Why your outsourced social media marketing isn’t working

Bland dental social media posts patient engagement

Active use of social media is important for a number of reasons; the primary ones being patient engagement, to demonstrate “social proof” (more here) and also to indirectly assist your search engine rankings. The individual elements are covered in detail elsewhere in this blog.

But is your social media marketing (or SMO as it is known) something which you can just hand off to a third party marketing organisation for a few hundred pounds a month, or is it something which you need to take an active role in at the practice? Let’s take a closer look at what’s needed to make your social media efforts pay off….

Social media marketing companies – what do they offer?

There are numerous companies who offer this type of service and you may have seen various packages out there – 3 tweets per weeks for £xx pounds per month, 5 Facebook posts for £yy pounds per month etc etc. It’s actually quite easy for a web marketing company to aggregate and re-distribute dental themed content of this nature on behalf of their clients; indeed much of it can be automated. But is it worth it?

In reality, very few social media providers actually offer to try to engage with your intended audience on your behalf and frankly most of them wouldn’t really be able to anyway. So what you are actually getting in many cases, is a stream of rather bland, dental related tweets and Facebook posts fired out into the social media sphere without much hope of engagement.

You may feel you are ticking the social media box but what are you really getting for it?

The hard truth is that if you want to make a success of social media at your dental practice, then you need to play an active role in it too. And of course that takes some time and a degree of commitment.

So which dental social media campaigns actually work?

Let’s be sure to remember here, that the primary role of social media is to encourage engagement – the word-of-mouth referrals, social proof and SEO benefits all knock on from that. Without engagement, you won’t really be making much progress. To really be successful with this type of engagement, your audience needs to understand that they are interacting with *you* – not really the third party marketer working on your behalf. So involvement at the practice level, even if only in part, needs to be there.

By all means, allow your marketing partner to help you generate and broadcast content but you *must* supplement this with personalised information from the practice – material that your audience can actually empathise with and which gives you the best chance of engagement.

Monitoring your social media channels and responding appropriately

There are a few good reasons to actively monitor your social media, not least to ensure that nothing malicious ends up there. For your campaign to be successful, you also need to be in a position to respond to those who wish to interact with you. Remember that your social media marketer probably hasn’t been contracted to do that, and even if they have, would you really want them to anyway? You, or appropriately briefed and trusted members of the dental team, need to have an active involvement – not just your marketer.

Summary

Fire-and-forget, fully outsourced social media generally doesn’t work for small businesses, dentists included. What does work, is where a member(s) of the practice team take a proactive interest in the campaign, working closely with the marketing team to provide the “real” practice content that will give you the best chance of engagement and success. Don’t be tempted to simply tick the social media box by fully outsourcing everything – chances are it won’t work.

If you would like to discuss how to implement social media at your practice with the best chance of success, please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548.