3 Social Media Mistakes That Are Putting Dentists Out Of Business

by | Nov 28, 2018 | Dental Marketing, Need to Know, Social Media

Update: Just a little something to chew on.

If you look out in your average dental practice waiting room, you’ll find the same thing you find everywhere else: people on their phones. What they are doing on them is anyone’s guess — scrolling through Facebook, catching up on email or texting with a friend. What they aren’t doing is reading magazines on the coffee table.

Leaping into the digital and social media space isn’t easy for most dentists, who cling to those magazines and print advertising as their main source of marketing. A recent survey that appeared in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice revealed that only 52% of the respondents were using social media, and the majority of those surveyed aren’t able to measure its effect on their marketing efforts. 

As someone who has dedicated her career to social media — and its measured success —I can tell you that failing to capture and use data from social media is a common oversight for most dental practices, but it’s not one of the more crucial mistakes.

Mistake #1: Failing to meet your audience where they are.

Valpak, Yellow Pages, and, yes, those magazines are still common ways for dentists to market to new patients. While print isn’t dead, it’s certainly not the lifeblood of modern dentist offices. Think about it: When was the last time you called a business based on their ad in a magazine or their name in a phonebook? 

Of course, I’m not saying to pull all paper ads; there is value in name recognition and placement. However, there are easier, more effective ways to get your practice out in front of your target audience than the one-way conversation of print. Social media not only lets your brand reach more new and current customers and give you that delicious data you’ve been missing, it also gives customers a chance to leave reviews, ask questions, post pictures, and share your practice with their wider audience–right from your waiting room.

Mistake #2: Thinking “Word of Mouth” is just “Word of Mouth”

Word of mouth referrals are a powerful thing–when they happen. That personal connection is one of the strongest ways most dental practices stay alive. What we’re seeing in Northern Virginia, however, is that when a dentist retires, so do the leads. The practice is then left to completely restructure their efforts, and in most cases, they need to start from scratch.

The tricky thing about word-of-mouth business is that people rarely make a decision based on one person’s opinion alone. They hear the name, they research it on the internet, they look over the practice website, social pages, and publications. They aren’t basing their future business on their neighbor’s straight teeth; they are basing their decision on the whole experience. If your practice doesn’t have an informative website or an engaging social media strategy, you are probably losing more word-of-mouth clients than you get. 

Mistake #3: Never starting

You know that look patients give when you tell them you found four cavities, signs of gingivitis, and two reasons they’ll need braces? That’s the look I get from most of my clients when I mention social media. I see their brain swim with Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, and they become too overwhelmed to start.

The fact is, however, that just like their patients with a mouthful of medical issues, they need to start if they are going to thrive.. The good news? It doesn’t have to be complicated. The best social media strategy is one you can comfortably hand off to your staff at the front desk. I always tell my clients, “One is better than none.” So, pick the easiest platform, start telling your story, and make it a part of your daily schedule. 

And remember, social media should be fun. The best social media strategy is one you actually do, and you’ll do it if you find value and enjoy doing. It’s the best way to leave your clients–and your business–smiling.