Having a presence on social media and Google My Business involves more than just keeping your posts fresh and your listing updated. It’s about creating a space where people can interact with you. A space where you can connect with current and potential patients should answer questions, respond to reviews, point people in the right direction, and address concerns. It’s a conversation that can lead to stronger relationships and a more coveted search ranking on Google.
You set up your Facebook page, now what?
Social media should, of course, be social. And that goes for dental practices, too. Remember: social media is not like regular advertising. It isn’t about self-promotion, it’s about creating a dialogue between you and your patients, humanizing your business, and providing social proof.
Think about how people will want to hear from you on your social media channels and what content they’ll find most engaging. Ask questions. Repost, comment, and respond. Consider posts that answer common questions and those that give people a behind-the-scenes look at your practice. Create opportunities for people to engage with you, and respond. Build that trust and authority, so when you have something to say, they’re more likely to listen.
Do people even see my posts? Am I wasting my time?
If you’ve ever wondered if social media engagement actually works, think about these Instagram statistics from Sprout Social:
- Eight out of 10 users follow businesses on the platform.
- 200 million Instagrammers actively visit business profiles every day.
However, just because 500 million people access Instagram daily, doesn’t mean you’ll reach millions with your advertising – nor would you want to. The key is to start with some best practices and refine them, based on what your audience responds to. For example, there are many articles that speak to the best times to post for each social media platform, like this one from Sprout Social. These “windows of high engagement” are great guidelines for dental practices that are just starting out. Then, you can set up experiments and see when YOUR specific audience is most engaged.
Also, if a particular post is already getting a lot of engagement, you have the opportunity to promote that post to get in front of more eye (and limit your audience to people in your service area).
I’m getting reviews on Google My Business! Done!
Great start! After all, having reviews on Google My Business can improve your local search ranking on Google. However, responding favorably to your reviews (negative and positive) has the added benefit of helping you build trust with current and future patients – and with Google.
At the end of 2018, Darren Shaw of Whitespark released the findings from an annual Google Local Rankings Survey. In his findings, reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business. This is up almost 5% from 2015.
And Google itself has reinforced how powerful reviews can be for your business. Positive reviews don’t just improve the visibility of your business, they increase the likelihood that a patient will visit your location – period.
Also, here’s another sobering statistic from Forbes: 82% of consumers read online reviews. So, managing and responding to your reviews has never been more necessary. Doing so builds trust with the reviewer, the reader – and Google, giving you a credibility boost that search engines can only partially measure. Because as much as marketers stress local search rankings, branding and SEO – there are few things more powerful than word-of-mouth (especially when it happens on the internet).
Why patient online social engagement is important
It’s not enough to have an Instagram account or a Google My Business listing. You need to be active and engaged on all platforms. You don’t want your potential patients going to a social page that hasn’t been updated or posted on in years. You need great photos, you need a social media strategy that makes people feel like they got a glimpse into what the practice is all about.
Posting relevant content, monitoring what patients are saying about your practice, and then engaging with those who took the time to leave you reviews or comments is what it’s all about. After all, social media and online reviews are a direct link to your customers and your potential customers. Don’t pass up the opportunity to leave a good impression and get the feedback you need to improve your business model.
Is the engagement piece of your marketing strategy taking away from your time with patients? Conversion Whale specializes in dental marketing and can help you create relevant social content, and assist with reposting and responding to comments. We can help.