Brand Voice: How to Develop a Cohesive Social Media Presence
Social networking is one of the most powerful marketing tools in the arsenal of any business, and, as the marketing professionals here at Rosemont Media have discussed previously, there are many reasons why surgeons and dentists should be on social media. COVID-19 has made it more important than ever to capitalize on the various social platforms’ ability to keep you connected with existing and prospective patients. That said, establishing and/or maintaining an effective social presence for your business can be an intimidating prospect, even for those who already possess a high degree of social media literacy. Which social media platform(s) should you use? How do you want to present yourself and your practice? Serious and authoritative? Warm and welcoming? Witty and entertaining? What kinds of content are prospective patients most interested in seeing? Which Facebook posts should you promote? And, to borrow the immortal words of William Shakespeare, to emoji, or not to emoji?
All of these questions are important, and they all relate back to the cultivation of your brand voice. Brand voice refers, essentially, to the “persona” that your business conveys through its online communication. While there are some constants—such as the all-important need for authenticity and trustworthiness—there is no single right answer when it comes to crafting your brand’s social media identity. Instead, you should first take stock of a few key factors that can help determine the optimal communication strategy for your company.
Factors to Consider While Developing Your Practice’s Social Media Identity
Formal or Informal
Tone is a major part of brand voice development, and it is important to decide how you want to engage with your following early in the process. Generally, healthcare marketing emphasizes professionalism and competence, as prospective patients are looking for someone they can entrust with their safety and who can provide stellar results. However, over the past few years, many brands have achieved viral success with their snarky, combative interactions on social media, leading some marketing professionals to question if a serious, formal tone is still the most effective choice. Ultimately, while snappy Twitter #clapbacks may not be the most effective strategy for your elective healthcare practice, a more informal brand voice can set you apart from the crowd. Puns, jokes, emojis, and personal posts highlighting holidays, birthdays, events, and promotions can help humanize your practice and drive engagement, all without compromising professionalism.
Location is important for a variety of reasons, as, especially for medical, dental, and aesthetic practices, most of your existing and prospective patients are likely going to be relatively local. That said, regional specificity can take on an extra dimension when it comes to your social media identity, and the decision as to whether you want to portray yourself as a “local business” is an important one. On the one hand, depicting yourself as a community-oriented practice and interacting with other local businesses can drive engagement and even open up cross-promotional opportunities. However, for practices with a less defined regional identity—such as those with multiple locations or those with a heavy emphasis on traveling patients—leaning too much into the idea of locality may not be the ideal approach.
Target Audience and Existing Audience
Audience is perhaps the most important factor to consider when cultivating your brand voice, as your audience represents the people you are trying to reach, engage, and convert. While it can be tempting to want to market directly to everyone and anyone, the truth is that an effective advertising and social media strategy is going to be more finely focused. There is a plethora of existing research regarding the target audiences of various elective healthcare specialties, and your practice may already have a good idea of who you want to be reaching. However, even brands with an established social media strategy and identity can benefit from a periodic audit. Some factors to consider include:
- Basic demographics, such as the age, gender, and location of your target audience(s)
- More advanced demographics, such as the profession or family situation (single, married, has kids, etc.) of your target audience(s)
- The potential concerns facing your target audience(s) and how your practice can address those concerns
- The interests of your target audience(s) and how your social media strategy can incorporate or engage with those interests
- What types of content are most likely to appeal to your target audience(s), such as informative videos, before and after photos, contests or promotions, infographics, awareness campaigns, etc.
By answering these questions, you can create a generalized profile of your target audience, which can then allow you to more effectively shape your brand voice. Remember, your general goal shouldn’t necessarily be to make your medical or dental posts go viral. Instead, it should be to develop brand awareness amongst the people who are most likely to pay for your services. In this case, narrow and specific can be a good thing!
If your business already has a social media presence, you might also consider auditing your current followers in order to figure out who is engaging with your content. Looking back at existing posts using Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can provide further understanding into what kinds of content your followers are most interested in and which posts generated the most conversions. Keeping an eye on your social media analytics can help you determine what parts of your existing strategy are working, and which may need to be revisited.
Practice Mission or Goals
Remember when we mentioned that authenticity and trustworthiness were two of the constants when it comes to developing an effective brand voice? Let’s expand on that a bit. Whether you are just starting a new practice or have decades of experience, chances are, you already have an idea of how you want your services to be portrayed. Some practices may even have a dedicated mission statement or specific verbiage in their website copy that is designed to convey a certain impression.
Social media can provide an excellent venue for you to develop a more relaxed, approachable, and even playful image of your practice, and social channels are one of the fastest and easiest ways to spread the word about exciting new procedures, practice news, and special events or discounts. That said, it is important to be true to your practice goals and clinical philosophies as well, or else you run the risk of confusing or alienating your audience with mixed messaging. As an elective healthcare professional, the importance of managing your internet portfolio cannot be understated, and all of the digital information available about you and your practice should be as accurate, consistent, and up-to-date as possible.
Incorporating Brand Voice Into Your Overall Social Media Strategy
Ultimately, your brand voice is simply a way of personifying and marketing your brand. As a result, it shouldn’t feel forced or contrived, and you certainly don’t need to know everything there is to know about social media in order to have an effective online presence. Consistency is key, and you should strive to develop and strengthen your brand’s unique voice in both your organic and promoted content. Over time, this will help give your audience a better idea of who you are as a practice, establishing trust and increasing the likelihood of conversions.
The Social Media Experts at Rosemont Media Can Help
We understand that the prospect of developing your practice’s social media presence can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone! Rosemont Media has been helping elective healthcare practices establish, strengthen, and expand their online presences for over a decade. While you focus on managing your busy medical or dental practice, our dedicated team of experts can help your practice capitalize on all of the benefits of social media marketing. Some of our services include: social media strategizing, content creation and implementation, ad purchasing and placement, advanced tracking and analytic reporting across social channels, and cohesive brand voice and image development. To learn more about our services or to find out how we can seamlessly integrate social media into your existing marketing efforts, contact Rosemont Media today!