4 Steps to Creating Your Social Media Calendar

by Naomi Cooper October 31, 2012

4 Steps to Creating Your Social Media CalendarLast week I talked about the importance of using a social media calendar in your dental practice. Social media is a new marketing method to many dental practitioners, and taking the time to develop a strategic plan will help you to make the most of your efforts.

Now that you are aware of what a social media calendar is, and why it can be of benefit to your practice, here are 4 steps to building your own calendar:

  1. Determine which sites to engage on, if you haven’t already. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are 3 of the largest
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    social media sites today and would be among the best places to get started. Links to your practice’s blog should also be included in the calendar. (If you are not sure what sites you should be on, click here for one of my past blog posts on how to determine what sites might work best for you.)

  2. Decide how many times a week you will be posting. Generally, best practices indicate that posting to sites such as Facebook and Twitter up to 3 times per week is sufficient.
  3. Create your social media calendar. I recommend using Excel (or any similar format) to map out the next 30 days, and include columns dedicated to each social media site on which you plan to be posting. Under each column heading, enter in whatever content you want to post each day. If you need ideas on the type of content to post, check out this previous blog post.
  4. Implement your calendar. The doctor, nor the hygienist, should not be in charge of implementing the calendar. They are simply too busy to dedicate the time. Plus, this is a great way to get your team involved. If you have a team member who is proficient in social media, and who realistically has the time and will be diligent, assign them the responsibility of executing the social media calendar and posting the content as scheduled. However, if you do not have the staff available, you can employ a social media dashboard (sites such as Hootsuite.com or Tweetdeck.com) which will allow you to enter, or import, your posts all at once, and schedule each to publish in the future.

If you would like more in-depth information on creating your social media calendar, click here for my free webinar with Sesame Communications to learn step-by-step on how to implement one in your practice.

Do you use a social media calendar in your dental practice? What advice would you give to a fellow dentist just beginning to engage in social media? Please feel welcome to share your thoughts and experiences below.


6 Social Media Sites for Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper September 25, 2012

6 Social Media Sites for Your Dental PracticeSocial media is a hot buzzword in dental marketing. With so many sites out there, many of my clients say they feel overwhelmed with the prospect of using social media as a marketing tool for their dental practices. Once you gain some familiarity, social media becomes a very engaging way of reaching current and prospective patients. Here are 6 of the most popular social media sites you should get to know.

1. Facebook

With over 955 million users, Facebook remains to be the most popular social media site. Many dentists are familiar with Facebook as they use it in their personal lives. However, Facebook can be a great tool for your business as well. Creating a Facebook Business Page for your practice enables you to directly connect with your patients. Upload appropriate images for your cover and profile photos – a professional photo of the doctor, an interior photo of the office, or your logo are all great options – in order to customize your page. Build your audience by asking your patients to Like your page. Uploading photos and video, providing fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis, can help keep your practice on the tops of your patients’ minds.

2. Google+

Launched in the Fall of 2011, Google+ has 250 million registered users and is still growing. Similar to Facebook, you can create a business page on Google+, separate from your personal profile. What makes Google+ a priority is, of course, its affiliation with Google. Building your practice’s Google+ business page offers you many opportunities to feature videos, share photos and images and create direct inbound links, all of which are incredible drivers of search engine optimization. It’s just one more way to help patients easily find you and connect with your practice online.

3. Google+ Local

Google+ Local (formerly known as Google Places) is your practice’s profile page within Google Maps. This profile provides the same opportunities for inbound links, images and video as Google+, and it also includes patient reviews, which can have a huge impact on your word-of-mouth referrals. Google creates a Google+ Local page for every business in the country, but it’s up to you to claim that profile and make sure it’s accurate. Being familiar with your Google+ Local profile also enables you to monitor what your patients are saying about your practice and to highlight these comments (at least the positive ones) through other social media platforms.

4. YouTube

More than sixty hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and over four billion videos are viewed each day! Dentists around the globe are realizing that offering short videos on their websites and YouTube channels can be an effective part of an overall search engine optimization strategy. The videos on the practice website play into Google’s algorithmic preference for fresh, relevant content so your practice is listed higher on Google searches. And the videos posted directly on YouTube drive YouTube search traffic to the practice website as well.

5. Twitter

What’s unique about Twitter is that every single word you’ve ever tweeted is public and searchable unless it was specifically marked private. That means anyone who happens to be searching for any of the keywords you’re tweeting about will find your tweets. This is an incredible way to build a loyal base of followers, regardless of whether they actually know you or not. And because about half of Americans don’t have a dentist, if your Twitter followers are in your local area, they certainly have the potential to become your patients when they’re ready.

6. Pinterest

Boasting more than 20 million users since it’s start in March 2010, Pinterest is not only social media’s fastest growing site, but it’s also a known hub for the dental practice’s ultimate target demographic: moms. Moms love “pinning” stories, photos and articles to their Pinterest boards. For dentists who have a true general or family practice, and especially for pediatric dentists and orthodontists, Pinterest is the latest addition to the practice’s social media arsenal.

These 6 sites are just some of the opportunities available for you to get started in social media. Find out which ones work best for your practice, and get started!


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your dental practice involved in social media? If yes, what sites have you found work well for you? If no, what is holding you back from engaging? Please share your thoughts below.


Adding Social Media to Your Must-Do List

by Naomi Cooper September 12, 2012

Adding Social Media to Your Must-Do ListFriending – Tweeting – YouTubing…do you know what these terms mean? Do you think 5 years ago these terms had any relevancy to you? They are, of course, referencing the social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Social media is a hot topic in dental marketing these days, and it seems like everyone wants to “be on social media”.

However, it is not enough to simply have a presence. Engagement is the name of the game if you want social media to work for your dental practice. No longer is it good enough to just have a website. In fact, it is bad practice to have a Facebook page for your business if you never update it or engage. Times have changed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get on board.

Here are a few key ideas to keep in mind:

Social media is not an event – it’s not something you should do once in awhile. To really utilize social media effectively, it should be integrated into your marketing plan. Just as you have your front desk ask every new patient how they heard about your practice, you should also have a dedicated team member updating and interacting online via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites.

As with anything, developing a strong following on social media takes time and effort. We like to tell our clients social media is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. Building a Facebook page alone will not generate results. Encouraging your patients to Like your page, consistently updating your page regularly with informative and relevant status updates, and interacting with patients and colleagues online – these are the tricks of the trade that will boost your following and turn social media into a relatively easy – and fun! – marketing effort for your practice.

Here’s a great article from My Social Practice offering some questions to ask yourself as you dive into this social media world.

There are countless ways to get involved in social media. As long as you view it as another important piece of your marketing plan, and dedicate time and effort toward engaging, social media can be a fun and rewarding way to increase the awareness of your practice throughout your community.

Does your practice utilize social media? How has it worked for you? Please share your thoughts and comments with us!


Connecting with Seniors Online and Through Social Media

by Naomi Cooper August 2, 2012

Connecting with Seniors Online and Through Social MediaDoes your practice target seniors? Traditionally, tactics such as internal marketing and phone book advertising have been successful ways to reach your patients in the 65 years and older demographic. But as the reach of the internet continues to expand, more and more seniors are using the internet and engaging in social media, providing yet another way to reach patients and connect with customers.

According to a recent Pew Study, more than half – 53% – of all American adults over the age of 65 use the internet, and 34% of them use sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This age group is still in the minority when it comes to social media engagement, however their usage is growing at a rapid pace, and as our population continues to age, it stands to reason that these statistics will continue to increase.

This blog from My Social Practice offers further proof of the growing internet usage rates among seniors. So what does this mean for you? Social media is a growing influence that you can no longer afford to ignore. If seniors are a part of your target patient profile, beginning to engage online and building your practice’s presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be yet another way to connect with your current patients, and reach new patients.

Have you noticed an increase in online engagement from seniors? What are some of the ways you currently reach the senior demographic? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.


Getting Your Practice Online and Engaged in Social Media

by Naomi Cooper July 31, 2012

Getting Your Practice Online and Engaged in Social MediaHave you been thinking of increasing your practice’s online presence, but not sure how to get started? An increasing number of dentists have become familiar with using social media in their personal lives, but may not be comfortable or know where to begin incorporating social media into the practice’s marketing plan.

Here are a few ideas to consider when beginning your social media campaign:

What sites are you already familiar with? This will help ease you into social media if you are using a site that you are comfortable with.

What sites do your patients use? If you do not know, have your staff begin asking patients each day and keep track of the responses. Particularly pay attention to the sites used by patients who are most similar your “target patient”.

There are endless ways to participate in social media online. The most popular sites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. It’s important to remember that, with social media, quality is more important than quantity. So if you feel you only have time to engage on one of these sites, it is better to actively participate in just one site and build your audience with thoughtful and timely posts. Once you have mastered one site, you can then think about expanding into more.

Social media is the biggest buzzword to hit the dental profession in decades. Having a presence on social media sites serves to increase the traffic to your practice website and helps new customers to find your information when searching online for a dentist.

Is your practice online? What sites have you found to be most useful for your practice? Did you have any hesitations while getting started? Please share your thoughts below.