Twitter – 5 Lessons From A Dentist’s Blog

A Dentist and his opinion of Twitter

First, some background.  Gummy Teeth

I am a member of a Facebook Group that includes some fabulous folks involved in social media.  Should you be interested in joining the group, you’ll find a link below this post.

A member of this group shared a Twitter related post she found on a blog for a Dental practice.  She was a bit confused as to where to begin her comments and invited other group members to take a shot.  Several members did comment.

But first you need to know what the dentist said about Twitter that confused this savvy social media and heavy Twitter user.  As I share excerpts of the dentist’s post with you, I’ll identify the lessons we can learn from our friendly, yet clearly confused dentist.

Lessons Learned

He began his post talking about the Olympics and how inspiring he found the stories of the athletes.  He noted the ads during the Games that finish with #olympics.  He continues…

But I have to confess, I don’t get it. So you are telling me that I can say something on my twitter account (@johnxxxxxxx, just in case you want to follow me) and all my followers will be able to know it almost instantaneously? And if I follow you on Twitter, I can hear what you have to say instantaneously? You know what I say to that? So what? What am I going to say that everyone wants to know about? There is nothing you have to say that I need to know RIGHT NOW.

I know I probably could tweet that I just finished a veneer case and send out a picture. But that would mean I need potential patients to follow me. That is work, just like Facebook. I have a page and I put a case on there about 3 times a year. Does updating it make it more likely that people will follow? Maybe.

Let’s stop for a moment.

Lesson 1:  Consistency and commitment matters online. 

Our first inconsistency is that our dentist voices his doubts about the value of using Twitter for business while providing readers with his Twitter handle (x’d out to protect the dentist’s identity) just in case anyone reading would like to follow him.  I doubt any readers rushed to follow him on Twitter or to liked his Facebook Page.  Would you?

Further, posting “3 times a year” does nothing.  That may be consistency to a dentist and the number of times a patient returns for a cleaning, but it doesn’t cut it in social media and I think our dentist knows this.

Online consistency does deliver additional followers, fans, referrals, likes and ultimately new patients.  But to reap those rewards one must be committed to the social media tool(s) being using.  This means daily or weekly engagement – not annual.

Lesson 2:  Work is required.

Our dentist hit the nail on the head by recognizing that social media involves work.  That is the price one pays for using these free networking and brand awareness building tools.  Marketing one’s business online is work.  The work isn’t difficult and our dentist already has an idea (veneers) as to what he can post.  He just isn’t doing it.

One has to take action.

Considering the fact he may not be giving Twitter its due, our dentist writes…

I realize that, at 43, I might not be someone to ask about this. I had a single guy in my chair. He works and lives in downtown Orlando. I would think if anyone has his finger on the pulse of technology, it is going to be a guy like him. I asked him about Twitter and how much he uses. He said he has never tweeted or read a tweet. Hmmm. Is it something for 20-year-olds? Teenagers? I talked to a couple of 22-year-olds at my church; they all said they have very limited experience with Twitter.

Can someone please tell me that I am not crazy? Am I missing something? Is anyone using Twitter and loving it? Is anyone using it for dentistry and, if you are, it is working? Let me know.

P.S. The AGD tweets! Follow us on Twitter @AGDadvocacy to learn about the latest local and national advocacy issues affecting you

Lesson 4:  Do “real” research to get “real” answers.

Apparently our dentist assumes that Twitter is for “single guys” and “20 somethings” as these are the only people he reports asking about Twitter.  Since they don’t tweet, he and his readers are left to assume that Twitter must not be all it is cracked up to be.

Asking a one hip guy or a few young things after a church sermon is not research.

In fact, asking non-Twitter users what they think of the tool is guaranteed to provide a biased slant.  That’s simply asking people to confirm what our dentist already believes.

Far better to go onto Twitter and read the case studies or talk with other dental practices that are using Twitter.

Or ask the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) since it tweets, has 1,745 followers and our dentist included the link in his post?  Better to ask it to share its experiences then to ask random strangers in a dental chair and allow their ignorance guide the dentist’s decisions.

Lesson 5:  Keep an open mind about what you do not know

I am not a big Twitter user.  Yes, I have an account with followers but it doesn’t receive the care and feeding it should.  Why?  Because it isn’t where I choose to spend a lot of my time.  I am not committed to Twitter in the same way I am to my blog, to LinkedIn or to my Facebook Page.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the value of Twitter as a traffic building business tool or as great leverage to help build other online communities.  When I do pay attention to it, my follower base grows.  When I tweet and re-tweet, I have engagement with others and I reach a broader audience.

I have this recognition because I do my homework.  It’s all about listening, reading, testing, experimenting and keeping an open mind as to what a social media tool can provide.

Remember, keep an open mind – not just about Twitter – but about all of the online marketing tools available.  Make yourself informed so you can make smart decisions about which tools will help you grow your business.  Once you select your tool of choice, be committed and be consistent in your usage and you’ll see some big returns.

Besides, you don’t want to be like our friend the dentist.  Right?

If you’d like to learn more about Twitter and how it might help your small business, check out the video below.  Twitter now offers small business owners ways to promote their posts to a targeted audience.  Check it out.

If  you’re interested in joining the Facebook group I belong to, visit Social Game Plan – #SMPro.  Hit the “Join Group” button on the right and request to join.  Its a great group of folks who do a lot to support one another online.

And don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences with Twitter in the comments section below.

P.S. If you found this post interesting, join our list of readers and feel free to share this post.

 

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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8 Comments

  1. Twitter took some time for me to get the hang of. I have to admit, I use it most when I’m trying to contact someone or find information (try #bankofamericasucks and see how quickly they call). Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and more – it’s definitely a time commitment. But it’s increased my business dramatically and will work for the dentist too!

    • Hey, Lori. Great to see you.

      Yes, Twitter can take time, but like you said, once you get the hang of it, it will increase business. Curious…are using any of the automated tools to tweet like Hootsuite, Timely or Buffer?

      P.S. Love the bankofamericasucks hash tag!

  2. This is interesting…I especially like #5! Keeping an open mind is key to all new things. I certainly had my preconceptions about twitter, too, but now I understand it in a way I had no idea could have existed! Social media is a different world with a different language. An open mind is exactly what’s needed.
    (Lori, that hashtag is awesome! It’s another example of how to use social media!! Love it!)

    • Thanks for the comments, Nathalie. You’re so right. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterst…all represent slightly different worlds with different dialectics. One has to listen to get the inflections and usage patterns down before passing judgement as to a tools ability.

      Yeah… the hash tag is very interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

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