May 28, 2019
by Jillian Cecchini, Managing Editor
The influence of social media in modern society is no secret. It’s safe to say that most of us are consumed by it. But is this necessarily a bad thing when it comes to our professional lives? Or are these platforms providing us the opportunity to learn and connect with our peers?
By now, we are all aware that social media is not just a trend. It has had a tremendous impact on our culture, in business, and on the world-at-large. That being said, I am fully aware that social media can have a negative impact when it comes to our mental well-being. But in this moment, I want to discuss the benefits of social media as a marketing and learning tool within our industry.
Without a doubt, social media has become a highly successful business opportunity for many people within multiple industries. Social media marketing in dentistry is often overlooked, but it should be a staple part of the overall strategy. A well-optimized website for the practice and a social media plan on multiple platforms can help build relationships with existing and future patients.
It’s also proven beneficial for brand awareness. When you think of a particular brand, you can most likely associate that particular brand with a face. This is referred to as a type of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is described as a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people, rather than the target market as a whole on social media. Whether an influencer’s target audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers (via their social networks and blogs) that the brand may not be able to.
Though influencer marketing has officially reached the world of dental, it is not an entirely new concept for the industry.
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) have been around for as long as we can remember. They are described as experts whose opinions are valued in a specific industry or area of knowledge, and are listened to by a broader audience. Most companies have KOLs who represent their brand and provide educational or promotional lectures and articles, to help deliver expert knowledge and drive growth within the industry. Unlike influencers, their main communication channel is not social media – though we are seeing a shift to more of an online presence.
Compared to KOLs, influencers have an unspecified following. Their followers have a shared interest in the influencer’s lifestyle and personality. People follow them because their content matches their own opinions and likes. On the other hand, KOLs speak to a particular demographic. Their audience values their opinion due to their expertise and experience in the industry.
Influencers and KOLs may be different but the main goal is still successfully accomplished. Knowledge is being delivered. Information is being retained. Engagement is at an all-time high. They are providing information that is essential to our professional growth and success. And yes, we are learning this from social media platforms.
Even though I’m a millennial, I will leave you with one piece of advice when it comes to social media. In a world of algorithms, #hashtags, and followers, be sure to remember the true importance of human connection.