Showing Dental Patients Your Human Side Is The Key

In Building a Practice, My Story, She's a Dentist, Success, Trending by Dr. Chithra Durgam

Since being included in the #1 NY Times Bestseller, Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk, many people have been contacting me wanting to know my secrets to engagement on social media. Interestingly, I always reveal there is no secret. What I do is just put in a lot of time, consistency and sincerity in because I genuinely care about people. I enjoy learning about the uniqueness of other people. However, I do like to share tips to help maintain the following.

An Unusual App

My following increased on Instagram through my presence on the social media app TikTok. I began on the app when there were less people subscribed and attempted to engage as much as possible. One thing I also noticed that it was getting a large financial investment from China which meant the owners may be putting more into developing the app. Even though other copycat sites developed, I decided to focus on TikTok. Aside from content, I did giveaways, live streams and used relevant hashtags as much as possible.

I’m also active on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, You Tube, Google My Business LinkedIn, and Facebook. Creating content for each different site according to the goal in mind and the expectations of the audience has been the key to my success. It helps immensely that I really enjoy social media and interacting with people. Aside from the attention, I have also been able to leverage my presence to connect with influential people in other industries. By reaching out, I have met sports figures, business leaders and musicians. Reaching out to them and discussing with them the value I may be able to offer them makes a difference. Because I’m extremely careful in communicating my intention, I have received 100% response from everyone I have reached out to. My presence has also lead to other opportunities to be featured in publications, being on a commercial, and speaking events.

Creating content for each different site according to the goal in mind and the expectations of the audience has been the key to my success.

Followers are very intelligent.

They can detect intent very easily. Being authentic and vulnerable is key to gaining engagement. I may not have the most followers, but I definitely engage a lot in direct messages and in the comments. Recently, I have attempted to use methods online to do advertising but I have found that my best ROI has been from organic engagement after someone has been following me for some time. The New Jersey/New York market is heavily saturated with dentists so focusing on branding rather than advertising has been helpful to me.

Getting Started

My advice to anyone who hasn’t started on social media and thinking about it, is to start right away. Get your team involved and only hire team members who are interested in social media. Don’t try to brand yourself like others. Be authentic. If you like to play the violin or you enjoy helping rescue dogs, vlogging (video blogging) about it and doing live streams around it is advantageous. It’s not about whether the topic is dental related, it is about the vulnerability and authenticity you share. The more niche your interests, the more likely you will connect with like-minded people. Don’t feel you have to only focus on dentistry.

As a profession, we have to admit, patients, in general, are scared to go to the dentist. They are not interested in seeing clinical photos or jokes about going to the dentist, they want to see our human side. If you can win at the game of social media, you not only can develop a thriving dental practice, you develop a sustainable branding machine that can lead to other unexpected opportunities around the things you love.

Dr. Chithra Durgam is in private practice at Aesthetic Dental in North Bergen, NJ. She is a keynote speaker on social media and practice management. Chithra has appeared on Good Day NY, featured in 201 Magazine Best of Bergen issue and included in the #1 NY Times Bestseller, Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. She can be reached on Instagram @drdurgam.