Social Media in Lockdown: Part 1 of 2
I recently attended a very interesting webinar by a good friend of mine, Shaz Memon titled “Building Influence with Instagram”. Since much of what Shaz mentioned resonated with me, I thought that it might prove useful to many of you, so I extracted some of the pertinent points from his presentation. Much of this form of communication I believe can be used in most social media platforms and not just be restricted to Instagram. I have also peppered many on these ideas with my own personal philosophy around the subject.
Shaz Memon is founder of Digimax Dental, a dental marketing agency in London. He has recently published a book called “Instagram for Dentists”, which has had some great reviews. If you get a chance do look into this.
Patients do not understand what is happening in our industry at this moment in time. They do not know what we are doing on a scientific and clinical level to overcome the various challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic. All they know if that pre-covid dental treatment was available to them and now it is not, and that they are being triaged to urgent dental care centres (which in many cases are quite a distance away). They have lost their connection with their dentist.
This is a perfect time to communicate well with your patients when they are fully absorbed in social media as a great way of connecting with family, friends and colleagues. Social media proves to be an excellent platform to communicate in an easy, quick and affordable manner.
You have spent time over the past years, building relationships with your patients in the form of goodwill of your practice. Now is the time to make sure that you retain and support your patients.
You need to remember that people will still have dental needs and so they are still going to need dentists. The only difference now is their choices may be affected in difference ways depending upon their experience during this lockdown phase.
Since screen time is very high at the moment (probably the highest its ever been) and people are absorbing a lot more information, you can become part of their world by putting across the right type of messages.
Incorrect and insensitive messages will simply disengage our patients who are not in the right frame of mind to assimilate these. Also, marketing messages attempting to “sell” in the same way that most businesses did pre-covid may even damage the brand long term. Hence, we must carefully construct our communication in a thoughtful and caring manner.
Social media communication should be sympathetic to the current times. Here are some useful tips that Shaz shared:
- Communicate how you are going to manage emergency patients by explaining what the procedure is now and what they should do in a clear way.
- Explain the reason why you have closed, since some patients may not understand that we are governed and have to follow the regulations.
- Reassure patients regularly.
- If you offer e-consultations tell people about this. Actively promote it by saying that you are here to help them in any way you can. Also make access to you easy.
- Providing oral health tips will be good for your patients. E.g. how sugar is bad for your teeth. Use hashtags such as #sugarawareness, #stayingathome
- Dental hygiene guidance will prove to be very useful.
- Avoid posting Special Offers at this time. Most people are not thinking straight and currently have worries such as redundancies and what the future holds for them, so asking them for a financial commitment is probably not a good idea. It will probably paint a negative picture of your business.
- Relax how you post “before & after” pictures since you may be sending confusing messages as you are not currently able to do that type of dentistry. Instead it may be better to post pictures explaining how you miss doing dentistry or how you love your work. So, use it to reminisce and be positive about the future.
- Social Media Posts can be on any of the following topics: what books to read; films to watch; how to keep the kids entertained; home schooling ideas; positive self -development posts like learning a new language; inspiring videos or podcasts; mental health and meditation posts; recipes for lockdown; share neutral humour; goal setting and planning for future; motivation on staying well mentally, physically and psychologically; run polls to get people’s opinions; show care for others and solidarity; and how you are there to help.
- Go live or host a watching party or host oral health webinars for your patients.
I feel going forward, this type of sympathetic marketing should be continued, and I believe will prove to be a very successful endeavour for the growth of a business. Relationships are at the heart of any business. People only buy from people they know and like. Sympathetic marketing via social media is a great way forward.
I wanted to personally thank Shaz for the great content he shared in his webinar which I know will be very useful to many dentists in such difficult times. I would highly recommend getting his book to more comprehensively understand how to make the most of Instagram.
Meanwhile stay safe, Bhavna
DWB working in close association with The Perfect Smile Advanced Training Institute