Ten ways to build genuine connections on social media

Rachel Dilley explains how a tailored and cohesive content strategy can help elevate your social media presence.

In today’s digital age, harnessing the power of social media is crucial for dental practices to thrive and grow. Rachel Dilley is the founder and chief executive officer of Liberty Dental Group, which opened its first practice, Tower Hill Dental Practice, in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, last year.

In this article, she shares her expertise and experiences of leveraging social media to elevate her practice’s presence and effectively engage with patients.

1. Authenticity is key

Sharing genuine thoughts, aspirations and achievements is essential. During the pandemic, I witnessed a surge in online presence across all industries, and those who succeed are authentic in their profiles and engagement. By remaining mindful of the need for authenticity and sharing personal stories, we can connect with our audience on a deeper level.

My online network doubled in that first month of COVID-19, especially on Linkedin, my preferred platform. I now use it daily to engage with existing and new business colleagues. My content is designed to resonate, and I hope they find my thoughts and stories helpful and inspiring.

2. Tailor content for different platforms

Each social media platform serves a different purpose, and understanding the different audiences allows us to tailor content effectively. Linkedin is an ideal platform for business-focused content.

My account has given me a great way to develop my profile. I want to show that although we are professional, we are also human. I like to share who I am and what my aspirations are, help people through tough times by sharing my experiences and reach new partners who have been able to support our business.

My Facebook page, on the other hand, engages with the local community. Although mainly for family and friends, I also support patient growth by sharing the practice’s social media posts. I’ve lived in Halifax for much of my life and have an extensive network of friends and colleagues in the area, all of whom support and share my posts. This helps the organic reach of Tower Hill Dental Practice’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and circulating content to anyone looking for a dentist in the area.

Facebook has been successful in reaching that local community, as everyone seems to be on there. Our weekly posts are very successful in engaging prospective new patients well. Our Instagram platform is growing. From what we’re seeing, it’s targeting new patients mainly looking for cosmetic treatments.

I like to take time out each month to view all our posts and see how the practice has developed alongside our team’s success. Our Google business account works exceptionally well alongside our website. We follow our Google analytics closely, as they offer insight into what pages of our website are most viewed and what key phrases people are searching for.

3. Ensure cohesion and variety – and don’t forget that rich content!

A cohesive social media strategy is essential. Liberty Dental Group maintains a robust online presence, and there has never been one single post that has offered success. It’s more about the cluster of social media activity that is designed to provide clear insight into our treatments, our team, how personable they are, our work in the community and team values. Consistent and valuable content – blogs, videos, team member profiles, etc – helps build a practice’s brand and reputation.

Quite early on after opening, we shared a short film of our practice, introducing the new internal branding, the treatments offered and the team. It had traction from the beginning and continues circulating on our social media platforms, even eight months later!

4. Have a trusted partner

Although I strongly influence the content released online through feedback during our group’s weekly marketing meetings, my director of business development – marketing and partnerships, Gavin Rees, decides what content makes the grade and how it should be best presented.

Content is scheduled and manually released based on analytical data and our thoughts on the practice’s needs. Gavin and I have worked together in dentistry for more than seven years. We have a great working relationship and have developed trust in each other’s skill sets. Collectively, we know how best to support each other, create a business and develop a supportive team around us.

Our combined knowledge and expertise are undeniably the reason for Tower Hill Dental Practice’s success.

5. Analyse metrics for social media success

By utilising analytics from various platforms, we can track the success of our social media efforts. These insights guide Liberty Dental’s marketing strategy, ensuring it remains aligned with its goals and objectives.

Each platform provides analytical data gathered monthly and presented during business development meetings. The data is cross-checked against the number of new enquiries, new patients and any other helpful information needed to develop our marketing strategy.

6. Adapt to industry trends

The dental industry needs to step up its game regarding marketing. Our patients are our clientele, and a dental practice needs a marketing plan that not only pinpoints its target demographic but also educates patients on their dental health and what we can do to help them.

However, the landscape of dental social media marketing is evershifting, so it is also critical we adapt our strategies to meet these changes as well as our consumer expectations. Staying proactive and investing in a dedicated marketing team is crucial.

7. Reflect your brand and its values

Every social media post reflects our values and brand identity. Through creative content and educational resources, we ensure that Liberty Dental Group remains an integral part of the community while prioritising oral health education. We write blogs that help identify needs and educate our patients and the wider community.

Once I knew I wanted to set up a dental group, I immediately appointed a marketing director. Most dental practices will rely on external marketing and social media consultants or agencies to create and schedule content for their online platforms. Still, we find more value in employing our own creative marketing team, led by Liberty Dental Group’s director of business development, to share our vision.

8. Spare for your own social media engagement

Despite my busy schedule, I dedicate time to managing my social media presence and engaging with the online community. I strive to maintain a strong connection with peers and potential partners by prioritising this activity. Also, I set aside 90 minutes weekly for this, as engaging with the online dental and business community is essential.

I always reply to direct messages from business owners or partners – some who want advice and guidance and others who wish to connect.

9. Consider these tips

Focus on creating relevant, personable and creative content. By understanding your audience and adapting strategies accordingly, you can effectively leverage social media for business growth.

Unlocking social media success requires a strategic approach, authenticity and a commitment to engaging with the community. Consider your audience on each platform and adapt your content to meet your audience’s expectations.

Since opening our Sowerby Bridge practice in May 2023, we have exceeded our expected number of new patients by 50%. In November, our social media platforms successfully brought more than 100 new patients to register with Tower Hill.

We made a difficult decision to place a hold on new patients registering throughout December and January to ensure we could offer excellent service to existing patients.

10. And finally…

To grow your dentistry business, work alongside experienced marketing experts with a history of successfully developing dental businesses or practices.

Liberty Dental Group has consultants who can support dentists, dental practices and businesses. Our team is available for an initial discussion.

This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. To receive a copy, sign up to Dentistry Club.

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