Creating a social media presence for your orthodontic practice from scratch may initially sound like a daunting task, but the reality is it’s easier than most first think. There’s simply no reason not to get started if you haven’t done so already. A social media presence for your practice is the perfect way to tell your story, build your brand, and enhance your overall online presence.
If you or your staff needs assistance or advice setting up a social media presence, please know that the AAO is here to assist. Simply contact, Burt Bollinger, Sr. Manager of Marketing/Communications at (314) 292-6556 or via email. As someone who works with the AAO’s social media sites, I am more than happy to walk you or your chosen social media staff member(s) thru the basic steps necessary to start a Facebook page or other social media site.
Having assisted many of our members in setting up their fan pages, the question I hear more than any other is: “Now what? What kind of content should my staff and I be posting?”
Just as important as having an online presence is making sure you are keeping it up-to-date. There are several ways to ensure that your practice’s social media output remains vibrant and timely by publishing meaningful content a few times each week.
Your goal should be quality over quantity. Aim for approximately 2-3 posts per week. Remember, each post works to increase your online visibility. But be careful not to overload your followers with too many postings. You don’t want to be added to their block list, which is a lot like a social media “death sentence” for your page.
So…what exactly should you post?
The obvious first step is to use and repurpose your existing content. For example, if your practice has a traditional newsletter or blog, plenty of ideas for postings can be cultivated from these pre-existing resources. Remember, on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you’re not in the “sales” business. You’re in the “relationship-building” business, so remember the 80-20 rule. So pluck from existing content, but don’t focus solely on trying to “sell” your services.
Other posts you’ll want to make will be links to different areas of your practice’s existing web site. If your site needs a bit of updating to get into shape before sharing, now is the perfect time to do so. For example, make your “About Us” section something worth sharing. Consider doing bios of different staff. Also consider sharing photos of your office.
Another ideal resource for postings is using video captured by you and your staff.
Don’t forget that if you’re going to use video and photos of your patients online, you’ll want to be sure you have had them sign a photo release form.
Finally, in the world of social media, there is no shame in researching what other orthodontists are up to online, and incorporating some of their better ideas into your own efforts. There are plenty of practices out there with active Facebook fan pages, so start searching, exploring, and using their postings to your fans’ benefit. Examples of content include contest ideas you may not have thought of, or new ways to feature successful treatments. Always keep moving forward, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Promoting Yourself Using Practice Marketing Solutions
Another way to find fresh content is via the AAO. The AAO has also complied many different materials that are ideal for sharing. These materials are contained in an area of the AAO member website called “Practice Marketing Solutions.”This is an area of the web site only available once AAO members are logged in. (Access Practice Marketing Solutions via the My Practice / Marketing section of AAOinfo.org. Or log in, and then click the small banner on the left side of the home page.)The AAO has prepared a video that walks the viewer through AAO Practice Marketing Solutions and addresses how tools offered by the AAO can be used by individual members or groups of members. View the Practice Marketing Solutions Video @ 1:20 for a featurette on Practice Marketing Solutions.In short, you’ll find a wealth of information, much of it perfect for sharing on your sites. The information includes a series of sharable videos from the My Life. My Smile. My Orthodontist.SM series, including numerous patient testimonial videos, a brand new series of instructional videos, a series of AAO webisodes, and the latest television commercials.
So that you can easily share the videos, the AAO is permanently hosting them on both YouTube and Vimeo.
Alternately, you may also download and keep permanent copies of the videos to use where applicable, including hosting them on your own servers.In addition to the great video content, why not select a single AAO brochure
to share each week? Simply download a brochure, re-host it on your own web site, and link to it. It’s a great way to spread helpful information to your patients while also driving traffic back to your practice web site.These are just a few of the ways you can keep your social media sites up-to-date with meaningful content. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them. Please contact me so that I can share them in future postings.