Congratulations to BellaVista DentalCare! Our July 2012 Social Practice of the Month!
BellaVista DentalCare in Phoenix, Arizona provides general dentistry for both children and adults. Despite the busy pace in their practice, they focus on giving each patient individualized attention, advice and instruction.
How do they manage this? Social media helps a lot. By starting conversations that extend outside the office, they discover people’s individual needs, concerns, and joys! They express genuine interest. They treat people, not teeth.
Here are some tips from BellaVista DentalCare for starting conversations with patients:
Tip 1: Ask People What They’re Excited About
BellaVista’s promotions are conversation starters. They’re asking their patients “What Makes You Smile?” and patients respond with a photo. This is awesome because:
- People LOVE sharing their passions. It’s a great way to get interaction and it’s so much fun to discuss with them online and in person.
- Photos are one of the strongest things on your Facebook wall. Fun photos of your patients are even better.
- People enjoy winning things. And what do you get excited about? Increased friendship, engagement and loyalty with patients. Win-win.
Tip 2: Share Your Excitement
BellaVista DentalCare doesn’t just feature photos from their patients on their Facebook Timeline. They also have photos of team members “out of their scrubs” doing outdoor activities, and spending family time. Patients love seeing what’s underneath the mask. It makes you human and it helps patients feel more comfortable with you.
Tip 3: Share What You Know
Social media is fun and engaging. But never forget that most of your patients come to you because you’re their oral health care professional. Someone they trust. You have information that they want and need—advice, tips, news, etc. The perfect place to share this information is first, on your blog. BellaVista DentalCare has been using our Blog Kickstarts (By the way, are you using them? If not, get started!) to share information about their cool technology and services, building more trust and fostering more conversations.
We asked Sandy…
We asked Sandy, their designated social media manager (and practice hygienist), what their biggest surprise has been using social media marketing in their practice. She said, “Our team has been surprised to see how many of our patients enjoy the personal relationship we have developed through our social media. Each informational piece, as well as the ‘one-line’ posts have brought more of a ‘family’ feel. We have a busy dental practice and we try to respect our patients’ busy schedules with high efficiency. The social media avenue has been a successful way to impart information about our practice and dental health issues, as well as delivering a more personal touch from all of us.”
Lesson Learned: Social Media allows you to develop a personal relationship outside of the office. Personal relationships with your patients mean higher retention and better referrals!
Next, we asked what social media marketing tactics they’ve had the most success with. Sandy said, “Our primary online tool, prior to connecting with Social Practice, was our practice website. We knew it was being used, but mostly by new patients to check out our practice philosophy, office hours, services, and to see how it fit with their dental needs. With the development of our Facebook page and introduction of the blog, our current patients and friends are now checking on our blog posts and occasionally we receive personal comments there. The simple ‘one-line’ posts and the links attached are successful also, according to comments made when patients are in office. Facebook posting and blogs have brought about a new form of communication.”
Lesson Learned: Have you ever wanted to give your patients further information, but you weren’t sure if they were listening? Social Media is a great place for patients to get your advice, tips, and information about your services on their time and their terms, which means that they’ll be more attentive and focused.
When we asked BellaVista DentalCare’s opinion about the biggest benefits of social media for THEIR PATIENTS, we were told, “Our patients communicate a more personal connection with our practice. Our patients can receive dental information, teeth trivia and links for health related issues via their connection with us on Facebook. When a patient leaves our practice with a pamphlet or verbal recommendation, it is easy to forget about it. When our patients access the Facebook page, they can easily obtain information about current health issues and will access it immediately instead of later. They also will share that information with their friends. I know this, because this is the feedback I hear from patients and personal friends I’ve shared posts with. I often share my links with friends on my personal page and receive input there, as well.”
Lesson Learned: Facebook posts and blog articles (both ours and your own originals) are packed with useful information for your patients. Your patients want this information, but one visit every six months (if that) just isn’t enough time to digest all that information. With online access, your patients can get a tidbit every day. Continuous study instead of a cram session: we all know which one is better.
Next, we asked Sandy to share her thoughts about the biggest benefits of social media for THEIR PRACTICE. She said, “In our short time with social media marketing, we have not seen new patients directly from our Facebook page. The benefit we have seen in our practice is the growing relationship with our patients. I believe this will, in time, develop new relationships, as a result of continuing to provide useful information via our Facebook and blog posts.”
Lesson Learned: The trick with social media marketing is that it’s a slow-progression. Build your following, create trust and value, and then the relationship will start to spread. And the beauty of social media marketing is that when it does spread, it’s powerful and effective.
When asked her opinion about what’s the HARDEST part of social media marketing, Sandy said, “The challenging aspect of social media marketing is having the time to learn and implement the awesome tools Social Practice has for us. I need a full day each week or a few extra hours each day. However, as time progresses, I understand I will be able to spend less time posting and researching, since Social Media marketing is new to me and our practice. My Social Practice has a multitude of ideas and strategies to implement and it’s worth the investment in time to learn how to use the tools.”
Lesson Learned: It takes time. Be ready to devote a certain amount of time each day or week to be truly effective.
We asked Sandy which services or items provided by My Social Practice have proven to be the most helpful. Sandy replied, “I love the Daily Kickstart Posts—it takes away from thinking of something new each day and lends to my own creativity for posts I create myself. The Blog templates are easy to use and pertinent to services we provide. I post notes about the Blog post to redirect our friends to read the blogs. The Social Practice support team have been extremely helpful, offer new ideas and positively direct me to the best solution, no matter what I ask. Our ongoing relationship with My Social Practice has led us up the social media marketing avenue, where we would not have so easily navigated on our own.”
Lesson Learned: Just like anything else, social media has a learning curve, but we’re here to help you get faster, better, and have more fun with it.