We cannot avoid the fact that social media is growing every day. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have, so far, stood the test of time (unlike their predecessors Bebo and Myspace). Lucy outlines 3 reasons you should consider using some form of social media for your business.
Lucy McCarthy blogs:
Social media can be intimidating for a business. Here are just some of the thoughts and questions that may haunt you if you’ve not yet ventured into the social media world:
‘Do I really want to be ‘poked’?’
‘Should I be worried that people are following me?’
‘Should I encourage people to write on my wall?’
But before you hastily set up EVERY single social network you can think of, consider if it is really going to be beneficial to your Dental business. For example is a Pinterest or Instagram account going bring in new patients? Does it suit the demographic you’re trying to attract?
Equally, managing multiple accounts can be very time consuming when done properly, it may be beneficial to allow one of your receptionists or a practice manager to manage the account for you. If you’ve set up an account and don’t use it, it would be best practice to deactivate your account or you’ll run the risk of inadvertently ignoring patients when they attempt to contact you. Aim to direct all patients to the account you do use, where you can efficiently reply to them.
If you decide to have more than one social media outlet, you could use a management tool like hootsuite.com which allows you to schedule posts. Who really has the time to visit Twitter/ Facebook etc every few hours to update it? If you do, you should reconsider how successful it is for your business, as your time is much better spent fixing smiles than re-tweeting.
Social media for your business:
1. Manage your reputation
Social media is all about building relationships with both new and existing customers. Have you ever Googled or searched for your practice within a social media outlet? If not, how do you know what your patients say about you online? If there’s a positive review on social media; how disappointing you’ve not had a chance to thank your customer. If there’s a negative review; you’ve not been able to rectify it and word of mouth, albeit virtual, travels fast.
I recently searched for some dental practices online and I was surprised by the amount of people who use social media as a way to vent, regardless of whether the practice had a site or not. I wonder if their issues were ever resolved or if they remain in the virtual world for all to read!?
Online complaints are visible to everyone, but on the other hand, they can be dealt with quickly and easily through social media.
For example: If you get a complaint, acknowledge it on social media but suggest they call you or email a certain department to ensure the complaint is dealt with in private. If you have a social media presence, you provide a platform that controls where people can share their reviews and you can easily reply.
Here’s a recent example showing that yes, you can still have some fun with it! Take a look at these responses.
2. Reach new patients
Social media is free and Facebook alone has around 800 million users. How many of those people require the service you’re offering?
If nothing else, think of the referrals that could happen with no actual words being spoken.
Let me set the scene:
Your patient ‘likes’ your page on Facebook because she saw you were running a teeth whitening competition. Your patient ‘shares’ the competition post and her friend notices. This friend has always admired your patients lovely smile and now knows that you are her dentist and clicks on the page, a few minutes of “Facebook stalking” later she notices one of your older posts, a blog about how to become a patient. Before you know it she’s calling your practice to book an appointment.
To reach a wider audience, you can advertise on Facebook (at a relatively small fee). You can control who sees your adverts, monitor your spend, measure your success and build campaigns. This helps you target people in your demographic or that suits your ideal patient profile.
Finally, people search for companies online to ensure they are genuine. Ignoring social media may mean you miss out of opportunities for your business. If you have an up to date social media account, displaying the latest offers and showing how you interact with your patients, it will instill confidence and people may be more inclined to contact you.
3. Create a brand personality
By using a personal account to create your business ‘page’, it allows customers to see the person/ people behind your brand. This can be great to engage with your customers/ patients to allow them to see the people behind the brand. However, it’s important that you train your staff on what is appropriate to post on Facebook if they have administrator rights. Outline the brand guidelines and explain why they are important to maintaining brand standards.
Creating a brand personality can be difficult to perfect. If your company has a distinct personality already, such as Innocent smoothies, you can let this filter through to your social media outlets. However, a solicitor or public service company may not want to use social media in such an informal way. It’s important that the personality suits that of your brand and is consistent with your messages.
If you haven’t already, like Hive on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. We can offer you some advice on how to create an online presence that suits you. If you commit to social media, it is just that, a commitment – an outdated profile isn’t going to do your business any favours. We can help you build a profile that will attract new patients, be a resource for existing patients and simple for you to manage. You may be lucky enough to be retweeted by a TV chef, evidence here!
Call us on 01872 300232 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.