Twitter is an essential part of any dentist’s social media marketing plan. This micro-blogging platform allows you to broadcast and follow the latest news, engage with patients and influencers, and join in on conversations. All of this means more attention for your dental practice, which leads to new patients and better patient retention! In this quick guide, we’ll explain the benefits of engaging with a broad audience on Twitter and the ins-and-outs of dental practice marketing on Twitter.
How does Twitter work?
Twitter is a short-form blogging site where each entry has a limit of 140 characters. If your tweets are public, anyone can see them—if they’re private, only your followers can view your Twitter stream. You can use hashtags to make your tweets searchable according to keywords. For instance, if you use #dentalimplants, everyone searching for that hashtag will find your tweet in their search results. Every Twitter account name starts with an @ symbol, and using other people’s accounts in tweets is like sending them a public message: when you tweet “@DPRLive is reviewing new #toothbrushes” Dental Products Report will be notified that you mentioned them. Also, anyone searching for #toothbrushes will see your tweet in their results! It pays to research hashtags and use those with the best search results: this can include dental terms, trending topics, or even conference hashtags that will get you into the Twitter streams that people are already following!
Ways you can use Twitter
Setting up a Twitter account for your dental practice gives you one more way to use online marketing to reach current and potential new patients and multipliers where they already communicate! As of April 2016, there were 310 million Twitter users—a huge pool of people for your practice to potentially communicate with! You can use your tweets to post updates about your practice, useful dental news and tips and to cross-promote blog posts from your dental practice website. You can also use Twitter to stay current on news and trends by following other dental professionals, news sites, and organizations. By following influencers in dentistry and interacting with them, you can access targeted information and communities of users.
To start or join conversations on Twitter, retweet other people’s posts, include account names in your tweets, or “favorite” other tweets—this will allow you to include outside content in your Twitter stream. It will also encourage others to do the same with your tweets, which will broaden your reach! When you interact with other accounts on Twitter, their followers become aware of you and vice versa. The more you interact on Twitter, the more it will work for you to broadcast your practice to a wider audience of potential followers and patients. The more followers, the better! You can use Twitter Analytics to follow your account statistics and tailor your Twitter marketing plan.
Some things to avoid on Twitter
When planning out your Twitter posts, avoid repetitive or duplicate posts—a lack of variety can turn followers off. Also, stay away from controversial or political topics. Twitter users go to other accounts for this kind of content, but they look to your account for relevant posts that feature your practice or are dentistry-related. Preserve the privacy of patients by never mentioning them by their names. In terms of frequency, some say posting to 3-5 posts per day is ideal: more can be annoying or look robotic, while letting your account sit idle means falling out of touch with your Twitter audience! Think of your Twitter account as a radio station: if you keep the programs current, consistent, and engaging, people will want to tune in. If there’s too much advertising, random information, or lots of “radio silence,” people will simply tune out.
Once you have your Twitter account set and the posts are flowing, encourage your patients to follow you in all of your patient communications. Put a small sign at the reception desk with Twitter logo and your Twitter account name so patients will add you to their feed. The more engaging followers the better! Dental marketing with Twitter works best when everyone is in on the conversation!