The number of venues for marketing a business or a brand has grown exponentially, yet experts still agree that the most reliable form of advertising is word-of-mouth. People will trust the recommendations of the people they already know far more often than they will trust an ad on TV, in a magazine, or on a website banner. In fact, Nielson surveys show that 90% of consumers polled trust personal recommendations. Of course, since more and more consumers are interacting and learning about new products and services online, word-of-mouth has evolved into postings on consumer review and social media websites.
Smart social media marketing can do much more than secure “word-of-mouth” recommendations for dentists. Intelligent deployment of social media for dentists can help you develop your personal practice brand, draw the attention of your target audience, and reinforce the relationship you have with existing patients.
To optimize your ability to communicate via email with patients and invite them to follow you on social media, consistently request the email contact address of your clients. Let your patients and the public know about your social media accounts via mention on your website and in-office face-to-face conversations and reception area signage.
Facebook for Dentists
Over 1.4 billion users worldwide and over 180 million users in the U.S., to say that Facebook has a corner on the social media market is something of an understatement. While Facebook was once associated primarily with younger, college-aged users, the fastest growing group of users over the past 3 years is 55+, and age 35-54 now makes up over 30% of users. More women (53%) than men (46%) use Facebook on a regular basis. Most of this broad audience falls within the primary demographic that dentists are trying to reach. (See the latest 2014 Facebook Demographics Report from ISL.)
The most obvious advantage of Facebook for dentists is its broad usage and the many ways it can be used to increase personal referrals and drive traffic to your blog or website. Your dental practice Facebook account should be separate from you personal Facebook account The primary goal of your professional Facebook for dentists account should be to reinforce the relationships you already have with your existing patients. Encourage your patients to “Like” your page. Regularly post engaging information that your patients might enjoy reading, for example, office updates about employment of a new team member, newly completed courses, newly achieved professional designations, participation in a charity event, a new service provided, or new technology in use. Post links to your practice blog. If you do not have a blog, post links to interesting online articles relevant to oral health. You may also post a special promotion for patients who have liked your page, such as, $50 off in-office teeth whitening.
Some dentists posts photos of patients who have completed treatment to showcase their dazzling new smiles, with the patient’s permission, of course. Some practices encourage appreciative patients to post their “5-star” reviews. But, what if less laudatory comments are left on your practice page? Successful “Facebooking” requires consistent posting, careful control over what content is posted, and vigilant monitoring for negative comments.
Twitter for Dentists – Tweet Dental
With approximately 94 million users in the U.S., Twitter’s “microblogging” platform is the second most popular social networking outlet. Nearly 18% of U.S. Internet users actively use Twitter, and the average user age falls between 18-29. Twitter users are more ethnically diverse than users of other social media. In general, Twitter users live in more urban than rural areas. (See the August 2013 Twitter demographics.)
Like Facebook, Twitter has a wide range of uses for the Internet-savvy dentist. The twist, of course, is that you only have 140 characters in which to get your message across. While some might find this short format restrictive, others may enjoy the challenge of creating “headline” Tweets that can inform, engage, and entertain followers. The same content you would post to your Facebook account can be tweeted in abbreviated form. Much of the audience on Twitter enjoys lifestyle Tweets, so you might ask followers to Tweet links to nutritious recipes, articles on health and beauty, personal questions about oral health. Look for opportunities to offer solid advice that will position you as an engaged, caring authority.
In the right place with the right people using it, Twitter for dentists can be a highly successful marketing tool. As with Facebook, successful Twitter for dentists marketing depends on consistent use and, given the short, fast-paced, almost conversational format, this can prove challenging to the busy practicing dentist. If you have a dedicated office coordinator or marketing consultant, you may want to have them test the Twitter waters for a month to see if it attracts any new patients. One of the primary drawbacks of Twitter could be its demographics. If you practice in a primarily wealthy, suburban area, your Tweets likely won’t reach your target audience. If, however, you practice in an urban area and are looking to promote a hip, young image, Twitter for dentists might prove extremely rewarding.
DENTIST PROFIT SYSTEMS CLIENTS
Our clients are covered on all fronts with staff coaching and customized posts and tweets by Dentist Profit Systems content strategists. In addition to your own social media contributions, we strategically brand your practice and enhance your reputation.
We also familiarize our clients with Instagram and linking the Instagram “practice brand” page they administer to their practice’s Facebook account. This way they can quickly capture, caption, and share images from their mobile devices during their busy workday.
Check this blog frequently for additional posts on social media for dentists.