Online Community Engagement Activities: What it is and why it’s important for your practice
When we think of marketing, of course the first thing that springs to mind is advertising the practice and the services it provides. But that’s only part of it. Marketing is much more than running promotions and explaining to patients why your practice stands out. Part of a good long-term dental marketing strategy, at least in our opinion, should center around online community engagement.
What is online community engagement?
Sales campaigns are essential but should not be the only way a practice markets itself. In marketing, it’s one thing to promote the practice through sales-focused messages, it’s another to actually interact with the target audience in a meaningful way with the aim of getting patients to see the practice as more “human”, not just a business. That is what online community engagement is really all about, humanizing the practice in the eyes of patients and potential patients and getting them to interact with you on social media.
Why is social media and community engagement important in marketing?
It is easy to make a claim that your practice is patient focused and has a personal touch, but how do you prove that to people who have never visited the office before? The answer is online community engagement activities, a service we provide our clients to increase their practice’s exposure online and to potential patients.
Here’s how it works
Several times a year, we give our clients ideas they can implement to increase community engagement online and on social media. These ideas go beyond typical marketing to help showcase the practice in a different light. For instance, we may suggest a small contest or a fun activity. Of course, our clients’ input and participation is greatly encouraged, and we handle all the details and any collateral involved. The result is something unique that increases the practice’s engagement with its social media followers and patients, as well as all their friends and family. It’s not something that every marketing partner does, but it is something we strongly recommend for our clients because we know it works.
Here are some examples:
Floss Unspooling Contest – For our Tooth Fairy Day campaign, we asked clients to take video of their team members unspooling dental floss to see who could do it the fastest. We then asked their Facebook followers to guess in the comments who would finish first before watching the video. Then, we picked five random people who had guessed correctly to receive a $5 gift card of the practice’s choice.
Two Truths and a Lie – During Hygienist Week, we asked practices to have their hygienists come up with two true statements about themselves and one lie. Facebook followers were then asked to guess in the comments which statements were lies. For each hygienist, we chose 2-3 random people who guessed correctly to receive a $5 gift card of the practice’s choice.
These are just two examples of simple ways a practice can gain some momentum online. In fact, we crunched the numbers on these community engagement campaigns, and one of our clients reached 692 people, tripling their normal reach, with one simple post. That is certainly a significant impact for a non-sales marketing strategy.
The lifeblood of any practice is the people who work there, not the services it offers. Unfortunately, the human element of a practice may not always come through prominently in sales-focused marketing campaigns, which is why community engagement is fundamental. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or be complicated, but it should be fun for everyone involved. And with the right marketing partner to handle the details, it is bound to be a resounding success!