Ready to start tweeting for your dental practice? Luckily, Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to integrate into your practice’s social media marketing strategy.
Twitter posts are bite-sized, there is less pressure to curate content like on Facebook or Instagram, and everything is easy to schedule ahead of time.
Best of all: it’s completely free to use!
However, entering the Twitterverse without knowing how and why it works for dental marketing can easily lead to misspending your time — which no busy dental practice can afford.
With these Twitter basics, you will be able to successfully take advantage of the platform and grow your practice one tweet at a time.
Twitter basics you need to know
Twitter is a platform where users can share anything from breaking news and business information to personal updates, links, and viral memes.
It sounds a lot like Facebook, but Twitter plays by a completely different set of rules.
Where Facebook focuses on stories and timelines, Twitter runs on a constant flow of information.
The heart of Twitter is the “feed.” The feed is the stream of posts that users see on their homepage that are generated by people you follow.
Unlike Facebook, where you have “friends,” on Twitter you have “followers.”
Twitter is also different in that businesses do not have separate pages like the Facebook Business Page. All accounts are treated equally and all of your posts are open to the public unless you set your account to private.
Posts, or “tweets” are limited to 280 characters. This is a recent change from the original 140 characters, giving users the ability to take up a bit more real estate with their tweets.
Besides brevity, the most defining feature of Twitter is its immediacy.
Tweets are shown in real time and appear in the order in which they happen.
When you tweet it will appear at the very top of the feed, but as more Tweets roll in yours will get pushed to the bottom.
This means that the life cycle of a tweet is, at best, a couple minutes.
Besides tweeting, users can also “retweet” (re-share someone else’s tweet), comment, and like other tweets.
They can also communicate through direct messages. Also known as “DMs,” these messages are the length of a tweet and sent privately from someone who is following you or vice versa.
These four engagement options appear below each tweet in your feed to show how people have interacted with your content.
Who uses Twitter?
Knowing your audience is the key to any winning dental marketing strategy.
So while every practice should arguably have a Twitter account, your activity should depend on the type of patients you target.
With 330 million monthly active users, there are plenty of current and potential patients to connect with. In general, though, Twitter caters to a younger crowd.
Of young adults (ages 18 to 29), 36% use Twitter, which is higher than any other age group.
Many are in college or have a college degree, and they are using it mainly on their phones.
Who else is on Twitter?
Small business owners like dentists. In fact, 85% of small businesses active on Twitter say it is important to provide customer service through the platform.
Providing this customer service is important, but so is keeping up with your competition on every platform possible (this includes Twitter).
So while setting up your account, think about your typical patient demographic and who you are trying to reach.
For example,Twitter could be an incredible marketing tool when targeting recent college grads for annual cleanings.
However, if your practice focuses on restorative services or geriatric dentistry, then it would be smart to post sparingly. You may want to use the account to connect with other dental professionals.
With these basics in mind, it’s time to get started and set up your account in four simple steps.
Setting up your Twitter account
1. Create an account
Go to Twitter’s website to sign up for an account.
After entering your basic information, choose your username, which also known as your Twitter “handle.”
This is the name other accounts will use to find, interact, or mention you by. Your handle will look like: @yourusername.
Continue following the prompts to get to your homepage. Once there, complete your profile by adding a profile picture, header picture, your location, a link to your website, and a short bio.
For your profile picture, use either your company’s logo or a picture of your staff, as long as it is high quality — at least 400 x 400 pixels in size.
Your header photo, which appears above your profile, should be at least 1500 x 500 pixels in size.
The bio is just a brief description of your practice and the services you provide.
Be yourself in this section! Sine you are trying to grab your followers’ attention — what makes you different from every other general dentist or practitioner in the area?
2. Find your following
Twitter is all about creating a strong community of followers, and that starts with following the proper accounts.
When you first sign up, Twitter offers a tool to help you get going by suggesting accounts you might be interested in.
The more you follow and interact with other users, Twitter will get better at suggesting accounts for you to follow.
3. Set up direct messaging
One of the best ways to quickly communicate with patients or other followers is through direct messaging.
These are private conversations between two accounts that are following each other.
While this type of messaging is automatically set up with your account, you can also enable a feature in your settings to receive messages from people that do not follow you.
This is a great way to field conversations from potential patients and open up your communication to people outside your following.
4. Add to the conversation
Now that your profile is set up, it’s time to send that first Tweet!
But before you pull the trigger, here are a few basics to know.
Twitter has done a great job of creating its own lingo. The two most important elements of Twitter communication are the hashtag (#) and the mention (@).
The hashtag lets you participate in larger conversations (#dentistlife) and also serves as a search tool for other followers to find your tweet based on a topic.
The using “@” allows you to mention, communicate, or give a shoutout to another account while tweeting.
The user will be notified when you “tweet at” them, providing a great opportunity to start a conversation.
Before tweeting, also be sure to spend some time browsing other accounts and decide what you want the tone of your Twitter to be.
Your account can be friendly and informative, funny and inspiring, highly visual, etc. The key is to always reflect your brand in your tweets.
It’s important to note that tweets are so short-lived, there really is no such thing as too much tweeting.
However, that only stands true if the tweets are relevant and interesting to your patients. Tweeting for quantity over quality is the easiest way to lose your followers.
Check out this post for more info on how often you should be tweeting for your dental practice!
As one of the largest global social media sites, Twitter is a great tool to have as part of your practice’s social media marketing strategy.
And though it can seem intimidating at first, a little practice tweeting can lead to potentially big payoffs.
So whether your practice is hoping to reach new age demographics, connect with entire online dental communities, or find another way to expand your online presence, Twitter is a platform that can help get you well on your way.
Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.