October 3, 2019
by David Darab, DDS, MS, MBA
Social Media is hard to get right, but easy to get wrong. Everyday users send 500 million tweets, make 4.5 million likes on Facebook, and upload 95 million photos and videos to Instagram. Social media is a powerful influencer. Everyone is doing it, using it and viewing it; the largest to the smallest businesses, governments and politicians, superstar athletes and actors, your friends, neighbors, and patients too, and so do you! Your practice needs a voice here but where do you start? What do you do? The choices are so numerous you are overcome with “analysis paralysis” and do nothing, or keep doing the same thing with the same results.
Let’s make this simple.
Rule 1: Your Practice Social Media should be nothing like your Personal Social Media.
Let’s face it; you have overheard colleagues at dental meetings brag about how many Followers and Likes they have. You go online and to check the numbers and commit to growing your audience. If 1000 likes are suitable, 2000 must be better, so you post away, staff pics, staff lunches, your lunch, birthday parties, donuts, gifts, thank you cards, patient pictures, and holiday announcements to start. You post signs at the office, “Like us on Facebook,” “Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.” You sit back and wait for new patients to call, but nothing, zilch, nil, nada, zero. Your experiment just confirmed the next rule.
Rule 2: Awareness is NOT Action
The hard fact is that creating awareness will not result in action. Your patients know they should floss every day, but they don’t. You know Mt Everest is the highest mountain in the world, but do not plan on climbing it.
“Action comes from tension, desire, and
fear. Action is the hard part.”
– Seth Godin
So, what should you do?
Rule 3: Don’t Buy a Boost
Likes and follows are vanity metrics. If you have dabbled with your Facebook page, you have probably noticed that your posts don’t seem to reach many of your followers. Your observations are correct! Only 1-5 per cent of your followers who “liked” your page will see your update, that is unless you pay for an ad or boost your post. Sorry, it’s the way Facebook makes its money and is unlikely to change.
Paying to boost your post will rarely return a profit. How can that be? Let’s dig deeper and ask, what did you receive for your boost investment? Possibly a few more likes, shares and follows? But awareness is not action (Rule 2). You need a positive ROI (return on investment). Alternatively, let’s ask what would happen if your favorite social media account was suddenly deleted, or hacked? Where all those likes and follows now? Can you find and reach them? If not, they are all gone, along with your investment! A dental practice runs on a constant flow of patients and cash. You need patients in the chair, not likes, and follows.
The costs to grow your online community and audience through “likes,” “follows,” and “shares” is difficult to monetize for a small business like a dental practice. Big brands such as Porsche, Harley Davidson, and Yeti, to name just a few, have a different objective with social media. They want to build brand recognition along with a community. The brand becomes the object of their marketing rather than its various products. Big brands have lots of money and time; a dental practice does not; it needs patients in the chair, not likes, and follows.
Your goal should be to move your followers to your website where you own the asset and control their experience. With compelling, unique, and exciting content on your website written for your customer, you can leverage the power of the internet to find those who want to hear your message and be served by you. Finding and mobilizing your audience to action will take some marketing online using the tenets of Rule 4.
Rule 4: Follow your A, B, C, D Strategy
Marketing online is organized around the concept of a purchase funnel. Different stages within the funnel describe customer interactions. An essential purchase funnel includes the following steps;
A. Acquisition – build awareness and user interest
B. Behavior – user engages with your business
C. Conversion – the user becomes a customer
A. Acquisition tells how your users found you. Visitors can come from a wide range of channels such as organic search engines (SEO, Content Marketing), website referrals, paid search, and social networks (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
B. Behavior reveals what your visitors do on your website and what actions they took.
C. Conversion is when a user completes an action that you have defined as valuable to your business. A conversion is your goal. A conversion could be clicking a paid advertisement, viewing a video, downloading a brochure or promotional coupon, providing contact information, signing up for a newsletter, or calling you.
D. Data analytics is used to assess the results of your business goals. What’s working what’s not and adjust. Every interaction of your users with your website and their digital devices can be tracked and studied with Google Analytics.
So, let’s get social! Here is where social media, through precisely targeted paid advertising campaigns, can find and connect your users with a call-to-action. A call-to-action can be signing up for a newsletter, downloading a brochure or discount coupon, completing a form, or calling you. The effectiveness of this strategy depends on the content contained on your website, your home base for all web activity. Designing and deploying effective campaigns, which include measurable goals and event tracking will likely require the input of a web developer. Creating engaging content and copy along with images and graphics that generate Value for your customers is best delegated to a content or marketing manager too.
Today’s savvy customers are value-driven if they “smell” a sales pitch they will bounce off your site immediately. You must first create trust with the content on your website. Posts that are annoying, outdated, “cookie-cutter,” too numerous, too infrequent/inconsistent, or lack great content will all cause your potential customer to flee. Informing, educating, and providing answers to questions will improve the chances your visitors will take action (rule 2 above) and become a customer. Remember your customers’ levers here (Rule 2), action comes from; tension for change, a desire for something different, or a solution for their fears. An added benefit here is that all of these tactics will significantly enhance your SEO and improve your Google search rankings.
“The fastest way to lose a customer
is to waste their time!”
– David Darab, DDS, MS, MBA
There is no “I” in marketing. Create your social media messages and campaigns to solve your customers wants, needs, and desires. Marketing online allows pivoting your message quickly, guided by metrics from Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free website analytics service offered by Google that provides insights into how users find and use your website. With Google Analytics, you can track the ROI for your marketing campaigns. Dentists love data, and Google Analytics is full of data that shows how your campaigns are performing. Using tracking codes, tags and cookies on your paid advertising, social media posts and campaigns you can gather data from almost any platform or website enabling you to monitor and measure each stop on your viewers’ journey. If you are not familiar with Google Analytics, check it out now.
Let’s now put this information to use and design a campaign. Dental membership plans are a popular topic for practices today. Your strategy is to promote your dental membership plan to potential new patients. Your tactics will include paid advertising on Facebook, and Instagram combined with new content on your website, a downloadable flyer and a sign-up form. Your content/marketing manager or your web developer will need to help create the ads along with the flyer and sign-up form, adding the necessary tracking codes and tags. The ads can contain a variety of call-to-action buttons; sign-up, subscribe, learn more, or download.
Now sit back and analyze the results with Google analytics. Which call-to-action created the most conversions, or completion of the requested Action? How many leads were captured or brochures downloaded by the website? How many views of the new web pages were there? How much time did visitors spend on your site? With this data in hand, you can consider increasing the budget for those tactics that converted and adjusting those that fell short.
And now, a bonus strategy; remarketing. Remarketing shows ads only to individuals who have previously visited one of your digital assets, i.e., website, blog. Remarketing allows you to design a digital strategy where your message is always in front of your most interested viewers when they browse other websites or use their favorite social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). The beauty here is that it requires no effort on the part of your viewers, website cookies by Google Analytics provides the horsepower here. In a time when everyone is busy and easily distracted, remarketing is a great way to keep your message front and center in the minds of your customers and potential customers.
“If everyone is thinking the same,
then someone isn’t thinking!”
– George S. Patton
Social media is just that; about being Social. If you desire to make it into “revenue” media, then you will need to add some new strategies and tactics to the mix. The possibilities and options here are too numerous to count. Social media is a busy and chaotic space, and everyone wants your attention. To cut through all the noise and find those want to hear your message, you must have laser focus on your message. It all starts by answering two questions:
Who’s it for? What’s it for?
Seems simple, but it’s not, or everyone would be doing it. Creating value in all that you do is critical. It’s an exchange. You provide something your customer values, and in return, they will give you the action you desire. Time and effort are necessary to achieve the results you want. Social media marketing is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. Finally, in all things business, understand your ROI; what did you receive in exchange for your investment? Done well, you can convert your viewer’s “clicks” into new patients in your chair. Go ahead and give it a try!
About The Author
David Darab, DDS, MS, MBA, speaks business, helping bridge the gap between Clinical Practice and Business Insight. He hangs out at the corner of Information and Action. Strategy, Tactics, Financial Insights, and helping Dentists get UnStuck are his passions. He serves as the Director of Dental Strategies for OmniStar Financial Group headquartered in Wilmington, NC. You can reach him at email@example.com .