By Heather King

To me there’s nothing more daunting than sitting down in front of a blank Word document or content calendar. That’s one of the reasons I use templates—although my tendency to overthink things might also play a part in that…

Creating content is the hardest thing we do in social media. Every blog post, status update, Periscope, and ad need to provide value while being engaging, conversational, pithy, and witty. And, it should go without saying; content should also be grammar and spelling mistake free, and within brand guidelines.

As a dentist, or member of a practice’s team, generating social media content probably isn’t the first thing on your mind in the morning. Here are some ideas to help you cultivate shareable content, or to use as inspiration for your own content.

1. Social media content should be social

Use social media to cultivate relationships with existing and potential patients. Allow them to get to know you by posting pictures and videos of your team celebrating a team member’s birthday or from content you’re hosting in the office. Awards establish your authority, so post links to the magazine or organization that named you the “Valley’s Best Dentist.”

The types of content are up to you, and should reflect your brand. For example, if you’re a luxury cosmetic dentist focusing on smile makeovers in LA or New York, shy away from photos featuring your grandkids. Instead, establish yourself as an expert in your field—perhaps post a picture of you with a celebrity client or lecturing on an advanced cosmetic technique.

2. A little bit professional, a little bit rock and roll

Follow or like the professional organizations to which you belong (eg, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry), charities you’re affiliated with (eg, board member for March of Dimes, volunteer for Give Back a Smile), and the brands you offer (eg, Invisalign®, Zoom Whitening, Sonicare). Share or re-tweet content they post.

3. Keep it local

Follow a local news channel and share or comment on local news. This increases your organic visibility.

For example, we have a client who’s a Phoenix Suns fan. When the Phoenix Suns participated in a birthday party for a boy in the hospital, our client commented that he was proud to be a Suns fan. This is a great way to expose him to the more than 1.7M fans of the Phoenix Suns Facebook page.

4. A picture—or infographic—is worth a thousand words

Content doesn’t always have to be written, but it does have to provide value. Cartoons or memes may be funny occasionally, but use these sparingly. They can cheapen your image and provide little value, and therefore no reason for a visitor to return to your page for more expert advice.

If you have graphic design or video skills, create something visual. If you have no skills,, has infographic and other visual templates you can fill in with your own images and information. Be sure to pay attention to image copyright limitations and attribute when appropriate. Blogger and social media strategist Jeff Bullas recently wrote a blog post featuring 20 Cool Tools for Creating Infographics.

If you’re going to share an image, be sure it’s the correct size.

5. All you really need to know about social media, you learned in kindergarten

In the real world, sharing sucks. Seriously. No, I have no interest in giving you my last Portillo’s cheese fry.

In the social media world, we share—a lot. For every piece of self-serving marketing or sales content, you should post four educational or interesting pieces of content from other sources and one post

of a lighter nature (think, a behind-the-scenes picture of your reception desk).

The challenge: curating four articles.

Articles about general dental health, the dental industry, and healthy living make for great sharing material. Sources include blogs like MyNewSmile and PatientConnect365Dentistry TodayMen’s Health, and MindBodyGreen. There are a plethora of health and dental-related magazines and blogs available online. Because, you know, the internet.

After you gather this content you can do one of two things:

  1. Post a link to the article and include comments about the article. Something like, “Wow! We tried tip number three and we’re blown away.”
  2. Use the article inspiration for your own blog post. For example, after reading an article about dentistry apps, you could put together a list of your favorite apps for encouraging proper brushing techniques.

6. Hashtag bling that post

Use hashtag themes to inspire your content for a particular day. We have several cosmetic dental clients who use #MakeoverMonday to highlight their smile galleries. And a general dentist client who dabbles in health education shares tips for healthy living on #WellnessWednesday.

7. Jump on the bandwagon

Pay attention to what’s trending. Social media trends are the one time you won’t be made fun of for jumping on the bandwagon (Yep, I’m talking to you Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers “fans”).

Is it national coffee day? Great! Share an article about the many places giving away free coffee with a comment about your teeth whitening services. Be aware of what a hashtag or trend is really about. Sometimes a seemingly positive hashtag may have a negative intention.

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