Social media has dramatically changed medical, dental and healthcare marketing. It’s never been easier for providers to connect with existing and prospective patients. Twitter, in particular, has proven an effective marketing tool. Here are 10 tips dentists and doctors can use to grow their practices—140 characters at a time.
1. Be Intentional
Having a Twitter account and firing off random tweets about where you’re at and what you’re doing isn’t going to work. The practices that best use Twitter for patient retention and recruitment build it into their marketing-communications strategy.
That means having a plan for what messages you want your audience to receive and knowing exactly when you want them to receive them. It also means committing to tweeting consistently, two or three times a week.
2. Brand It
Your practice has a brand, which incorporates all of your marketing materials, your wordmark or logo, the insurance you accept, your website and the way your reception area is decorated. Together, these elements of your business—and more—determine how your patients feel about your service, which makes up your brand.
Make sure your Twitter is aligned with your brand. Choose pictures that accurately reflect the way you want people to view your practice. Write a description that mirrors what you say on your website. Make sure your audience isn’t confused about who is tweeting them.
3. Build an Audience
Building followers is what Twitter is all about. Without a critical mass of the right people paying attention to your tweets, you’re wasting time and 140 characters, both of which could be spent doing something else.
Successful dental and medical practices publicise their Twitter pages on their websites, during office visits and in their printed marketing materials.
4. Show Some Personality
No one likes to read boring copy, tweets or otherwise. That’s why the clinics and offices that tweet the best do so with personality. They give their patients a glimpse into the lives of the clinics—what are the nurses and assistants excited about, when are the most difficult times of the year to get appointments, and what are the doctors and dentists doing that’s interesting?
5. Establish your Doctors & Dentists as Experts
If your doctor or dentist wrote an article for a journal, tweet it. If she or he is speaking at a conference, tweet it. Even if none of your patients or prospective patients read the article or attend the conference, they’ll see that your doctors are leaders in their respective areas of practice.
6. Optimise, Optimise, Optimise
Google is still the king when it comes to the way people search for and find information on the internet. But Twitter is becoming increasingly popular as a search engine. People like the fact that, with the use of a simple hashtag and key word, they can find official Twitter accounts as well as the accounts of people who have recently used the services and tweeted about it.
This means that you need to optimise your tweets for Twitter searches. When possible, integrate key words into your tweets the same way you do into your website copy.
7. Add value
The best tweeters don’t just tweet blatant promotional information. They share interesting information and links to relevant news stories—things that their followers will find valuable.
When one of your followers asks you a question with a private tweet (or even a public tweet), treat it the same way you would an incoming phone call and have a conversation with them.
Retweeting other people’s tweets is a great way to keep your account active without generating new, original copy. When possible, retweet.
10. Have fun
Fun accounts do better than boring accounts. Experiment and see what works for your practice. Share insights, photos and interesting things that happen throughout the day. This isn’t meant to be a chore!
Get on board, it is much easier than you think, and see how Twitter can help build your medical or dental practice.
Carolyn is the director of Wellsites