With social media taking the dental industry by storm, we speak to Brendon Macdonald, Chief Content Officer of ApexHub – a publishing and content creation agency that specialises in providing social media management & solutions, to find out more on what dental professionals should be doing to stay ahead of the game.
Social media success is achieved not just by your using it, or how you use it, but by the strategies and infrastructures you must put in place to support it.
One of the key strategies for any budding social media user is to tap into the ‘connected consumers’ target market. This audience is quite unique. Unlike more traditional consumers that are influenced by billboards, television and paper advertisements, or even the more digital-based consumers who use search engines and websites to find out information, connected consumers are like nothing we’ve seen before. They value efficiency, consistency and transparency. They do not rely on media pundits to make decisions; they only trust their social network referrals and are always online and always connecting. Most importantly, connected users do not look for information; it finds them based on their likes, interests and interaction with their social networks.
I urge dental practices to increase their social media efforts. Start tweeting offers, create a blog and connect it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Create custom landing pages on your social media accounts to capture data. Don’t miss these valuable opportunities to engage with potential consumers.
If you are successful in reaching the connected audience, the rewards far outweigh the costs to communicate with a connected consumer as you are now marketing to an audience with an audience of audiences. Simply put, it is word of mouth on steroids. This is where the hype of social media comes from. One person promotes your service to their social network and, potentially, this could be amplified by the size of their network multiplied by their friends’ networks, which could mean visibility for your business to thousands of people in your local area. This earned media (people promoting your brand for you without you having to ask them to) is so much more valuable than paid media promotion. And this is how connected consumers operate.
The other major benefit of adapting to communicating with connected consumers is that as your online networks grow, it will result in you directly owning your own consumer relationships. You become the media rather than renting it! This will mean that the return on the network you build today will exist in five years’ time. You will not have to pay to speak to them in the future.
Understanding your audience and understanding that your business needs to be set up with a strategy and process in place to support social media, will ensure social media success. Take the steps towards becoming a social business today. The networks you cultivate will become your biggest asset.