The Dentist’s Complete Guide to Twitter Success

It’s true – social media has become the #1 reason why people use the Internet, so if you haven’t already, get ready to join the social media revolution.

News travels fast via social media. Consider this: New Yorkers received tweets about an earthquake 30 seconds before they felt it!

Twitter is undoubtedly one of the simplest and most straightforward social mediums; because of its simplicity and large number of users, it is the second highest website referral source (Facebook is the first).

Twitter is the least time-consuming social media platform, and tapping into the Twitter community allows dental practices to effortlessly target new patients and increase online visibility through social marketing.

Because 53% of Twitter users mention products and services in their tweets, your practice has an extremely valuable opportunity to reach prospective patients, provided you’re utilizing Twitter correctly.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Tweet

Once you finally get used to hashtags, handles, and all the Twitter rules, you may be wondering how to step up your Twitter game and get more exposure on the social network. When it comes down to it, the amount of influence your tweets have can be determined upon how your tweets are composed. When writing your tweets, you have to shoot for creating or curating memorable posts that other users want to share.

To start, there are roughly five types of tweets:

  • Original tweet – a new, original thought you created and shared. You can also now post tweets in threads to develop more of a storyline when you need to exceed the max tweet limit.
  • Mentions – getting someone’s attention when you have something to say just to them. Just put an @ sign before their handle to mention them. Starting a tweet with this sends it just to that user, adding more than one sends it to all tagged.
  • Replies – joining a conversation by answering a question, asking a question or otherwise making a comment about someone else’s tweet.
  • Link/Media – generating a tweet based on a link to an article, website, image, etc. that you wish to share. You can also post images & videos directly to your Twitter feed.
  • Retweet – republishing someone else’s tweet to share it with your followers. You can also post a retweet as a quote and add your own commentary.

Once you determine which type of tweet you wish to share, you can break down the allotted 280 (up from the original 280) characters into the following form:

  • The message – 200 characters
  • A link – 20 characters
  • Blank space – at least 20 characters

The message is the main chunk of your 280-character tweet. It should take up about 200 characters and should provide a call-to-action, while informing readers of why your tweet is of value to them. You can mix in facts, statistics, and hashtags to draw even more attention to the post. Just be sure to maintain correct grammar and usage throughout, as well as uphold a professional tone.

The link should draw users to click for more information. Whether the link leads to one of your social networks, your website, or your practice blog, users should feel compelled to open the link. Be sure to use a link shortening service, such as Bitly, to conserve your characters. Also, the majority of your tweets should link to either your website or blog posts in an effort to increase website traffic.

Blank space allows other users to retweet your post without having to fuss with editing it to meet the 280-character limit. Making it easy on other users can increase the likelihood that your post will be retweeted.

After formatting your Tweet just so, you can improve the chance that your tweets will be seen and shared. Here are some additional tips to consider:

  •  Use “you” or “your” instead of “I” or “we” to make readers feel included in the conversation and more likely to favorite or retweet.
  •  Mention other users by including their handle in your tweet to influence a share, follow, or retweet.
  •  Limit your hashtag use to just one or two per tweet to prevent other users from thinking your tweets are spam.
  •  Share popular news within your industry to help attract the attention of colleagues who may decide to retweet your post.
  •  Avoid the use of all CAPS to make your tweet more likely to be read.

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Gaining Followers on Twitter

Whether you’re an avid tweeter or are just getting started on the social platform, acquiring followers always seems to be a huge concern for most users. When a practice obtains more followers, they increase their credibility, extend their marketing reach, and have the potential to acquire more new patients. Once you start tweeting, keep the following tips in mind to build your audience:

Interact with your neighbors

As a local business, your practice should be interacting with other neighboring businesses. By connecting with and following nearby businesses (not competitors of course), you can comment on each other’s involvement in the community, and increase your exposure among their followers and patrons. This sort of interaction can help both their business and yours reach new prospects.

Get to know your target audience

Understanding your patient base will allow you to tailor your tweets to appeal to your audience. When trying to determine your target audience, consider questions such as: why would “X” type of patient interact with me on Twitter (what is the incentive); how do these patients communicate with others on Twitter; what times are they most active on Twitter? Each of these considerations can help you formulate your strategy, such as the tone you should take, the time you should post, and the type of content your audience will find interesting.

Focus on interacting

Social networking is really meant to be an online conversation. Your current and prospective patients don’t want to talk about how great you are at placing cosmetic veneers, they want to be engaged and entertained. The occasional sales pitch is okay, but try to keep your tweets educational, interesting, and valuable.

Join in the conversation

Twitter users aren’t sitting around wondering what you’re going to post next. To get noticed, you have to interact with other people’s tweets! For example, comment on popular posts and ask questions to spark conversation. Interaction makes others want to socialize with (and follow) you.

Don’t be afraid to retweet

Sometimes users feel that a retweet is “taking the easy way out,” but this couldn’t be more untrue. Tweeting is all about sharing valuable or entertaining information with others. If you find someone else’s tweet of value, retweet it. Your followers may also enjoy the tweet, and the user who composed the original tweet may acknowledge your retweet, giving you added exposure among their followers.

Be interesting

People like interacting with people, not just businesses. Don’t forget to share the people behind your practice – dental assistants, hygienists, office staff. Post pictures of your staff dressed up for Halloween. Share “Happy Birthday” announcements. Let your followers know there are real people working for you.

Observe Twitter Search

Twitter users will often pose questions and hashtag them with related keywords. For example, we used Twitter Search to look up the term “dentist” and found a user who tweeted “This may be a really dumb question but can a cavity go away on its own or do I need to go to the dentist? #dentist #inpain”.

That certainly isn’t a “dumb” question, and it needs a credible user to answer it, which is where you come in. Search for industry-related terms and help other users by answering their questions or concerns. Responding to comments like these can help you grow your network of followers.

Use promoted tweets

Promoted tweets are tweets you pay to have strategically placed in front of your prospects. You can target users by their location, and Twitter will feature your tweet in these users’ newsfeeds, regardless of whether they currently follow you or not. Promoting a special or new service could definitely get you noticed among your local prospects.

Be flexible

When you’re tweeting, don’t feel obligated to stick to a set plan. Trending topics, like local news and events, tend to get more attention than other tweets. If something happens in your vicinity, tweet about it and get active in others’ conversations, regardless of whether it fits into “the plan”.

Add your Twitter @handle to everything

And we mean everything. Stick it on your business cards, practice signage, your email signature line, blog posts, etc. If you don’t spread the word that you’re present on Twitter, your patients will never know.

Don’t forget to be patient in the process of marketing your practice on social networks; acquiring a solid group of followers takes time but is worth the investment. Studies show that small businesses who have 51 or more followers have at least 106% more traffic to their website than those with less followers. Start implementing these strategies to begin acquiring new followers today!

twitter strategy

Some Finer Points About Advanced Twitter Strategies

You already know that the Internet is constantly changing, and as your dental marketing partners – we’re here to keep you up-to-speed.

Several years back Twitter announced that in an effort to reduce the amount of malicious spam and bot activity on the platform they’ll no longer permit “content to be simultaneously posted from multiple accounts”. So, what does this mean for your dental practice? Below we’ve broken it down to give you the need-to-know details.

Why did Twitter make this update?

Twitter’s algorithm prioritizes “trending” content. Therefore, when different accounts post about the same topic, Twitter assumes that said topic should be given greater visibility. A great thing to show when everyone is talking about things like newsworthy events and other important media coverage. Not-so-great when spam bots use this to their advantage to spread false or malicious information. This new Twitter policy will help prevent such activity from happening.

What happens if people don’t follow this new rule?

Just with search engines, failure to adhere to new guidelines and regulations could negatively impact your practice’s visibility on the network, or get your account suspended altogether.

Because artificial engagement is also targeted by this algorithm you are longer allowed to like, comment, or retweet simultaneously from multiple Twitter accounts that you own.

So, if you own accounts A, B, and C, and want to engage with account Z, then you can’t have accounts A, B, and C like a tweet from account Z at the same time. This is practice used by bots to artificially boost engagement for a specific account.

How will this impact my social media marketing strategy on Twitter?

If you only have one Twitter account, you’ll be unaffected and shouldn’t notice any difference. If an outside resource manages your social media marketing, you may want to reach out and confirm that they are not posting the same content simultaneously across multiple accounts.

If you have more than one Twitter account, you’ll need to manually like/share/retweet from each account separately.

Twitter FAQs

Are you required to tweet a certain amount of times in an interval to stay active?

No. The key is to tweet consistently. It is recommended that you tweet at least once a day to maximize the number of times the Twitter algorithm decides to display your posts.

Tweeting once per day and posting three days a week is significant. How do you recommend having something valuable to put out there?

There are a lot of ways to continue sharing valuable content. View your follower’s demographics to guide your topic decisions, which can be found by viewing your Twitter analytics dashboard. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Turn a blog article into 3-4 different posts, spread out 6 weeks apart.
  • Find articles pertaining to your industry online and share them and post your advice/opinions on it.
  • Post updates about your practice.
  • Share funny stories about kids learning about the tooth fairy.
  • Share testimonials from your patients.
  • Search #hashtags to see what kind of questions people are asking and answer them.

Are my patients really on Twitter? What is the value of Twitter to a dental practice?

Twitter’s demographics range from business owners to teenagers. You can attract new patients by posting content that would interest them such as articles about new dental office equipment, practice updates, tips on whiter teeth, funny anecdotes, and other topics that your target audience would enjoy.

Is there anything you can do to make your Twitter page pop up when people are searching for a dentist in my area?

Twitter pages typically do not show in search results when people are looking for a dentist. This is because it doesn’t fulfill the searcher’s intent as well as actual dental websites. Additionally, Twitter does not directly influence your website’s rankings in local search results, but it does provide a more rounded marketing strategy for your practice.

To learn more about marketing your practice on today’s most popular social networks, contact us at (888) 932-3644. And, download our latest eBook that discusses 7 actionable strategies to win new patients on social media.

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