“Nobody (not even us!) can sit in front of a blank computer screen three times a week and pull something out of our hat each time like it’s no big deal. Publishing regular content is a challenge for anyone who does not have a plan. So that is exactly what we do–we come up with a plan to guide us on the days that creative genius does not come naturally.” – #TeamBeacon
A lot of practice managers know that social media is important, but they simply haven’t been able to get a strategy moving forward. If this is you, we feel your pain.
That’s why we put together this quick guide outlining our approach to consistent social media publishing, for orthodontics!
First, we’re going to do a quick refresh on the top 3 platforms we recommend at Beacon. Then we’ll go straight into our key to success: the Editorial Calendar. We’ll also touch on paid social media advertising for a bit! Enjoy the ride!
Facebook in a Nutshell
There is no question about the popularity of Facebook and its potential for reaching a significantly large audience of prospective orthodontics patients, but just in case, here are some statistics to ease your mind.
What makes Facebook such a great tool for reaching these people is its targeting abilities. When you publish paid content to Facebook (see: Boosting Posts and Advertising), you are not simply showing your content to the world at large–you have the ability to tell Facebook who you would like to show your advertisements to based on important demographics such as location, title, income, interests, and more.
In order to grow and maintain a following on Facebook, we recommended that you post to your orthodontics page 3-5 times per week. The content of these posts should follow an Editorial Calendar to publish consistently, which we will talk about in a moment.
Instagram is an important platform for reaching a millennial audience as well as the teenage population (prime time for braces!). The platform’s most active users are between 18 and 29 years old,3 with 72% of teens saying that they use Instagram.4
A good rule of thumb for posting Instagram content is that “everything that goes on Instagram can be shared on Facebook, but not everything that is shared on Facebook should go on Instagram.” This is because the content that performs well on Instagram includes warm and engaging images, and not all Facebook posts are that way.
Instagram is a visually-oriented platform that works best when you are sharing high-quality images taken in good perspective. If you have a natural photographer on staff at your orthodontics practice, you will want to enlist his or her help for this platform.
Instagram also thrives on “everyday” images, photos that provide a sneak peak into the visual life of the person, business, or practice being followed. Arm the photo-savvy members of your orthodontics team with the ability to share pictures of pretty views out the practice windows, indoor plants, positive interactions with patients (if they are willing to have their photo shared), and more! This will bring life and a following to your page.
Plan to share a couple posts types from the Editorial Calendar that include engaging images each week in addition to the photos your team photographers take!
If you are just getting started on Instagram, we recently wrote a blog with 14 tips to optimize an Instagram for Business profile. Check it out for a deeper look at some of these concepts!
Tips for Linkedin
LinkedIn is coming back as a great way to do business-to-business marketing. Although your orthodontics practice is likely not targeting other businesses, LinkedIn can be valuable for vendor relationships as well as for reaching prospective new hires.
Among social media platforms, LinkedIn is a powerhouse for business-to-business traffic. The platform makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to business-to-business websites and blogs.5 Although there are only 154 million LinkedIn users from the U.S., this is a select group of people, comprised primarily of senior-level staff and decision-makers.6 In addition, there are currently 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn as more and more realize that it is an effective platform for networking to find jobs.7
Content that performs well on LinkedIn includes business and industry news as well as personal coaching/life advice, which makes sense considering the demographics.
If your orthodontics practice is looking to forge new vendor relationships, strengthen old ones, or if you are currently hiring, we recommend posting 3-5 times per week.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar and Publish Consistently
At this point you are probably thinking, “This information is great and all, really it is, but how do I make it happen?”
Yours is a common pain point among our clients–they understand the importance of publishing consistently to their social media accounts, but they have not been able to get the task off the ground.
As a social media agency, our job is to publish social media content on a consistent basis, and we understand the struggle. Nobody (not even us!) can sit in front of a blank computer screen three times a week and pull something out of our hat each time like it’s no big deal. Publishing regular content is a challenge for anyone who does not have a plan. So that is exactly what we do–we come up with a plan to guide us on the days that creative genius does not come naturally. We call this plan our “Editorial Calendar.”
Here is a page from an Editorial Calendar we recently produced for one of our clients (name and logo blurred for anonymity):
At the start of service for each of our social media clients, we sit down as a team and brainstorm 3-5 categories of content or “post types” that we could publish on a consistent basis. These categories are informed by our knowledge of the goals of our clients as well as market research. If you haven’t already come up with goals or done market research with your orthodontics team, this is a good starting place.
Once the heavy lifting of goal setting and market research has been done, you are ready to create your editorial calendar. Here are a few ideas for post types we have used in the past:
- Educational (see example above) – Use this post type to tackle the incorrect perceptions of your followers that are holding them back from doing business with you, or for things they simply do not know. Educational posts establish authority, so we often recommend them to groups who want to be thought leaders in a particular topic space.
- Blog or Article Shares – If your orthodontics practice has a blog, sharing those posts on social media will drive more traffic to your website. You can also share articles by other thought leaders in your industry if they share your perspective on orthodontics. Doing so reinforces a position of educational authority for your practice.
- Human Interest – We have experienced wild success with our clients sharing human interest posts on social media. These are posts that focus on a particular person and their story, such as a staff member or a patient (with permission). As an example of this post type and the kind of following it receives, visit the Humans of New York Facebook page.
- Behind-the-Scenes – Behind-the-scenes posts promote the transparency and authenticity of your practice. If you are able to show your orthodontics staff working directly with patients (with permission), great! If not, photos from staff get-togethers and fun moments around the practice are just as effective if not more so.
- Before and After – Orthodontics practices especially can benefit from before and after posts. Show the value of your services by posting quality before and after pictures of your patients on social media (again, with permission)!
- Lifestyle – Tying your services to the lifestyle of prospective patients will do wonders for your practice. Show smiling, happy people with the demographics of your target audience and talk about the direct benefit to them of getting orthodontic work done with you.
- Videos – If you have the capacity to produce promotional videos for your practice, social media is exactly where you need to be sharing them!
- Events – A lot of practices are involved in their local community, either sponsoring events or volunteering in some capacity. In the advent of an upcoming event, share the information to your social media accounts and invite others to participate!
- Promotions – Practices who run promotions should be sharing them to their social media account. It’s a no-brainer for getting more participation!
- Contests – Contests are a great way to foster social media engagement among your audience! We have discovered that photo sharing contests work best, where the followers are asked to share their favorite photo from a particular category for a chance to win your services, such as “your favorite picture of mom” for Mother’s Day.
- Quizzes – Quizzes are a very engaging form of content on social media as well. You have probably seen this post type before, any time you have found out “what kind of cookie you are” or “which character from the office you would be.” Use tools like Lead Quizzes to create questionnaires that resonate with your audience.
- Campaigns – Social media campaigns allow your practice to push an important message that challenges perceptions and expresses the heart of your business services. Brainstorming a campaign is a slightly more challenging task than simply developing an editorial calendar, but if you feel like you need one, go for it!
With an Editorial Calendar in place, it should be easy for your orthodontics team to stay on top of publishing for your practice!
Something that we do and we also recommend for our clients is to schedule posts in advance. Facebook Business Manager allows you to draft posts, schedule them in advance, and even post-date them! Our team writes posts at least a week ahead of when they are scheduled to go live to avoid any kind of “getting stuck” on content ideas.
Boosting Posts and Advertising
If you have been publishing for your orthodontics practice on Facebook for any amount of time, you have probably seen the blue “Boost Post” button on the bottom of your posts:
Boosting your posts extends your reach beyond the people following your Facebook page and allows you to target audiences according to the demographics we discussed earlier.
After you click the blue button, you will be prompted to create an audience, set a budget, and decide how long you would like your posts to run. We recommend that our clients spend a minimum of $300-$500 each month, distributed across 2-3 advertisements, in order to gain worthwhile traction with Facebook advertising. That said, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you get your targeting right or your ads will flop.
While boosting posts can be done through Business Manager, running traditional Facebook advertising is accomplished through Ads Manager. In Ads Manager, you can dive deeper into targeting and the A/B testing of your ads as well as the analytics. Ads Manager is too in-depth to get into in this article, but here is a brief summary of how to make Facebook ads that bring in results.
We hope this quick guide helps your orthodontics team get a social media strategy up and out! If you get stuck at any point in this process and would like to work with us, our VP of Marketing Jennifer Christensen is always up for a free consultation. You can also reach out to our President directly at [email protected]!