Why every dentist needs social media marketing
If you’re a dental practice owner working to improve clinic flow efficiencies, the patient experience and increase treatment plan acceptance, you’ve probably looked into marketing your business with social media. This is both prudent and protects your long-term interests. The global dentistry is projected to grow to over $60 billion by 2024 due to increased awareness of the importance of oral health — meaning there will be more patients and opportunities, but also more competition.
Social media marketing is an effective way to attract the eyes —and teeth— of potential patients. The first question many dentists ask is, “Does a dental practice really need social media?” Much like flossing, the answer is always a resounding “Yes!” and it should be committed to daily.
Need some more convincing? NP Marketing has gathered some facts for you to sink your teeth into. Discover our strong, strategic reasons why your dental practice needs social media marketing now.
Influence is important
Evidence shows social media marketing, if managed correctly, can be a great tool to increase brand awareness and influence purchasing decisions. In fact, 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals and, of those, 78% say that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases.
Build credibility and trust
Establishing credibility online is the same as it is offline: be genuine, consistent and open. By using a social media channel like a Facebook or Instagram page, you can develop a reputation and build relationships before even have met a patient.
Not sure where to start? Try using the knowledge you have to educate patients about new procedures and treatments, and provide your unique insights on them. This is an opportunity for you to open wide, so to speak, and additionally offer a perspective into your practice, its team and expertise while also showcasing your unique services.
If you’re comfortable with video, you could also try uploading a short clip (30-60 seconds) talking about a treatment. For instance, you can create a video on dental implants, pair it with related informative social media posts. Fill the minute by exploring questions like ‘Who is an ideal candidate for dental implants?’, ‘What does the procedure entail?’ or ‘What are common myths about the treatment?’
Video is a great social media marketing tactic for dental specialists like oral and maxillofacial surgeons as it delivers information that is both unknown and pertinent to potential patients. As for the accompanying posts, these could include before-and-after dental implant treatment pictures or use text overlaid onto an image to provides quick facts.
Establish an authoritative brand voice
If one of your social media marketing goals is to become an authority on the latest dental practices, technologies and trends, it takes time and consistent posting on social media. The benefit? You’ll slowly build patient trust and credibility from peers, who will validate your insights via engagement.
Step one is a continuous flow of content on your social channels, such as:
- Talking about the latest dentistry technologies
- Sharing educational articles written by industry experts
- Showcasing how new technology or treatments are offered at your practice
- Sharing pictures of your team communicating with a patient (a sort of in-action picture of what a patient can expect)
Every dental practice needs a continuous flow of content to build a brand voice that differentiates it from the competition. This means being consistent in scheduling posts on social media channels and focusing on content that reflects your brand and the interests of your followers. The payoff will start with metrics like reach and engagement, but can quickly grow into conversions like new patients and bookings.
Harness the power of word-of-mouth
Retention of patients is critical; research suggests that a patient, on average, will generate close to $900-$1,000 per year in billings for a general dentistry clinic and will stay with the same practice for about 10 years, not to mention the referrals they bring in. That’s a lifetime patient value of approximately $10,000. With a figure that large, establishing a strategy to retain current patients via social media marketing becomes no laughing-gas matter.
What’s the best way to retain current patients?
Stay at your patients’ top-of-mind by keeping in touch with them — social media marketing makes it creative and easy as 1-Tooth-3! For instance, you can communicate about new treatments that are being introduced to the practice so that your current patients learn more about your dental clinic, you can do anything from Facebook and Instagram contests to simply answering all questions or comments left on your dental practice’s channels. A quarterly e-newsletter sharing interesting current events and health tips is another effective way to keep in touch.
What about attracting new patients?
For new patient acquisition, what you are trying to achieve on social media is influencing the purchasing decision of a new patient, which is where word-of-mouth becomes pivotal. If your content is strong, patients will engage with it through likes and shares of your posts on their family and friends’ accounts, which increases your reach (a.k.a. influence). We’ll talk about driving engagement and why high-quality, consistent content is essential to that goal in a future blog post.
Paid campaigns: Put your money where your mouth is with
Paid campaigns can help dentists reach patients in a cost-effective way, across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. These also empower dental marketers to use different targeting tools to reach new audiences quickly.
Monitor and manage your online reputation
Dentistry practice patients place a lot of trust in online reviews on Facebook, Google and RateMD, among innumerable other platforms. Statistics show that people trust online reviews almost as much as peer reviews. For the health of your dental practice’s brand, you need to monitor online reviews and manage your online reputation by scheduling time and preparing responses for all comments and reviews — both positive and negative.
Do I really need to answer negative comments?
While it’s about as fun as pulling teeth, it’s probably more important for dentists to answer negative comments than positive ones. In doing so, you’re working to resolve an issue with not just one disgruntled patient, but also showing potential and current patients your professionalism and care for everyone’s experience. Check out our blog posting on managing your online reputation to learn more.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool for dental practices that requires finesse and planning. Your current and potential patients are on these platforms and you should be too. If you need guidance putting together the right strategy for your dental practice, please reach out to Nathalia Porras Digital Marketing today. Our experienced, expert team will help you see the benefits of social media marketing for dental clinics that’ll get you smiling in time.