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Adding social media to your marketing strategy is a good idea for dentists who want to reach and influence more dental prospects. However, according to the ranking from a December, 2016 article, not all social media will deliver anything like the same number of followers.
The four most-used social media sites are Facebook (1.1 billion users), YouTube (1 billion users), Twitter (310 million users), and LinkedIn (255 million users).
From those numbers you might figure that your best strategy is to have heavy presences on Facebook and YouTube. You’d be right, but for the wrong reasons.
Those user figures are global numbers. There’s no guarantee that your patients and dental prospects use these social media platforms with anything like the same distribution. All dentistry is local, and your approach to social media has to reflect the realities of your market.
Breaking It Down
Some dentists try to gather information on their prospects’ social media use via online forms or during the admission process. That’s generally not a good idea. It’s one thing for prospects to exchange their email addresses to receive a white paper or condition-specific emails from your practice. It’s completely different when a business is asking them to share an ongoing part of their lives.
A better strategy is to prominently post calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website (i.e., Like Us on Facebook) or to provide them in your post-appointment checkout forms. That allows prospects and patients to be in control of how strongly they want to engage with your online posts and tweets.
Your staff can even mention a particularly interesting Facebook post or YouTube video to new patient callers. That allows your appointed patients, or information-seekers, to learn more about you and your practice before their first appointment.
Divide and Conquer
There are probably a number of markets where the overwhelming majority of dental prospects favor one form of social media. The most likely candidate is Facebook, and a well-considered social media strategy can pay dividends on that forum.
Let’s be clear – your prospects don’t go to Facebook to find a dentist, so your CTAs need to be fairly subtle. Social media is about influencing your prospects to visit your website. Research shows a dental website is the final piece of online information that prospects consult before choosing a dentist.
Dental Videos Rule
Research also shows that among younger internet users, there are substantial numbers that prefer to watch short videos rather than read articles. Regardless of your market, a solid YouTube presence is one of the best things you can do for your marketing efforts.
Your doctor and patient testimonial videos, while should also appear on your website, must be well done and speak to prospects’ needs, wants, and concerns. While “Gee, Dr. X’s practice is so wonderful!” testimonials are fine, you’ll be further ahead by featuring videos specific to the areas of service that you want to promote.
That means testimonials from patients who are delighted with their new smiles, with their ability to eat again without pain, and whose mouths were once again made healthy through your efforts.
Twitter and LinkedIn
If your practice is in an urban or suburban area, you may have substantial numbers of dental prospects on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. These two social media platforms are best used to keep your practice “top-of-mind” with your prospects, and/or to announce exciting news.
Without paying for research, it’s difficult to be certain exactly which social media platforms are best for your practice. Follow these guidelines, though, and you’ll reach an expanding base of dental patients and prospects.