Dental Marketing 101: Upping Your Twitter Game

Twitter has changed the way millions of people get information, including dentists and their patients.

The micro-blogging social media platform offers huge opportunities for dentists to learn from patients and lead in the industry.

And depending on the demographics of your patients, Twitter can quickly become a pivotal dental marketing strategy. The reason for this is that most dentists tend to overlook the platform.

By learning how to speak Twitter’s language, you can create strong connections that will elevate your dental practice.

This easy-to-follow strategy for promoting your practice on Twitter will get you up to speed with the best ways to take advantage of the platform.

How Twitter can work for your practice

Let’s get one thing out of the way — Twitter is very different from Facebook.

With millions of users tweeting an average of 20 times per day, Twitter moves fast. Tweets are limited to 280 characters and connections are made through hashtags and mentions.

The Twitter audience is typically younger and more social media savvy — they want information quickly.

While Facebook focuses on creating branded stories and finding friends, Twitter is about sending information and gaining followers.

For most dental practices, Twitter will not be a direct source of new patients but rather another way to reinforce your brand and expand your online presence.

Twitter should support a strong Facebook strategy to connect with a wider audience of patients and industry professionals.

Dental practices can use Twitter to

  • Update your patients with news and quality branded content
  • Use links to increase traffic to your website and boost SEO
  • Connect with other dentists and major dental organizations
  • Learn more about your patients
  • Provide exclusive offers

Prioritizing Twitter correctly and keeping these goals in mind will help set your practice up for success.

But it’s time to get more specific. Here are a few of our favorite Twitter hacks for dentists that are easy to execute for fast results.

Follow dental key opinion leaders

Twitter does a great job of creating communities around hashtags and specific topics like dentistry.

Following key opinion leaders in the dental industry and other #dentists in your area helps keep you up to date on trends.

You can (and should) retweet and comment on tweets from other dental accounts to join in on the conversation.

This helps build friendly relationships and shows that you are a reliable authority in the dental community.

Optimize your profile

Your Twitter profile is the most prominent opportunity to show off your practice and brand.

The profile includes a small profile picture, header photo, bio, location, and link to your website. When selecting a profile pic, be sure to use your company’s logo or staff photo.

Profile picture guidelines

  • Square photo (JPG, GIF, PNG)
  • 400 x 400 pixels in size
  • Max file size of 100 KB

Your header photo takes up much more space on your profile, so be sure to choose a high-quality photo that gives a good first impression of your practice.

Header photo guidelines

  • Landscape photo (JPG, GIF, PNG)
  • 1500 x 500 pixels in size
  • Max file size of 10 MB

You only get 160 characters for your bio, so it’s important to keep it simple, accurate, and interesting.

Include your location, specialty services, phone number, and a message that will draw your followers’ attention.

Consider adding a hashtag with your title or specialty (#dentist, #orthodontist, etc.). This connects your bio with other mentions of these words on Twitter.

Pin tweets to promote your practice

“Pinning” tweets is another way to personalize your profile, this time by highlighting a tweet that best represents your practice.

A pinned tweet will stay at the top of your profile until you unpin it.

To do this, go to the tweet you want to pin, select the down carrot to the right of the tweet, and click on “Pin to your profile page.”

A window will pop up to confirm and after you click “Pin” the tweet will stay at the top of your profile until you unpin it (following the same process).

Efficiently use hashtags and mentions

One important rule of Twitter is to never start a tweet with an @. If the @ is the first thing you use in a tweet, only the person you are tagging will see it.

Instead, use mentions at the end of the tweet to make sure it is made public.

Using hashtags is the best way to boost engagement. Studies show that adding a hashtag to your tweets can as much as double engagement.

One-to-two hashtags per tweet is the sweet spot. You don’t want to appear to be over-promoting with too many hashtags, and there is also the character count to keep in mind.

If you need ideas for trending hashtags, Twitter search is a great place to start.

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Repackage your content for multiple tweets

Tweeting the same content twice is absolutely okay.

Some experts will repost content within hours of the initial tweet, while others recommend spreading roughly 10 tweets about the same topic over a 90 day period.

Let’s say you wrote a great blog post on tips for kids to practice good oral hygiene. Depending on how frequently you tweet, you could tweet the link as many as three times in one week and then save it for future content.

This is one of the benefits of a tweet's short lifespan; you can push out your content.

Create a consistent posting schedule

Consistency is king on Twitter.

Whether you tweet once a week or three times a day, the volume is not as important as having a constant and reliable flow of content.

Consider coming up with a series of tweets surrounding a theme.

For example, ask a question once a week to engage your patients. Or create a monthly giveaway to market on Twitter.

Themes help build this consistency.

Drafting and scheduling tweets ahead of time is the best way to stay on track.

Connect through Twitter Lists

“Lists” on Twitter are curated groups of accounts that you can create, subscribe to, or be a member of.

You can view a list’s timeline to only see tweets from that group, which can be a handy way to stay up to date specifically from highly-regarded dental professionals.

You can also tweet to lists to have your tweet show up in a specific group.

Use more photos, videos, and GIFS

Similar to Facebook, tweets with photos and videos get more engagement — on average twice the amount as tweets with only text.

Putting in a little bit of time to get branded and authentic photos instead of scrambling for stock photos can go a long way.

GIFs also thrive on Twitter.

A GIF (graphics interchange format) is basically an image file format that is animated by combining several images into one file. Think of a looped video that has no sound and is normally only a few seconds long.

GIFs are a Twitter staple, and adding a few into your schedule when appropriate can help make your practice seem more tech savvy.

Mixed media guidelines for Twitter

  • 1024 x 512 pixels for photos
  • Max 3 MB for animated GIFs
  • Max 512 MB for videos
  • 140 seconds max for videos
  • 1:2:39 to 2:39:1 video aspect ratio

Engage with patients and the dental community

Responding to each and every mention and comment is crucial, especially if you are new to Twitter.

It is not necessary to read every tweet in your feed, but set aside time each week to scan your feed and engage with followers.

If you are sharing information from another follower and want to give them credit for it, "H/T" or “hat tip” is the term you need to know.

This can be used in a retweet to give special mention or call out the original source of the post.

Another way to engage with the dental community in particular is to tweet at conferences and events.

Use any hashtags provided by the event and add to as many conversations as possible. This boosts credibility and helps build important professional relationships.

Taking Advantage of Twitter

Joining Twitter can open up a whole new online community for your practice.

Because tweets move so quickly, there is more freedom and incentive to share frequently, thus creating endless marketing opportunities.

In following these tips, you will have ensured that you're taking full advantage of the platform and are successfully promoting your practice.

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