Is Your Dental Practice SoLoMo Connected?

Dental practices across the world all share one common need; new patients. Communicating with those potential and existing patients in their local community seems to still be in the dark ages.

At least the analog ages.

Or, more often than not dental practices rely on existing patient word of mouth to generate new patient referrals. This is tried and true methodology that still works today, and is more than likely one of the top new patient referral sources for the average dental practice.

Would you agree?

With technology advancing faster than we can keep up, word of mouth is still a proven new patient generator, but we can certainly amplify that word of mouth to go digital – and social, local, and mobile.

How can your dental practice take advantage of an easy to manage, automatically administered, SoLoMo new patient acquisition system?

Get social. Think Local. Go Mobile.

Social Media (So)

Forget all the stats, figures, case studies, and IPOs – they’ll be more, and they’ll all become more defined and easier to decipher as it relates to your dental practice. One thing is certain with social media marketing for the dental practice; your participation will immediately increase your online dental practice visibility.

People search online. People will continue to do so, in different ways. Your dental practice needs to have local social representation.

You’ve heard it before, and it bears repeating – Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are three of the ten most popular websites on the planet. Google is tops. And LinkedIn is not too far behind at #16.*

For a lot of you, you’re still wishing Google would somehow recognize your beautiful little dental website enough to rank it in the first few pages of search results when someone searches for a dentist in your area.

You know what they say about wishes…

Social media for your dental practice will not only complement your existing website SEO efforts by building quality backlinks, driving traffic to your website(s), and increasing keyword influence; it will also allow your local dental practice to stake a claim on (at least 4) of the 16 most popular websites in the world.

Yes, it’s the whole world, and what does that have to do with your local neighborhood, we know. Here’s the answer, as these social communities-come-local news outlets, develop into full-on social local search engines in and of themselves, your dental practice can actually have a highly visible representation within these environments.

Can you say the same about Google placement for your primary targeted keyword(s) with your dental website?

How many reviews of your dental practice are available through your Google Places page?

Local Search (Lo)

Local search is not some esoteric term resigned for the tech geeks and internet marketing mavens. Local search is the biggest change to positively affect the neighborhood small business community – of which your dental practice is a participant.

The search engines – generally the Big 3 of Google, Yahoo, and Bing – have virtually changed the local online landscape when it comes to the search engine results pages. You’ve seen it already, Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Local search is not some esoteric term resigned for the tech geeks and internet marketing mavens. Local search is the biggest change to positively affect the neighborhood small business community – of which your dental practice is a participant.

The search engines – generally the Big 3 of Google, Yahoo, and Bing – have virtually changed the local online landscape when it comes to the search engine results pages. You’ve seen it already, Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

An over-simplified explanation of this is how the search engine results pages now base results off not only they keywords we type in, but also the location from which we are searching. They (search engines) know where we’re searching from just like they know what product, information, or service for which we’re searching.

How does your dental practice get in the game?

First, by confirming and controlling your local search engine environment profiles; that is your local search foundation. Old news.

Second, you build local online visibility on top of that foundation by incorporating website links, practice photos and videos, patient reviews…and social media. Getting there.

But this is just the beginning, with the search engines changing how they rank these independent profiles within these digitally localized environments, a boatload of time and analysis is paramount to overall your dental practice realizing local search optimization results.

Results in this case being top of the first page placement for desired keyword local searches. That and more new patients seeing your local profiles, connecting through to your website, or contacting your office for an appointment or information.

Maybe an offer or deal could entice the browser looking for a dentist, in both the local search and social media environments.

Mobile Visibility (Mo)

What is your digital practice mobile dental marketing identity?

Smartphones, mobile phones, cell phones, crackberrys, ipood’s, whatever you call them, you better have a digital dental practice identity accessible through these devices if you want to keep pace with digital marketing technology.

And your patients. Second that for the expanding ultra-portable phylum of devices.

It is estimated that in less than five years, mobile access (incl tablet computers) will be the preferred mode of choice for us to connect with the Internet. To see a recent article from the NY Times you can read here, a Google representative puts it succinctly.

“Mobile search is definitely going to surpass desktop search,” said Scott B. Huffman, who works on mobile search at Google and leads its search evaluation team. “The lines will pass, and I think they’ll pass before anyone thought they would.”

Is your dental practice prepared to deal with this shift in accessibility?

The time not to be concerned with such trivial affairs has passed, the science is evident and the people (and Google) are defining the landscape. Action is needed on your behalf if you’d like retirement to look as you envision.

The shift into mobile search optimization, geo-location applications, user-generated content, QR codes, and mobile dental marketing trends as they relate to the local neighborhood small business should be mandatory components of any dynamic dental practice marketing plan.

Your dental practice is also a local neighborhood small business, if you’re not digitally visible, accessible, and relatable, your business will suffer. That’s not fair to you or your practice.

Besides time, what prevents you from taking your dental practice digital identity Social Local and Mobile?

*Source: Alexa.com TopSites
 

+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.

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