Why your outsourced social media isn’t working

Don’t waste hundreds of pounds on under-performing social media services – here’s why….

There is a lot of skepticism in dental world about the value-for-money offered by some search engine marketing companies, and rightly so. There is a strong tendency for some of these SEO packages to offer lots but actually deliver very little, as we’ve covered elsewhere in our blog.

SEO done well is invaluable, but can be a rip-off in the hands of the unscrupulous.

More recently, the same dental marketing companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon, offering similar packages, apparently designed to bring lots of new patients flocking to the door. To be clear, here I’m talking about the services which primarily offer posting to your page and the odd boosted post, not the more complex social media advertising campaigns using landing pages and lead funnels. For the latter, expert external guidance is recommended.

Whilst these superficial social media services seem useful on face value, when you look closely, they’re actually a really bad investment, and in today’s blog we’ll take a closer look why.

Outsourced social media doesn’t really work

The overriding reason why you are wasting money with these type of packages is that outsourced social media doesn’t really work at all. So even if your agency is posting content regularly on your behalf, it’s likely to be of an impersonal, generic nature which simply doesn’t engage users. This same content is used over and over again and is more likely to put users off, rather than encourage them to interact with you.

Content which has a chance of working is typically generated by the practice team and of a practice-centric nature. Outside of this, you’re pretty much wasting your time.

The types of monthly packages you’ll see offered by social media agencies, often for hundreds of pounds per month, tend to leverage on the lack of knowledge of subscribers and to illustrate, here are a few examples of what’s out there:

  • updates to your profile logo and photographs – (this is straightforward and very easy to do yourself)
  • 4 or 5 posts to your page per week – (typically this is generic, low-value material of the type noted above)
  • boosted posts – (simple to do and also not very effective when compared to the targeted Facebook advertising mentioned above)
  • monthly reports – (usually a simple regurgitation of the standard Facebook reporting and, if you’re lucky, simple integration with Google Analytics)
  • guidance and compliance – (the GDC standards for social media usage are not really that hard to comply with – what are you really buying?)

In fairness, a few suppliers try to integrate a practice’s own content into the mix, but this relies on you having suitable content in the first instance.

Be aware before you subscribe

On the face of it, outsourced social media services of this nature may look like good value and a solution to your requirements, but in most cases they aren’t! Experience of working with many practices on their digital marketing shows quite clearly that the ones who succeed with social media are the ones who take an active part themselves. This is clearly one area where “done by you” rather than “done for you” works much, much better.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect is that companies who provide this type of service are, more often than not, deliberately minimalist when it comes to reporting the number of new patient enquiries which happened as a direct result of their work. Consequently it’s difficult for a lay-person, in this scenario a dentist or practice manager, to determine what is actually happening. Many then just continue with the service in the belief that it’s delivering, rather than actually having tangible results to prove it. So if you do subscribe, make sure that whatever reporting is provided really does show the key information you need, not some nebulous statistic like how many people your boosted post reached.

Summary

Most dental marketing companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon by providing outsourced “fully managed” services. However, experience shows that the large majority of these are truly bad value and do little to help with new patient acquisition. The quality of the generic posting on offer is poor and the reporting often deliberately vague, so that the real results of the campaigns are difficult to establish.

Success with social media is possible but really is best “done by you” rather than “done for you”. The exception to this would be where you will benefit from expert guidance to configure targeted advertising and landing pages, but for the “day to day” content and posting, the DIY route is best. Our advice would be “don’t waste your cash”!

If you’d like more information about social media promotional services for dentists and the best way forward for your own practice, please get in touch with Dental Media on 01332 672548.