Understand this, if nothing else about the Internet. It is not just a resource for information, such as address and hours of your dental practice. It is also a source for your patients to share uplifting OR exploit damaging comments about you and your staff. The “conversation” exists whether you are there or not.
Hint: You want to be there.
Though you can’t stop the conversations from happening, you can control it, you can show and be there when your patients are looking for you. This is where social media marketing becomes your tool.
A Survey of US Dental Practices’ use of Social Media that appeared in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice (JCDP) revealed that of those responding only 52% were using social media. The study offered this insight “Many dentists are unsure how to measure the success of social media in their practice.”
This is where a competent social media agency or professional should be integrated into your practice’s dental marketing efforts to retain existing patients, as well as attracting new patient flow. We’re not talking a large one-size fits all company, but a local boutique office that will work with you, not around you. After all, you know your business better than anyone else. And the local social media marketing agency will look into which of a myriad of platforms will allow you to craft a unique message. Posting to Facebook the community events that your office participates in, makes your staff relatable. Posting sugar-free cake recipes/pictures on Pinterest, provides an actionable alternative to “don’t eat sweets.”
Pro Tip: You shouldn’t be talked into having a presence on every platform, and paying for someone’s time to monitor said platforms. Our advice? Go to where your audience exists already!
Again, from the published JCDP survey “It is estimated that 61% of adults in the US gather health information online.” Online reviews, think: Google and Facebook reviews are the sounding boards for “word of mouth” referrals.
By not being available you miss the opportunity to reinforce what a patient-centric practice you have with a “Thank you” to reviewers. Nor are you able to deflect negative comments with offers to rectify situations.
Additionally, where standard word of mouth was limited to friends of patients, on-line Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Google referrals, reach a wider audience of followers, thus increasing the universe for your dental marketing.
By not jumping on board the information super highway that the Internet provides, you leave your practice at a disadvantage vs. competing practices. Consider this example, you have offered “sedation dentistry” for the past six months. A new practice opens across the street and promotes their similar latest techniques in virtually “pain-free” care with testimonials on Snapchat to teens, the general populace on Facebook, explanatory articles on LinkedIn, etc. All those smiling, happy faces. To which practice do you think the new patient flow will go?
In short: Be present on the channels your audience is because they are having conversations about you both positive and negative and don’t you want to be there to answer their questions and be the experts to provide them with solutions? The answer: Yes.