When we think of dental social media we often don’t think of Twitter, there might be a good reason for that. While Twitter is planning on filing an IPO with the goal of raising upwards of $1 billion dollars, it still lacks the customer base as some of its other social media rivals. In documents filed related to the IPO we learn Twitters base of customers is about 218 million monthly active users. That’s significantly smaller than Facebook’s 1.1 billion or even Google+, which has 500 million registered users, although active Google+ is a story for another post.

Analysts report that the reason behind Twitter’s smaller numbers is because Twitter is a harder nut to crack. So, today’s post is aimed right at you, the few who have yet to sign up for Twitter because it may seem hard. Here are the 10 tips to getting to know Twitter.

#1 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Sign up. Some offices may already have a twitter account, but in most cases you don’t. Go to twitter.com, register with an office email address and select a screen name. Your new Twitter name will be prefaced with an @ sign. As in, I’m @SmartPractice_D.

#2 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Find people to follow. Twitter is nothing until you start building a network of patients you’re interested in hearing from. There are a couple of ways to do this. Add it to your email signature so people know to find you on Twitter, run an in-office campaign with a simple sign near the front desk, add Twitter logos to your website, emails, printed collateral and others.

#3 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Write up a bio. Let people know about your practice, with a short, one sentence blurb. Be sure to also include a photo for your icon, because this photo is associated with your posts in the Twitter feed. The best recommendation here is to use some form of your logo as this will make it quick and easy to identify your posts in the Twitter feed. If you don’t add a photo, an image of a little egg in a yellow box will show up next to your tweets instead….you don’t want this. It is associated with an incomplete, throw away or even spam account.

#4 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Learn how to write in 140 characters. The art of tweeting requires the ability to be concise. Everything you say needs to be in 140 characters or less — no exceptions. So you need to shorten words with slang, “sez” for “says,” “2” for “two” “w/” for “with,” “+” for “and” etc.. Remember, however, to always keep it professional.

#5 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Use hashtags in your posts and searches. The hashtag symbol — # — is what’s used to search for “trending” topics, whether that be “#whiteningforlife” or “#meteorwatch”. It’s a tool to help you find what you’re looking for on Twitter, and has since been adopted by Facebook as well. Keep in mind that hashtags are included in your overall 140 characters.

#6 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Don’t just promote: RT and MT. Rule No. 1 of the successful tweeter is that it’s not all about you. It’s good to use Twitter to promote whatever is going on inside the practice, but Twitter works best when you can also help to promote the joys and works of your followers as well. You can do that with a straight link, or retweeting others (essentially, re-posting someone else’s tweet — signified by an “RT”). The MT, or modified tweet, is when you copy and paste a link that somebody else posted, and comment on it as well. One simple rule to remember here: Share well, and you will get more followers.

#7 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Respond to your patients on Twitter. Twitter is an open conversation and when someone send you a DM (direct message) or RT (retweets) or MT (modified Tweet) then they are starting a conversation with you. You can follow and respond to this conversation by clicking the ‘View conversation’ link under each Tweet that has been MT, or RT.

#8 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Tie your account to Facebook in your admin settings. It’s easy to pair your Twitter activity with your Facebook account, so you don’t have to double the effort. Just go to Settings (the gears tab on the right) and go to the Profile section to add Facebook.

#9 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Direct messages. On Twitter you can communicate directly in private messages, but only with folks who already follow you. So be sure to follow your friends you want to DM with, and get them to respond in kind.

#10 Twitter tip for dental offices.

Add photos to your tweets. Text and a link are great, but let’s face it, everything looks better with visuals. The images show up as a link, but they’re worth adding. Following brands like SmartPractice or PracticeMojo’s Facebook page are great free resources to quickly and easily find great content to share.

Questions? Still not getting a hold of it. Send me a message and I’ll walk you through the setup process!