Hot off the presses!
Facebook is not just for teenagers anymore, and some Twitter users were actually privy to some ReallyVirtual real-time news updates of the latest Osama bin Laden raid.
Social media is here to stay, and if your dental practice does not have an active representation on these most popular online social communities, you are losing money. That’s right, losing money. By not actively using these communication mediums, de facto search engines, and local online communities to enhance your dental practice marketing plan, you are missing the boat to increased practice production.
What we’ll hope to outline for you with this post is how to easily go about increasing your dental practice social signature, and your gross production. In addition, you’re also taking the first steps to securing your good name by monitoring your online practice reputation.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the only social communities we will highlight because for now these are the most relevant and advantageous places for you to have an active dental practice representation.
Facebook & Twitter
As it is now, simply having a Facebook business page and Twitter profile for your dental practice immediately increases your online visibility. That won’t last; simply having a website doesn’t necessarily mean your site is found high in the most visible pages of search results when people use Google to look for a local dentist does it?
Back in ’98 simply having a dental website was probably enough to accomplish that goal. Now, not so much.
Profiting from your Facebook business page and Twitter account will entail regular practice participation, synergy with existing practice marketing, and the enlistment of your patients help.
Here is a simple outline of how dentists can begin to profit from using Facebook and Twitter to complement existing practice communications and new patient dental marketing. This of course is after you have established the page and profiles correctly, uploaded some practice photos and industry connection, and connected your Facebook page and Twitter profile with every practice website and existing marketing vehicle in use.
Enlist help recruiting ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’.
- Invite every single existing patient to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ you practice.
- Encourage every single existing patient to share your page with friends and family – and ask them to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ your practice too!
- Have staff connect with your social profiles and take an active role in their success.
Reward social activity on your dental practice Facebook business page and Twitter profile.
- Develop a token offer for patients that do ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ your practice page.
- Offer a discount for all referral ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ generated – something like “All new patients that were referred from friends or family, and ‘Like’ our Facebook page receive 10% off their first appointment!”
- Give away the information, sell the service.
As is the deal with Facebook, having incoming links from Twitter to your dental practice websites will also increase your online practice visibility. Generating quality inbound links should be an already important part of your search engine optimization goals of having your practice found when people search for a dentist online in your immediate area.
You’re a dentist and a trusted community professional – act like one. LinkedIn should be your reception wall on steroids. When your patients walk into your office they can see your diploma from dental school, advanced educational or professional achievements, and most likely any civic or community involvement in which your practice participates.
Shouldn’t people be able to learn that information before actually walking into the office?
Do you think that info can possibly have some effect on people’s chosen dental health professional?
LinkedIn is your virtual curriculum vitae, professional referral network, and internet job board all in one. And that is exactly how your dental practice can profit from a LinkedIn profile, here’s some more:
- Join and actively participate in Groups related to your professional interests to expand your network. Expanding your network=more connections=increased online visibility.
- Ask for Recommendations from industry contacts, professional connections, and even patients. These recommendations are viewed as testimonials of your expertise, think that might up your gross production a bit?
- Search for, use, and discuss Events. This functionality allows your dental practice to not only broadcast events you could be attending, but also publicize events that are taking place in your practice…such as a Free Oral Cancer Screening Day!
We know what you’re thinking: Facebook is fine in moderation, Twitter is a waste of your time, and LinkedIn could be a good idea…but how can YouTube possibly increase your gross production?
Read on grasshopper.
In case you didn’t know it YouTube is a website people use to upload, watch, and share video. It’s also a search engine, media outlet, social network, and television station for your dental practice all in one free and easy package. How dentists can profit from YouTube could be the subject of our next free e-book, so we’ll just concentrate on case presentation.
- You take before and after photos, why not video?
- Of course you’re already nurturing, collecting, and broadcasting patient testimonials – ever think about video testimonials?
- Do you think video may help people better understand the complex workings of a root canal, or a crown and bridge, or the difference between dentures and implants?
Social media isn’t going anywhere, and it will only get easier to apply toward any business goal – primarily, making more money. In order for your dental practice to increase production, retain existing patients, recruit more new local patients, and monitor your online practice reputation, you will need to embrace the social media tools available in the digital age.
Or, you can slowly watch your profits dwindle away to a competitor down the street that was smart and aggressive enough to take advantage of opportunity when it was presented.
We’ve talked about the benefits, but what are some of the problems you envision with using social media in your dental practice?
Facebook recently opened up a new version of their ‘Questions’ tool functionality. If Facebook or social media in general was not on your practice radar, you need to seek professional help!
It’s been discussed ad nauseam how social media is the hottest new thing and you can’t possibly continue practicing dentistry without at least a cursory practice presence on the second most popular website in the world. We won’t continue to beat you over the head with that message, for this week that is.
Facebook Questions is basically word of mouth gone viral – in their words, “Get answers from people you trust.” Can you see the connection between Facebook Questions and your dental practice?
Picture this scenario…
A prospective dental patient – we’ll call her Mary for the sake of this example – is online searching for a quality dentist in the area. She is new to the neighborhood, but has been chatting up the other Moms at open school nights and coffee klatches. Mary is often seen with mobile phone in hand, so she is familiar with finding quick answers to her questions.
Instead of calling all the other Moms, or asking neighbors, with the help of Facebook Questions, Mary can now reach out to all of those people in her search for a new family dentist. In less than a minute Mary can not only query her list of Facebook friends, but also friends of friends. And so on, and so on…and so on.
If the picture is not crystal clear by now, please forgive our futile attempt at a subtle suggestive scenario.
Consider this, Facebook Questions now allows users to learn from each other, see where other people stand, and share what they know. All in a simple practice page application.
If you cannot make the connection here to how Facebook Questions can help your dental practice recruit new patients, keep more existing patients, increase your online practice visibility, and generally amplify practice word of mouth, please let us know – leave a comment, post a concern, let us know why you can’t see the potential of Facebook Questions as a worthy addition to your patient communications toolbox.
If we can understand the reticence from the dental practice perspective, maybe we can help you navigate your way around the perceived obstacles. Social Dental Network is winning the hearts and minds of North American dental practices every day!
Stop all the procrastinating; the time has come for your dental practice to embrace social media as a patient communication tool, new patient recruitment avenue, and a significant contributor to your online practice visibility.
If used effectively, Facebook and social media as a whole, offers incredibly cost-effective ways for you to reach not only existing patients, but also potential new patients already in your target area, your surrounding community.
And guess what…many of them might be looking for a good dentist. And they might ask one of their digital connections for a referral, the patients are already there – get your practice connected and facilitate communication.
You’ve worked hard to build the word of mouth your dental practice relies on as what is most likely your number one new patient referral source. Social media combined with local search, takes that word of mouth, and digitally amplifies the message.