THERE’S A LOT OF BUZZ OUT THERE TODAY about social media marketing for business. Some dental practices are jumping on the social media bandwagon simply because somebody said, “You should be on Facebook!” without any real thought about why they should be on Facebook. Other dental practices have an intuitive hunch that there IS something to online word-of-mouth marketing using social media, but they’re just not sure yet what it is. No worries! Read on…
Have you asked yourself any (or all) of the following questions?
- Why on Earth would I do social media in my dental or orthodontic practice?
- Won’t social media just waste our valuable time?
- Where (and how) would we start?
- How would we ever begin to measure social media’s effectiveness?
Regardless of where your practice is in its social media marketing evolution—just starting out, or already an expert—here are some strategies that will help.
Strategy #1: Attracting New Patients Through Visibility & “Share-Ability”
In this short article, we’ll spare you all the statistics about social media’s growth. You’ve likely seen the numbers—they’re staggering. Forward-thinking practices understand the significance of being visible on this stage.
Indeed, marketing has changed. Social media thought leader, Chris Brogan, says, “Today, marketing is about engaging with communities and delivering products and services with stories that spread.” Increased top-of-mind awareness with existing patients leads to more referrals. It’s true that word-of-mouth advertising has been around forever—but today the widespread use, ease and scalability of social media tools has given rise to a powerful new dynamic called Community-Driven Marketing:
Community-Driven Marketing is defined as “cultivating and enabling fans who willingly share your story with their trusted, highly-scalable, permission-based social networks.” Are you making it easy for patients to help tell your practice story? With social media marketing tools, you no longer need to be the only one lifting a bullhorn!
And don’t forget the “file cabinet millionaire” concept when it comes to the effects of social media marketing. Studies show that a shockingly low percentage of your existing patients actually know (or think about) the scope of services that you offer. Publishing content and educating current patients about a wide variety of related topics through your blog, Facebook wall posts, YouTube videos and tweets directly leads to increased knowledge, awareness, referral potential, and greater case acceptance.
Promotions, offers, contests, check-ins and deals create interest and viral buzz—people enjoy sharing them! Contests and giveaways can range from extremely simple and inexpensive to more complex and costly. Either way, when compared to traditional marketing (magazine ads, direct mail, billboards, etc.), these types of promotions provide great value and traction.
Strategy #2: Increasing Patient Loyalty Through Culture, Connections & Clout
Your practice likely has a culture that you’ve carefully nurtured over the years. Today, “trust cultures” are the new branding. What do we mean by that? In the old days, most practices believed that their brand primarily centered on a logo and static website, right? Not anymore. Successful practice brands are about online connections, likable transparency, and dynamic content.
Social media drip methods, using integrated social media tools, are great ways to establish and maintain a trust culture. Not only do current and prospective patients catch glimpses into your practice culture, but they also pick up on a very powerful message—that you listen, that you care, that you’re open/honest, and that you treat people, not teeth (see image below from Dr. Denny’s Facebook wall). Subconscious transference also takes place in people’s minds when your practice is technologically leading edge. The perception is that you’re leading edge in everything you do—including your dental services.
Seth Godin (serial entrepreneur dubbed by many as “America’s Greatest Marketer”) puts it this way:
“First, ten. This, in two words, is the secret of the new marketing. Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you… Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people… Repeat… This approach changes the posture and timing of everything you do. You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses. You can only market to people who are willing participants.”
Clout? Prior to the widespread reach of social media, how would your patient base and prospects know (for example) about the Invisalign CE course you’re attending? They wouldn’t. Social media’s publishing ease and immediacy enables you to reach out to audiences each time you do something that benefits them—and it’s all done with permission (see image below from Dr. Gemmi’s Facebook wall).
Strategy #3: Practice Growth & Personal Fulfillment Through Giving & Introspection
We understand ROI. We totally get it. And, is it possible that embracing effective social media marketing strategies in a dental practice also serves “higher purposes”, in addition to putting derrières in chairs? Dentists with vision are answering this question with a resounding “Yes!”. Here’s why…
Although today we’re using tools called Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, those names may be different tomorrow. It’s NOT about tools. Tools come and go. Thoughtful social media use in a dental practice develops a mindset—an attitude about doing business and marketing that’s independent of tools.
Social media storytelling reinforces through text and visuals (photos and video), that what you’re doing matters. And while we don’t mean to oversell this benefit, we’ve seen these outward manifestations of in-practice cultures not only strengthen patient relationships and increase business, but also positively impact team dynamics as well.
The dental practices that most successfully use social media marketing are the ones committed to business on a deeply intimate—almost spiritual—level. They are the practices that consider revenue increases BOTH in terms of traditional, short-term ROI and as a natural, long-term outgrowth of better serving people.
The team at Michael Richards Orthodontics “gets it”. The video below captures their energy and culture as they Raced For The Cure during a recent Susan G. Komen cancer event. Their motto was, “We Brace and Race for the Cure!”.
This marketing paradigm shift is foundational, and it’s here to stay—a fresh new way of managing patient relationships and cultivating business. And it doesn’t take very much time. Once you’re familiar with the tools you can accomplish a LOT in 15 minutes a day. Plus, you can utilize several members of your team so the burden doesn’t always fall to one person.
Social media marketing attracts new business and grows a dental practice while fostering a giving attitude that’s infectious and self actualizing. If you already have this feeling in your practice, social media becomes the fluid platform—the structure—for systematically sharing your practice story. If you don’t have this feeling in your practice, social media will help you develop it… Never as fast as you’d like, but much faster than you can imagine.
Social Media Marketing is Absolutely Game Changing for Dental & Orthodontic Practices
Now’s the time to purposefully get on board—or be left behind. To get started using social media to market your dental or orthodontic practice click >HERE, or call us at (877) 316-7516.
We look forward to working with you.