Social Media for Orthodontists: The Complete 2021 Guide

Running any kind of social media page is tough, but it can be especially complex and frustrating for orthodontists, who have to deal with the day-to-day running of their practices as well. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can leverage social media to generate new consults every month and bring steady business to your practice with a little planning and forethought.

Let’s break down how you can make social media work for you in detail.

Why is Social Media Marketing So Tough for Orthodontists?

When most orthodontists consider focusing more on social media marketing, they usually find two key aspects to be more difficult than other factors. These are:

  • Keeping up a regular social media posting schedule to stay relevant, particularly when practice owners have to juggle so many other responsibilities
  • Difficulty in generating high quality and educational posts compared to generic and uninspired posts that don’t draw traffic

Fortunately, the right social media marketing strategies can help you to overcome both of these challenges. Let’s break down how now.

Understanding Paid Traffic vs Organic Traffic

Before we go further, you have to understand the difference between paid traffic and organic traffic (traffic, in this context, being attention you get from the public to your practice’s website or social media pages).

Organic traffic (also called unpaid traffic) is any public attention or page views you get for free. Paid traffic, then, is traffic you pay for through targeted efforts or marketing products, whether it’s through purchasing ads or other methods.

Organic traffic is tough to come by, partially because social media marketing is so inundated with tons of content from both competing orthodontic practices and other businesses. But it’s always nice to have since you don’t theoretically have to spend a penny to get it.

To make the most of your social media marketing, you’ll want to keep your organic traffic expectations low but still put some effort forward with organic traffic lead generation. You’ll also want to emphasize paid traffic.

Why is Paid Traffic Crucial?

Basically, paid traffic is the only way you can get real leads and conversions to your orthodontic practice. Without paid traffic, you won’t have much of a presence on social media platforms unless someone directly searches for you, which implies they’ve already been led to your practice from some other source.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on paid versus organic traffic generation at a ratio of 70 to 30. In other words, 70% of your social media marketing should be about generating paid advertisements and traffic and 30% should focus on organic posts and traffic generation.

Choosing Social Media Platforms

You don’t have unlimited time and energy, so it’s important to know where to focus your social media marketing efforts. But with so many popular platforms out there, which should you choose?

As with most things in marketing, it’s best to look at the data.

In October 2020, for instance, the three major social media titans had the following active user accounts:

  • Facebook – 2.6 billion monthly active users
  • Instagram – 1 billion monthly active users
  • TikTok – 689 million monthly active users

As you can see, there’s one place where you should clearly focus your time and attention, and it’s certainly not TikTok even though most people are talking about it. In fact, it’s in fashion to say that Facebook is dead, but the data clearly shows a different picture.

Facebook is also a good social media platform to focus on because of the tools it already provides and the format of the content you create on that platform. For example, TikTok requires you to make more complex content since all content on the platform is video-based.

Facebook comes packed with a dedicated ad manager platform, is integrated with Instagram, and allows you to make image-based or video ads depending on your resources and needs.

While it’s true that newer platforms can theoretically be better for rapid, short-term growth, that growth has a limit. In the long term, it’s better to focus on a more stable platform like Facebook.

Organic Traffic Strategies for Your Practice

Now you know where to prioritize your social media marketing efforts, both in terms of the platform you should use and how much you should focus on organic and paid traffic, respectively.

Now let’s take a look at some organic traffic generation strategies you can leverage for your practice starting today.

Optimize Your Profiles

One easy way to make your orthodontic practice more accessible is to simply optimize your social media profiles. Make sure information is up-to-date, post some beautiful profile and landing photos, and invest in a little SEO-focused copywriting to make your profile description and tagline shine.

The more attractive your social media profiles are, the more likely people are to click through the rest of the profile and eventually get to your site.

Document, Don’t Create

When you’ve fixed up your social media profiles, it’s time to start posting content. To get the most bang for your buck, follow the above mantra: document rather than create.

This is a lot easier and more convenient than it sounds. People are more willing to try out an orthodontic practice that shows what goes on inside that practice. Simple, right?

All you have to do is take pictures of your staff and your patients having a good time, especially when they’re ecstatic at the results of successful orthodontic appointments. Social media, in large part, is about sharing the day-to-day moments of your life instead of making artificial content.

Get someone to constantly post candid (but helpful and well shot) photos on your social media profiles and you’ll be well on your way to generating high-quality organic traffic.

Always Avoid Stock Photos

By the same token, you should never use stock photos from sites like Shutterstock. It lowers the quality of your organic content and can actively turn traffic away rather than bring more people to your practice.

Stay Social on Social Media

The entire point of social media is to socialize and engage with people who show up to chat. Act like your social media profiles are party hubs and chat with people who ask questions or seem interested in what you can provide. There’s a reason social media manager is now a legitimate career, and it’s because staying social on social media is a great way to generate organic traffic.

Educate (and Entertain)

From time to time, it’s a good idea to break up your entertaining, “day in the life” style posts with more informative content, like educational videos showing the details of certain procedures or long-form written posts explain the benefits of getting orthodontic work done sooner rather than later.

This is both helpful for potential clients and helps to establish authority in your field, which is excellent for generating trust.

Posting Frequency – When and How Often Should You Post?

Lots of orthodontists aren’t quite sure how often they should be posting on social media. It’s a good rule of thumb to post on any Instagram stories you’re running every day whenever possible, then add to your profile every other day. Choose a great photo or post to add to your Facebook profile to slowly build up a rich reservoir of content people can browse after finding your profile through paid ads.

Pro Tip – Outsource if Possible

One last thing – consider outsourcing your photography and social media posting work if it’s in the budget. A professional photographer can make even average “candid” photos look phenomenal, and a professional social media manager can ensure that a steady stream of content reaches prospective clients while you focus on running your practice.

Paid Traffic Strategies for Your Practice

You’ll also want to leverage some smart paid traffic generation strategies for your orthodontic practice to use in conjunction with the organic strategies above.

Run Ads on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook and Instagram ads are phenomenal for generating paid traffic, particularly on the two largest social media platforms in the industry. You don’t have to spend tons of cash to get a good return: anywhere between $500-$1000 a month on social media ads can net you multiple new consultations.

Qualify Leads, Then Follow Up

Of course, running ads is just the start. You have to then qualify leads (which involves making sure that leads brought to you by ads or other sources will actually lead to consultations) and follow up to secure appointments.

This does take a little extra manpower. If you can’t afford to spend the time or money to qualify and follow up on leads, lower your expectations regarding ad performance. In this case, try to make simple ads that send people to your website and hope for the best.

Alternatively, you can contact OrthoPatients to do this service for you!

Bonus Tip: Leverage Social Media Groups

Lastly, heavily consider joining various Facebook and other social media groups. Local groups are particularly nice as they can connect you to prospective leads who are most likely to visit your practice due to their geographic proximity.

When you join a Facebook group for local businesses, for example, be sure to stay active and engaged genuinely rather than spamming your business information, as this can turn people off your practice permanently.

Wrap Up

As you can see, social media marketing can be an excellent way to increase the number of consults you get each month. It’ll take a little time and effort, but with the right strategies and some expert assistance from OrthoPatients, your practice will be fully booked in no time. Make sure to check out our free training to see how we can help you implement these strategies today!

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