If you’ve ever seen re-runs of the old series “The Lone Ranger” on television, you know that the title character wore a mask that (sort of) concealed his identity while he went around righting wrongs.
No one ever explained why his faithful companion, Tonto, didn’t wear a mask. Or, for that matter, his horse Trigger who was rather easily recognized.
Anyway, if you’ve watched the show you might have heard this iconic line: “Who was that masked man? I wanted to thank him.”
There are times when masks are necessary; for infection control and hygiene considerations while you’re actually working on patients. Those should be the only times you wear a mask in front of patients, whether real or virtual.
The virtual world of online marketing is becoming increasingly important, and your website is your main vehicle to help convert prospects to patients.
Your website probably has your educational and professional background, awards, and maybe a bit about you and your family. That’s not enough for people to feel as if they know you, much less like you, and that’s a prime consideration today when choosing a medical professional. Your website, though, is not the best way for people to get to know the real you.
Social media provides tremendous opportunities to humanize you and your practice – to reveal the people behind the professional personas.
If you’re not using social media to engage your current and prospective patients, and to establish expertise and approachability, you’re missing out.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, your blog and other social media venues are places for people to get to know you and your people. Think of them as online places where the professional and personal co-exist. You have the opportunity to inform, educate, fascinate, entertain, relate, and above all show your followers that you’re both an expert and a likable person.
Competence doesn’t set you apart from your competition. Expertise and approachability do. Dentists are assumed to be professionally competent. What patients are looking for is a dentist they like and feel comfortable with.
Your social media marketing needs to promote both expertise and approachability. It needs to help you remove your mask.
Social Media Marketing Do’s and Don’ts
What the vast majority of your followers do want to see are smiling faces with beautiful smiles, birthday celebrations, “fun run” pictures, charity events, and the like. Those show the people behind the “masks.” Even appropriate vacation photos are fun.
Don’t show heavily clinical photos, or video showing procedures; clinical does not equal social.
Your followers do want to read helpful articles about dental issues that are geared toward a layman’s level of understanding. Those position you as a trustworthy expert. They don’t want to read things that are of interest primarily to other dentists, like that great new bonding agent.
Do summarize your latest journal article in layman’s terms and provide a link. Don’t use social media to share the whole thing.
Do stress the advantages of the latest 3D imaging for your patients. Don’t give detailed explanations of how the technology works.
Do share achievements, milestones, celebrations, happy reviews, and other positive comments.
Don’t be “The Masked Dentist.” Your patients and prospective patients will thank you.