The 4 Essentials to Exceptional Online Marketing Content
Part 3: Be Engaging
Now that you are posting relevant and relatable content, you probably have more patients and future patients interacting with your content on social media. This is a huge accomplishment and that relevant and relatable content is going to win over some new patients and help to keep your current patients informed. But it’s time to take it a step further with our third essential to exceptional online marketing content: engagement. Posting content for your audience is a great start, but you need to draw them in further after the initial post. You can do that by interacting and engaging with your audience.
Engagement is defined as occupying, attracting or involving someone’s interest or attention to cause participation; establishing a meaningful contact or connection with others. When we generate engaging content, we are effectively building relationships with others using social media. Building relationships online isn’t really a new concept, but it can sometimes feel unnecessary for businesses. If you think about it, though, if your patients only interact with you when they come into your office for an appointment, and if you are only relying on those patients to spread word of your business to potential patients, then you are really limiting your reach. By producing high quality, engaging content, you’re automatically building a connection with others online. Although some of these connections might be unseen and you might not even know those you are building a relationship with yet, but by posting engaging content, you are laying foundational building blocks for connection and relationship.
If you are new to the idea of building relationships online, then you are probably wondering what you need to do to interact and create engagement with your audience on social media. Our New Patient Group marketing team does an exceptional job of creating that content and maintaining engagement with your audience on social media platforms. Here are some of their strategies for engaging with audience members on social media.
Like, Comment, Respond
One of the easiest ways to engage with your audience is to press the like button as they comment on the posts you’re already sharing. If someone leaves a comment on your post, make sure you respond! Post a comment back and continue interacting on your post threads. Without engagement, social media is only media. In order to have the social aspect, you must interact with your audience. When people engage with your practice through social media, they are seeking connection, so make sure you aren’t denying them that connection right off the bat.
Engage and connect with your audience on social media through likes, favorites, comments, direct messages, shares, retweets, saves, replies, clicks and mentions. Utilizing these simple engagement tools on your social media platforms can actually help you fight the algorithm and will help your original posts reach more people. So, by simply engaging with your audience, you are furthering your audience reach and increasing your connections to other potential and future patients.
Share It All
Whether you realize it or not, you are a leader in your community. You impact your community every day by the work you perform in your office, and even the work you do outside of your practice. Are you participating in community events? Are you hosting fundraisers? Do you support other local businesses or schools? Does your office have annual events? There are probably several things you do daily in your community that you can capitalize on by sharing them on your social platforms. But isn’t this bragging? Well, actually no. This is creating awareness of the events and involvement you have with your community, and sharing these events might even encourage more participation from your audience. You can turn what you are already doing into online engagement, with a single post! Our NPG marketing team has the skills and knowledge to properly present these events and efforts into eye-catching, aesthetic content, without a boastful tone and with an inviting, relationship-sparking one instead.
A cool example of sharing what you are already doing from one of our clients, Dr. Wittler in Westfield, IN. Her office sponsored a daddy-daughter, mother-son dance and they set up stands with various activities for the children. Now this event alone naturally brings about some positive attention from those that attend, but because Dr. Wittler and her office shared photos and reels on Instagram, they were able to engage with their audience and reach people they normally wouldn’t.
Another great example of our clients utilizing social media to create engagement with their audience comes from Dr. Lantzy in Roanoke, TX. His office hosted a pajama drive and encouraged locals to bring in pajama donations for children and teens in need. His office filmed FaceBook live videos of the drive, posted photos and interacted back and forth with viewers through comments. Because of this social media content, the Lantzy team was able to engage with their audience, generate awareness of the pajama drive, and even encouraged more donations through the videos.
Enter Our Contest
Another way to interact with your audience and create social media engagement is to host contests your patients and potential patients can enter. Dr. Whitlock, one of our clients out of Springdale, AR, does a great job of hosting various contests and highlighting national holidays for his patients and potential patients to interact with.
Your contests don’t have to be complicated or super detailed to gain traction and to generate engagement. You can post a contest as simple as a $5 Sonic gift card giveaway, or a contest similar to Dr. Whitlock’s, encouraging viewers to post a picture of themselves all over town and tag your practice in the post. Having a contest that prompts participants to tag your practice, or to reshare your post, will create a ripple effect and help you gain views from others that wouldn’t have seen your post otherwise. It’s an easy and quick way to enhance patient loyalty, attract new followers, increase social media reach, and to hopefully gain new patients.
Some of your contests should be simple and easy for your audience to participate in, but some practices have more in depth and extravagant contests that require a bit more involvement. If you want the ultimate engagement from your audience, and potential audience members, you need to combine community interaction and involvement with your contests. And any contest of post that sparks an emotional reaction from your audience will create an even deeper connection from that engagement. For example, Harwell and Cook, our client in Amarillo, TX, has an annual contest called “Smile for a Lifetime,” that gives a deserving teacher the smile of their dreams for free. Parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers, students, etc., nominate a teacher of their choice to receive a smile makeover, and then the online community votes for the teacher they think should win.
This is a great example of using social media to maximize one contest to give your practice several forms of content, and to really amplify engagement. The contest is shared on social media, community members get to send in their nominations, then they are able to vote and help decide who receives a smile makeover. Throughout the entire process, the practice is also able to share reels, videos, pictures, posts on their feed and stories, use hyperlinks and share consistent updates of the process on their social media platforms. Ultimately, the free case is awarded to a teacher ends up being priceless in the community because of its impact and its reach. And the practice itself ends up making that revenue back through all of the positive engagement and new clients that eventually generate more cases. If you are unfamiliar or unsure how to navigate these various forms of content, do not fear, because our digital marketing team can help you manage contest content just like they help Harwell and Cook with their “Smile for a Lifetime,” contest.
Remember that without engagement, social media is just media. As you start interacting with your audience more on your various social channels, it might feel odd and foreign at first, but just remember social media interactions might be the only way an audience member hears about your practice. Just think of your social media engagement the same way you think about a conversation in person, and note that every interaction will leave an impression on your viewers. If the social media engagement seems a little daunting and you’re not sure where to start, or if you know your practice doesn’t have the time to continuously interact with online audience members, utilize our expert digital marketing team. We’ll leave you to focus on your dental and orthodontic cases, and we will handle the social media engagement. We will keep you relevant, relatable, and engaged in the eyes of your audience, so you continue to get new patients as word of your practice spreads on the internet.
Continue following along in our four part series and read the final tip to Remember to follow along our four part series and see what the second Essentials to Exceptional Online Marketing Content is in our next blog post. During your normal daily activities this week, note all your office is already doing in the community and think about the engagement you will receive once you share that content. Dream up patient contests, big or small, and start engaging with your audience in small ways, whether it’s liking their comment, or retweet their message. Before you know it, social media engagement will be second nature. Focus on engagement, and before you know it, you’ll start to gain new patients!