Twitter for dentists

Using Twitter the right way for engagement and SEO

winking Twitter birdIt appears that lots of dentists are attending Twitter courses, setting up accounts and embarking on a new phase of their social media journey.

However, taking a closer look at new accounts a few weeks down the track, it appear that lots of practices are getting it wrong and in doing so, wasting time without gaining any rewards. Here are a few of the basic mistakes I see regularly:

Too much self-promotion

Twitter is a social media channel – emphasis on “social”. One of it’s main purposes is to provide a vehicle to promote engagement with interested parties. This doesn’t mean pushing out loads of self-promotional snippets and broadcasts about the services you offer which, frankly, folks will tend to ignore. Worse they will simply “unfollow” you.

A much better tactic is to engage on a more personal/social level, still being completely professional, but providing updates that people will find interesting and worthy of their attention. Once you’ve established a level of trust, then you can introduce a subtle, low-level of promotional information.

Loss of momentum

There are lots of stats which show that many Twitter accounts are abandoned either immediately, after a first tweet or just several weeks down the track after opening. This is completely true of many dental Twitter accounts too. Take a look and you will see lots of examples where there is a flurry of activity for the first couple of weeks followed by a tail-off and then finally dormant. Suffice to say that this isn’t going to work. You have to maintain the effort and keep a reasonable flow of traffic through your account.

Over-reliance on automation

There are lots of tools available to help you manage your Twitter account and some of them are excellent when it comes to streamlining and saving time. However, they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. I regularly see accounts where it is clear that the person responsible for social media at the dental practice just loaded up the Twitter tool with a bunch of bland updates and then set it on repeat. This simply means that the same bland stuff gets recycled out repeatedly and simply irritates your users (= unfollow!)

Superficial

“Just had lunch and the suns come out” – we’ve all seen that sort of thing and wondered what the Tweeter had in mind when they compiled it. That sort of update is of no use to anyone – just don’t do it.

Asking for re-tweets and other desperate measures

If I’m interested in your tweets, then I may consider re-tweeting you. But please don’t ask me to. Asking for re-tweets is old hat, unnecessary and will be off-putting for many.

Following anyone just to get your follower count up

You will regularly see accounts where the user has followed anyone and everyone in a misguided attempt to boost their own following. You need to consider who you are interested in and keep your follows targeted.

Disproportionate follows versus followed stats

There is no evidence to suggest that following way more folk than follow you is harmful other than in the credibility stakes. If I see an account where the users follows way more than follow back, I’m starting to wonder if they have any influence or authority at all. I’m not advocating paranoia about your follows/followed ratio but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Don’t spam and don’t abuse

This goes without saying but you *must* remain professional on your social network even when you’re having fun.

Failure to realise the benefits for search engine optimisation

Ok, I can already hear the SEO guys jumping up and shouting that Google have announced zero influence on search ranking from social channels. But that’s kind of missing the point completely. Twitter is a great way to broadcast updates about your new website content, blogs etc to help gain links back to your website.

It’s also extremely useful to gain insights and useful information from influencers in your topic area – information which can be re-broadcast as part of your content marketing efforts.

Summary

follow me on TwitterTwitter is an important component of any dental practice’s online marketing plan. However, it needs to be used professionally and sustainably to realise its true potential.

If you need a hand with getting started on Twitter or any of the other popular social channels, please give the Dental Media team a call on 01332 672548.

Oh and please consider following us on Twitter for the latest dental marketing news. Just click the image above for our Twitter page.