Dentists around the globe deserve high praise for finally embracing this monumental opportunity known as social media. Neighborhood and cosmopolitan dental practices alike are connecting with their local communities on Facebook and tweeting away on Twitter too.
To what end remains to be seen.
When we really get down to brass tacks, how can Twitter possibly help dentists recruit more new patients, or keep a larger percentage of existing ones?
It could be as easy as…Synch, Tweet, Save!
As digital dental marketing continues the tumultuous transition from blind leap dental social media monitoring to hyper-local online patient review amplification, the opportunity to capitalize on existing patient digital word of mouth is still hanging low on the local fruit tree.
Dental marketing is no longer a speakeasy dirty phrase best left to the most egotistical and shameless of local dental professionals.
Was that really ever the sentiment…isn’t marketing simply just communicating with your patients?
And doesn’t communication involve an exchange of information?
According to info aggregator Wikipedia, Communication has been derived from the Latin word “communis”, meaning to share.
Make it easy for your patients to share their opinions of your dental practice…they’re doing it whether you know it, like it, or not.
Back in December 2011, an opera crooning Manhattan dentist made national headlines for all the wrong reasons; it wasn’t stellar cosmetic dentistry work but rather a sticky legal issue about a gag order imposed on an unhappy patient spreading negative digital word of mouth about his dental appointment.
Sure, the associated attention may have helped this dentist’s singing career but the damage done to the professional online reputation of her dental practice will live on forever.
There’s the rub, eternity….or at least how the search engines currently define time and space.
From the looks of the local social dental landscape, we’re already past the point of above average dental practices using Facebook as a patient communication tool – and even as an inbound marketing component to their overall digital dental practice marketing plan.
What seems to be the sticking point is the effectiveness of these social dental efforts.
Back in 2010, if a dentist had a Facebook (Business) page, the main goal – however shortsighted it may have been – was to build ‘Likes.’
And that’s exactly where most dentists end their effectiveness.
Is there even a difference anymore?
Really there is no line; it dissolved into the ether when wireless connections and mobile phone accessibility advanced into our personal lives like an invasive force of convenience coated consumerism.
As it will remain from here on out, there is no difference between the online and offline reputation of a dental practice.
Patient word of mouth has gone digital…in a SoLoMo way.