If you’ve been to a conference, or attended a webinar on marketing your dental practice recently, you probably heard something like: “you need to be active on social media to attract new prospects.” Sound familiar? We are here to tell you that this is sort of missing the point.

Social media shouldn’t be a chore; it shouldn’t be another item for your marketing to-do list. Rather, social media should be used as a tool you can leverage to help you reach your goals — but first you need to define exactly what those goals are. That is, what do you hope social media will do for you?

Perhaps you aren’t sure how to answer that question. To help answer it, let’s look at 5 things social media has the power to do:

1) Social media can help you stay in front of the same people.

2) Social media can help you reach new people.

3) Social media can inform and add value to your audience. 

4) Social media can add personality to your brand.

5) Social media can establish influence. 

Now that we know what social media can do for you, you should be able to better answer the question of how you want to use it. For example, perhaps one of those five points didn’t pique your interest. Maybe you have no desire to spend your time establishing influence. If that’s the case, no need to tailor your posts in a way that would build your following.

If your goal before reading this article was to “get new patients”, notice we didn’t say social media can do this. Social media doesn’t magically bring new patients, however, you can use it to reach people. When you reach people, what message do you want them to hear? How do you want to communicate it and often do you want them to hear it? This messaging is just like any other form of advertising — you should use social media as a way that speaks to your brand and helps the people you are going to reach understand why they should visit you.

Now that we have an idea as to WHY we are posting, it should answer the question of how often we should post organically. 

Let’s revisit the original question: How often should you post on social media? 

The answer is, it depends on your objective. If you are using it to stay in front of your current patients, how often do you want them to see your name come up on your feed? 

If you want to reach new patients, the answer isn’t how often you are posting, it is how effectively you are able to reach your target audience. This can be through creating content that is sharable, or by paying to sponsor a post which would tell the social media platform who you’re trying to reach. 

If you couldn’t care less about any of the objectives mentioned, does that mean you don’t need to post at all? Well, not necessarily. Keep in mind, we are now very much in a world where if you don’t exist online, you don’t exist at all. If someone were to Google the name of your practice, your social media pages will be near the top. If someone clicks on your Facebook page for example and sees your last post was over a year ago, it is very possible they’ll question whether you are still in business. At the very least, they’ll assume you aren’t actively pursuing new patients.

The acquisition process has always been multi-faceted and it is only that much more-so in today’s world. Social media can provide you much leverage for reaching people for free or at a very low cost. But it starts by establishing your objects, and then coming up with a game plan that allows for consistency.