Are you still trying to figure out how to use Twitter to build your dental business? Clarity comes with understanding the difference between building a business and building a following.
Whatever business you’re in – dental providers are no exception – talk surrounds growth. And hopefully that growth equates to financial gain, especially in today’s economy.
Who would argue with financial growth? It’s how we pay the bills and expand our stable of services.
The rub comes in social media when expectations exceed our understanding of the medium.
Social media is about connection. It’s referred to as engagement most often. And basically that means relationships.
So, it helps to think in terms of relational capital first, instead of financial capital, when using social media. And bringing it to the bottom-line (you knew I’d get there sooner or later) it’s a tool that works extremely well in that order.
I suspect this is the first in a series of posts. So I’ll not feel as though I have to cover every point here.
For starters, here’s a few building blocks to increase your understanding of how to use – in this instance – the social media workhorse, Twitter, to build your dental practice, business, and/or product/service brand.
Talk isn’t cheap in social media. Remember Twitter (and social media in general) is a conversation.
Relationships matter. And conversation fuels them.
Guard against using social media to merely blast out your latest deal or special. People will grow numb to your messages. They’ll feel like you’re talking at them rather than with them.
Unless you’re boring, irrelevant, or (forbid) a “creeper,” you’ll gain more social media capital when you converse.
Ask real questions that bring real answers. Use answers to reflect back to your followers/tribe that you’re listening.
Re-purpose the answers in useful posts. Think – “how can I keep the conversation going?”
>Remember the “Dr. Oz factor”
A lot is said about oral health. I’ll leave it to the professional’s opinion – but it’s safe to say some is accurate. And some is bunk.
Regardless, stay current with what’s being said in the news about the dental industry, dentistry, dental care, etc. I call this the “Dr. Oz factor.”
He represents the public buzz about health trends. And lately he’s been stoking the connection between overall health and practical oral care.
When Dr. Oz speaks people listen. They talk. And the talk turns to buzz.
What do you do with buzz? You ride the buzz-waves by affirming it via a series of tweets that link to content sources.
Counter the content buzz with your own take on it. Connect to it by expanding the topic at hand in your own blog posts. Then tweet talk points that encourage meaningful convo on Twitter and your Facebook page.
>Be a thought-leader
Your expert opinion counts. Showcase it by staying ahead of the curve in dental trends, new products, etc.
You’re already a trusted source as a service provider. People connect with you because you deliver a specific expertise they need.
As a dental professional, (like other medical professionals) you’re there for a patient’s specific need. And you deliver a specialized service.
I realize that people don’t typically continue a dialog with their dental provider until a need arises. At some point, their circumstances demand answers and related care.
The need for your expert knowledge stays fairly consistent as patients age too. Why not position yourself at the crossroads of those seasons of need and age.
Be a dental thought leader. This will increase the chances you’ll be front of mind when someone is having an issue. Or know someone in their circle who is.
Social media brings immediacy to this. If you’ve been in “conversation” with them via Twitter, for example, imagine who they’ll turn to when they or someone they know has a need.
The introduction becomes more natural and immediate. In a way it’s – “Meet my dentist, __________. He/she will take care of you.”
>Find & share
Research and uncover useful info your patients would be interested in. Know your patient base well enough to know what each segment/group (i.e. seniors, parents, teens, middle age, etc.) want to know/need to know.
I have go-to people throughout my social media connections. When I want information for a blog post I know where to connect.
Your patients should feel that way about you and your practice. When they want the latest information about products and services be front of mind. And you get there by showing yourself to be a well of information.
Do your homework. Subscribe to content feeds that keep the flow of info constant.
Curate the content. Use it when it’s needed via links within tweets. Expand the content through blog posts, articles, webinars, ebooks, etc. (more on these in future posts).
>Be a customer service champion
Twitter makes a good customer service rep. Speed of response is part of the magic with social media.
The days of the comment box at the front desk are over. People’s opinions and the speed at which they’re shared run close to the speed of sound.
A colleague recently “outed” a top airline on his twitter feed after having a not so pleasant experience with one of their counter agents. The tweet to thousands of followers and a follow up to the airline’s customer service department received quick response and apology.
Businesses who tweet are at an advantage. They’re at an even greater advantage when they monitor their social media feeds for dissatisfied and satisfied customers.
A quick, authentic, and (if necessary) apologetic response can salvage a dissatisfied customer and save money. More so, it increases the kind of capital you can take to the bank again and again – social media capital.