expanding your network to attract prospective patients.
Facebook is an obvious necessity, due to it being the largest social media platform worldwide. With over 1.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook can exponentially grow your business if used correctly. It should serve as an extension of your organization and an interactive community between staff and consumers. Facebook pages aid in showcasing community involvement, especially if you’re a local company. By tagging other organizations or posting photos of your business participating in local events, you’re increasing the number of paths that can be used to discover your page.
In turn, getting tagged in either a patient or organization’s post gives you automatic exposure to all of their Facebook friends and followers. Your page should include personal elements instead of being strictly business. Personal is what people relate to; therefore, it’s important for your content to be engaging. By sharing photos of orthodontists with their patients and pictures of the office, you’re revealing an inside scoop on the internal culture of your business. Seeing photo evidence of your newly renovated offices, or of how you provide friendly and engaging service is more effective than reading a review with the same claims.
Your FB page should also be linked to your blog, so users can share your posts to generate more leads. The blog articles you publish should address common orthodontic topics or questions patients typically ask. This way, if a patient shares one of your articles, their friends who are experiencing similar problems may click on the post directing them back to your page. Another way Facebook can be utilized as a problem solver is by conducting Q&As on either a standard text post or even through Facebook Lives. These personal touches allow patients to feel valued, which results in creating more long-term relationships with your customers. Facebook pages should be centered around building a trustworthy community between you and your customers.
Instagram plays an important role in terms of building a brand culture for orthodontists. Similar to Facebook, the content should be personal, and images should highlight any values or ideals of your company. However, Instagram allows for a greater entertainment aspect. Sharing memes with friends is a large part of the Instagram culture. Therefore, posting orthodontic-related memes on your page encourages people to share the image while adding a humorous element to going to the orthodontist. Especially because braces are usually targeted at teens, attracting them with humor or relatable posts may help diminish any fears about going to the orthodontist’s office.
In addition to the platform’s lighthearted nature, Instagram’s use of hashtags is an extremely beneficial tool for attracting new users to your page. You can use established hashtags or create your own specific to your orthodontic practice. The benefit of using popular and established hashtags is you increase your chances of being discovered without users having to search for your page. However, creating your own hashtags is also valuable because Instagram automatically compiles all posts with the same hashtags together.
An example of starting your own hashtag could be sharing weekly editions of #*insert orthodontist’s name*SmileOfTheWeek. where you post before and after photos of your patients. This showcases success stories from your practice while also featuring a patient in a positive light. Orthodontists with successful social media also utilize their Instagram profiles to promote special deals or giveaways. The giveaway doesn’t necessarily have to be for orthodontic related products, but requiring patients to tag a friend and like the post to enter results in increased awareness for your company.
Another valuable tool is Instagram stories. Stories only last for 24 hours, and you can upload photos, videos, or text pages multiple times throughout the day. Use them as fun reminders to wear your rubber bands, or to encourage people to enter your giveaways. Links can also be added to Instagram stories, so you can sync them to your blog or other social media sites for promotional purposes.
Ultimately, Instagram is where you have the freedom to be creative. Use your Instagram page to showcase your brand identity, while still marketing to and attracting current and prospective customers.
Now that you’ve showcased your creativity and formed trusting relationships with your patients, it’s time to utilize LinkedIn as a more professional outlet and expand your network. LinkedIn is essentially a “professional Facebook.” Keep sharing the links to your blog posts, but don’t share images of orthodontists with their patients or news of an upcoming giveaway on this site. You can also upload orthodontist news articles to your feed that you find interesting, and share your opinions regarding them.
It’s important to only post content related to the orthodontic field. LinkedIn is a valuable B2B and B2C form of marketing for both the orthodontist’s individual page and the company page. You can expand your network by keeping your profiled updated and optimizing your ability to be found in a search.
Use your LinkedIn profile to connect with other professionals in the industry, co-workers, clients, and friends. From there you can join LinkedIn groups. These groups will open you up to the lastest news and developments within your field. You’ll be instantly connected to new orthodontists within the group and have the opportunity to build relationships for potential referrals in the future.
LinkedIn groups are also a great area for discussion on orthodontic problems that arise, or any current trends within the industry. It’s important to be an active participant to increase your company’s visibility on the site. LinkedIn offers you the platform to build new contacts and expand your network on the business side of things. However, your patients also have the ability to follow or connect with your company LinkedIn page just like they would for any other social media. Your followers will remain up to date on orthodontic news, and your business will gain new valuable contacts throughout the industry.
Just like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn serve as extensions of your business, YouTube serves as an extension of the content you post. YouTube is the second largest search engine, which means the site has billions of users. Keep your videos on the shorter side so you don’t lose the attention of your audience.
The videos should complement the content of your other social media. If your Facebook and Instagram pages have been posting about an upcoming giveaway, create a video of the winner being chosen and coming in to redeem their prize. Or, if your most recent blog post is on braces-friendly foods, create a video showing how to make a few recipes.
The content of your social media platforms should flow together; this way, you can direct your visitors to all of your pages at some point. However, not all of your content needs a short video to accompany it, so only add video if it makes sense to do so. The videos can also stand alone as their own content. Tutorials or “how-to” videos are extremely common on YouTube and are perfect for orthodontists. For example, posting a tutorial on how to floss with braces will generate more views outside of your current patients or followers because it is targeted toward the general public. YouTube videos are the added bonus to your social media, but they can really make you stand out from surrounding orthodontists.
A well-executed social media plan will help prospects relate to your practice and allow you to show you are not only an expert in your field, but also a practice made up of caring people who want the best for their patients and their community.
Ortho Sales Engine offers a complete marketing solution for orthodontists. For help with social media or any other marketing need, give us a call.