Phase 2 of Dental Social Media Success: Been There Done That, Now What?

Opportunistic community minded technologically savvy dentists the world over have asked themselves that same question. Dentists currently trudging through phase two on the path to dental social media success are searching for answers to the same question in what surely seems like an aimless social stupor.

“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.” -Vince Lombardi

The dental marketing motivational analogies abound here amid the muck and mire of the social dental-centric communications path to success timeframe we’ll call phase two.

There are no shortcuts to social dental media success; the pain felt, the patience acquired, and the resolve exhibited during this make or break second phase comprise the most important foundational element of any successful digital dental marketing campaign – the will to win.

Without the will to win, dentists interested in pursuing social media to attract more new patients and retain a greater percentage of their existing patients are doing two things correctly – wasting time and losing money.

Don’t be that dentist – what follows are three main pillars of gutting it out through phase two.

Review Everything

Now (and at a regular at least annual interval) is the time to revisit everything – from monthly marketing goals, internal communication policies, and information security, to all existing social profiles, digital (offline too) marketing tools, and outsourcing options.

Now that real life has set in, were those goals first forecast before embarking on this social dental sojourn still attainable given the current state of practice affairs?

Is everyone at the practice on board with these goals? Really? How much so?
What social media profiles deserve the most attention?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Foursquare
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn

How well does staff understand the guidelines set forth to protect patient information?

Do you have one practice email address (preferably gmail) that is the main administrative email on all social media profiles?

Don’t Make it Too Difficult

Social media for the dental practice isn’t difficult but in order to effectively participate, it is time-consuming.

Have you explored the expanding selection of free social media monitoring and optimization tools available?

  • Hootsuite
  • SocialMention
  • Buffer
  • Topsy
  • Trackur

Every one of those sites offers free membership – and not just a 30 day trial basis freemium flip model. By applying the proper mix of DIY sticktoitiveness combined with the right mix of time-saving tools, dentists can maximize social media return on engagement.

For those practices unlucky enough (is it really luck?) to not have someone on staff to handle marketing duties, outsourcing always comes into the equation. Before even shopping around outsourcing options, it’s best to have a pre-defined menu of services you need covered – not someone else’s menu of services sold to you.

Again, most everything needed to succeed at dental social media requires time as the most significant investment.

  • Figure out what you need and want first – how big of a net do you want to cast? How social do you want to be?
  • What tasks can be handled with automated tools and any practice software?
  • Then talk to staff to determine their role – and only then, contact possible outsourcing avenues.
  • An organic mixture of automated tools and manual interaction is optimal.

Phase two is also the time to use a lifeline – ask for help!

Dentists looking for social media success can go at it alone, just be mindful to factor a longer timeframe for success and exponentially more personal effort into the equation.

Help doesn’t have to mean outsourcing either, some of the most successful social media communications from DIY dental practices that are able to capture the organic attitude of an engaging informative down home local digital dental-centric conversation.

IMPORTANT: Conversation is two ways; one of the biggest mistakes dentists make in social media is to continue talking about themselves ad nauseum – to their patients and toward the local community.

Drop the ego and sales talk, act like you’ve been there and converse like a human being. That means listening more than talking!

Keep Going

You will see this material again.

Unwavering commitment and will to win separate the successful social dental media stars from the wannabes and hangers-on of quasi social dental fame.

Promising what you can’t (or won’t) deliver, purporting to be the best, and not integrating social media into every facet of the digital dental marketing plan are not winning attributes.

Pushing through this make or break – albeit long & tiresome – period of phase two is the key ingredient to realizing success.

What’s the alternative, throw the hands up in failure or pay someone to do it for you?

Whichever way it is, DIY or 100% outsourced; it doesn’t matter if you’ll be directing your nose to the grindstone or holding someone else’s feet to the fire, you’ll be better off for having gone through the trials and tribulations of phase two.

The pain; the blood, sweat, and tears.

Phase two allows you to revisit goals, reuse beneficial content, and reduce time-wasting activities. This translates into shoring up social media vacancies, allows better time management, and delivers a more congruent message – whether it’s broadcast DIY in-house or via outsourced satellite uplink.

By freeing up time for the fun stuff – social dental media should be a double dosage of fun – you’ll be able to realize the transition by identifying more creative ways to maximize the practice message.

It is fun to positively affect the dental health of your patients and local community.

All of this seemingly only hard work, no results, spinning wheels like a hamster roundabout Groundhog Day carousel will come to an end…or at least a perpetual result.

Ways to use social media as an inbound digital dental marketing tool will continue to evolve, trudge through the doldrums of phase two with unwavering resolve, then plot your phase three course for realizing, qualifying, and quantifying dental social media success.

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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.