A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Dentists
What you need to know for strong social media presence
The hardest part of trying something new is always taking the first step.
You can’t quite picture how you’ll do it because you’ve never done it before. Remember in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry couldn’t conjure a patronus the whole movie, but then he saw himself do it in the future so in the end he knew he actually could?
I think about that scene a lot whenever I try something challenging for the first time - it would be so much easier if I could see myself successful so I’d have some reassurance I wouldn’t flop, but unfortunately I’m not a wizard and don’t have the luxury of time travel.
If your social presence is either nonexistent or spotty at best, you probably feel like you should be taking the first step to post regularly, but aren’t sure where to begin. The good and bad news is, your patients think you should be, too. Seriously – 97% of people think dentists should be active on social media, and those who do are perceived as innovative and caring.
Love it or hate it, social media is an invaluable resource to help establish your dental brand, and to get prospective patients to seek out your page. If you don’t have an account or haven’t posted in years, it’ll look fishy and may send the message that you don’t really care about attracting new patients. Plus, if you’re hiring, potential employees are going to check out your profile. If their first impression is 😧they might not follow up. When I applied to this dental marketing agency one of the first things I noticed was their stellar social feed. It was current, full of personality, featured their incredibly impressive work, and showed their consistent and cohesive look as a brand.
So if you’re finding it difficult to take the first step toward reviving your social presence, I get it. There’s nothing more daunting than staring at that prompt on Facebook asking, “What’s on your mind?” when you don’t know where to start.
Well, fear not! We’re here to help guide you along the way and we’ve been in the social game for a while now. I’d say we’ve got it down to a science, or a formula, if you will.
And I hate math so I don’t say that word lightly.
Anyway – here’s a breakdown of a formula you can follow to develop a strategy and start regularly posting social content with a consistent look and tone! The first step is figuring out…
#1: WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY
So here you are. A dentist, standing in front of Facebook and Instagram, asking it to love you.
What are you going to say?
Instead of banging out some posts willy nilly on a dental holiday, or just sharing before/afters (with the “before” first… yuck), let’s nail down a handful of categories, or “buckets” you can fill weekly that will help reinforce your dental brand and flesh out your content.
What’s your mission? Why did you choose to be a dentist? What makes your office different from others in your town? What do you and your team do together outside of the office? What’s a service you offer that you’re really proud of? Why are you driven to help people improve their smiles?
These are just a few examples, but you get the gist! The point is to set up the tentpoles of what separates you from the rest.
#2: HOW YOU WANT TO SAY IT
This is essentially the filter you will sift your messaging through. It’s time to ask yourself: If your dental brand was a person, how would you describe them?
Starbucks’ brand persona is functional and expressive, Coca-Cola’s is down-to-earth and easygoing, Harley-Davidson’s is confident and aggressive.
Create a copy bank of different phrases or adjectives to pull from (or find one on the web) and narrow those down to a handful that resonate with you. Decide which personality traits align with yours. Whichever route you choose, sticking with an unchanging voice will make you appear more reliable and understandable to your audience instead of all over the place tonally.
#3: WHO YOU WANT TO SAY IT TO
Alrighty, so we’ve figured out what you want to say and how you want to say it, but… Who are we speaking to?
What kind of patients would you like to attract or would be seeking the services you offer? Parents? Young adults?
Whoever you’re targeting, remember to tailor your messaging to them and focus some of your content on their specific needs. This will resonate with your target audience and make it easier to form a connection before they even step into your office because they’ll feel seen and understood!
#4: HOW IT WILL LOOK
There should be a visual consistency between your social platforms and your website, like they’re part of the same family! If one looks drastically different than the other, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Feast your eyes on Milk Bar’s homepage and Instagram feed:
See what I mean? They make sense next to each other, the colors and imagery used throughout are bold, bright, and just so them. It’s a seamless visual transition between the two.
Also, if you’ve never had their ice cream, run to the grocery store now and thank me later. 👌
What colors and fonts did you choose for your website? You should use the same ones for social when possible, and can even create a style guide your staff can refer to so everyone’s on the same page (Or let us make one for you as part of your Identity Branding).
If these haven’t been decided yet, it might be helpful to create a Pinterest board of examples you like to narrow down your vibe a bit. We’ve also got a nifty guide on how to curate your visual style if you’re having trouble – I’ll leave this here for ya! 🤗
Once you’ve sorted that out, there are free graphic design platforms online you can use to create templated graphics with your established brand colors, fonts, and logos. I’m not a graphic designer by any stretch of the word, but it’s been revelatory in helping me create social gifs, videos, Instagram stories – you name it!
#5: WHERE YOU WANT TO SAY IT AND HOW OFTEN
If this step makes you nervous, take a deep breath.
You don’t need to be posting everything everywhere all at once (great movie, BTW). We recommend starting with 1-2 platforms, wherever your ideal patient is most likely to frequent. If you’re planning to start with Facebook, they actually have an awesome feature in Meta Business Suite that allows you to pre-schedule posts – which will be super convenient for you or whoever is handling the social side of things on your team!
You don’t need to be posting 24/7. Plan for 2-4 posts a week and go from there, using the categories you determined earlier and sprinkling in birthdays, holidays, or any spur of the moment events as they happen – it’ll fill up in no time!
If you need help creating a social content calendar, there are a ton of free resources out there at your fingertips (like this or this) to help you stay organized! You’re finally putting some meat on the bones of your profile so take your time and focus on quality, not quantity in the beginning. 🙌
So there you have it – everything you need to take the first step into the wonderful world of social media! I know it’s the hardest one to take but the rest that follow are always a little easier.
If you’re still feeling shaky about it, Studio 8E8 is always here to help! Check out our social media management package and let’s chat.