Orthodontic practices should take advantage of social media for two reasons. Used wisely, social media can widen the reach of a practice’s marketing messages, leading to a stronger connection with existing patients and a higher number of new patients. Social media can also give your practice an advantage over the competition when it comes to ortho shopping. Studies have shown that 75% of consumers rely on social media to inform purchasing decisions.

Facebook connects you with two main ortho audiences: parents of prospective patients and teens. According to the Pew Research Center, 57% of all American adults and 73% of those aged 12 to 17 use Facebook.

Orthodontic practices may also want to join a photo-based site like Instagram or Pinterest to show how they transform smiles with before-and-after photos (which can be made anonymous, if needed).

No matter the platform, following are some general guidelines to observe:

  1. Link, connect, network. Every “follow,” “comment,” “like,” “tag,” or “share” increases the number of people reached. Include links to your social sites on web pages and at the bottom of emails. Comment on patients’ posts and updates as well.
  2. Use established marketing messages. Highlight the same differentiators (traits that make the practice stand out from competitors) no matter the media.
  3. Post frequently. Social media enables an ongoing dialogue. Share interesting news about the practice, testimonials (with permission), reminders about protecting oral health, and articles the patient base will find interesting. The timing may vary and is far less important than relevancy and interest to your audience.
  4. Monitor sites for negative feedback. Unhappy parents or patients may make the most noise, but social media offers practices a chance to address complaints immediately. Also, if practices post positive stories on a regular basis, they can balance out any complainers.

If you want to keep your ortho practice relevant and widen your influence, create a social media presence and add your voice to the conversation.

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