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It’s amazing how long some traditions hang on. It’s even more amazing why almost nobody thinks to question those traditions.
Case in point: advertising for new dental patients. Historically, dentists used Yellow Pages ads, newspaper ads, direct mail campaigns, and a few radio or TV spots to reach dental prospects. Due to the nature of those media, the message had to be very focused on what was most likely to entice prospects to pick up the phone – price.
The advent and development of the internet changed the equation. Once social media sites began to proliferate, dentists had many more options had many more options to engage with their followers and prospects.
It’s incredible that so few do a decent job of it.
The Internet is NOT a Billboard
Go online and find the Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn accounts for your competitors. What’s the nature of the content on those pages? If your competition is like the vast majority of dentists, they’re pushing specials, discounts, and offers with the occasional glowing review thrown in for good measure.
Too many dentists treat social media like a traditional newspaper ad or direct mail piece. And as that insurance commercial made so painfully evident, “That’s not how this works.” The purpose of social media, broadly, is to socialize. That means giving your followers and prospects a chance to get to know you, like you, and view you as a trusted dental expert.
Take another look at those social media pages. Are you seeing helpful articles about dental problems and solutions? Are you seeing acknowledgements of positive patient reviews from the doctor, or at least the practice? Above all, are you seeing that practice engages with followers?
If so, you’d better go and do likewise, because at least one of your competitors is doing it right. The power of social media lies in engagement, and engagement relies on interaction.
You can’t interact in near-real time with someone through direct mail, newspaper ads, or billboards. You can, and must, interact online if you’re going to use the power of social media to attract more new patients. Used properly, you’ll attract more and better patients to your practice by maintaining a robust, lively, informative, and entertaining online presence.
Why Social Media Matter
Dentists today are viewed as being competent, advance-degreed professionals. In other words, one dentist is about as good as another.
You can’t afford to be lumped in with the great mass of dentists. If you’re just another dentist, all you have to offer patients is price
Your website can do a fairly good job of telling prospects why you and your practice are different and should be the choice for your market’s prospects. But your website is from you, and has less credibility for that reason.
People don’t believe dentists who talk about themselves. They believe other people who talk about how great this doctor is and how wonderfully they were treated by the staff. If you have glowing reviews on your social media pages, or any neutral review site like HealthGrades or Yelp, you have money in the bank… if you keep the conversation going.
Otherwise, you can come off as aloof, uninterested, and even arrogant. Kiss those prospects goodbye; they’ll go to another competent dentist who’s demonstrated that he or she cares.
Social media is designed for interaction, and it’s what your prospects are hungry for. Give them want they want, and they’ll choose you much more often. If you don’t have time to monitor social media, choose a trusted staff member to keep the conversations going.
If you’re going to be on social media, and you should be, be social. Otherwise, just rent a billboard.