Social media is more than making a clever 280-character tweet or posting a nice picture with a couple of trendy hashtags. It must be part of a clear communication strategy. Thanks to my work experience I have realized that social media needs to be fully aligned with the brand message of your dental practice, for example, and it has to directly target your customers, having in mind the pain points that might trigger a purchase of your product or service to satisfy the need.

A fun exercise to prepare your strategy can be built around the buyer decision process and how can social media be useful in each stage. The five stages are need recognition, information search, evaluating alternatives, purchase decisions and post-purchase behavior.

For the need recognition stage, there are internal and external stimuli that generate the need, a clear example is being hungry and wanting a meal. But sometimes external stimuli can generate a need even when the customer doesn’t really need that item, like expensive extra vitamin water.

Using social media can be a great way to increase branding presence for customers with internal stimuli or to push demand through external stimuli. An example case in the dental industry could be a dentist trying to get new customers and wanting to target graduates. An interesting strategy could be to share content about how a better smile improves your chances to get a new or better job or a better date, as well as useful content for those situations in order to gain trust. 

In the second stage, we are faced with the dilemma of transparency. In 2020 being transparent is the way to go and, therefore, having public reviews, comments, reputation ratings, clear pictures, and infographics as well as clear procedures and pricing information is key to attracting customers. Also having a strong digital presence for your practice can increase its searchability for customers looking for dental treatment.

During the third stage, customers will probably have two or three options. Social media can be a great way to engage with them using direct messaging to clarify any questions and ease their decision into choosing your business. So, providing proper and quick customer service over social media can truly make a difference. A good practice would be to make sure your social media team has the right information regarding all dental procedures and even has a Q&A document with the most common questions at hand. 

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On the fourth stage, the purchase decision, it’s important that everything runs smoothly. Your social media can give information to make sure your business becomes the place for your patient to satisfy its needs. So, make sure your digital channels have the right address, a phone number to call in case of any questions and even offer the option of making appointments over a direct message to make sure you can secure that new client.

Finally, we have the post-purchase behavior stage, where social media can be a channel to reach out and receive feedback. If the customer had a positive experience you could invite and/or reward him for leaving a good review or testimony. This will be very useful for the second and third stages of future customers. Furthermore, if the customer experience was negative you could address the issue with an apology or offer to fix the situation, if possible. This is key to retain customers and growth your business.

I hope you enjoyed the article! What strategies would you like to implement in your business? Please share your comments below, as well as any questions you could have.

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