Social media can be intimidating to many dentists. However, the truth is, it can also be a significant and cost-effective marketing asset. Social media is ripe with opportunities for growing your practice, improving your reputation and spreading the word about your dental practice online. Whether you are starting a new dental practice or just looking to expand your patient base, social networks should be a part of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Here are 10 quick and easy ways to promote your dental practice on social media.
1. Find where potential patients congregate online: It does not make sense to set up your office building in the middle of nowhere with no potential patients for hundreds of miles around. It also does not make sense to set up social profiles on platforms where your potential patients never go. It is important to understand where your current and potential patients spend their time online and build your social media presence accordingly.
While your patients may assemble in a number of different platforms, do not even try to be everywhere at once. You will spread yourself too thin and will not be able to make a concerted effort on any one network. You must choose one or two social networks with the strongest patient presence, and start from there. You can consider Facebook as a good starting point.
2. Share relevant information: A lot of patients search for dental information online, but they often find unreliable resources. Your social network page should provide patients with the ability to access critical information quickly. You must look for newer ways to share general information such as treatment reminders, oral hygiene tips, etc. Sharing the latest news regarding some prevailing health hazard is an effective way to provide useful information to patients. You can also consider providing updates on the latest procedures, introduce staff, share pre- and post-treatment care information, and provide the latest updates related to your dental practice.
3. Encourage patient participation: In order to encourage active participation from patients, you can consider ending your posts with a friendly suggestion to post a comment. You can also ask questions or post remarks that encourage patient participation. It is advisable to keep questions open-ended and relevant to your dental practice. You can also ask your patients to share their health and wellness stories regarding their experience with your practice. By allowing patients to share their experiences, you will attract positive reviews to your social media page. Patient engagement is one of the biggest benefits of social media. By gathering patient reviews and comments, you will demonstrate that patient satisfaction is your priority.
4. Create online communities: Creating online communities is one of the most recognizable opportunities offered by social networks. Illness can be very isolating for patients. This is where online communities and support groups can help patients cope. Online support communities prove to be more helpful because of their immediacy and accessibility. Almost every social network leverages shared interests to bring potential patients together in an online space, where they can feel comfortable sharing their stories. Building an online community where your patients can interact with you, as well as with fellow patients, will allow them to connect on many levels. It also can give patients the opportunity to explore something they may not feel comfortable doing during a face-to-face interaction. Building online communities can help patients come together with others who are experiencing similar problems.
5. Respond to patient feedback: Two-way communication between a dentist and patient is critical to the success of any dental practice. Dental practices that interact with patients through social media networks enjoy more loyalty.
It is important to search for your dental practice mentions on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and respond to patient reviews. Your concern will make patients feel that they are important and their opinion counts. Once you have addressed patient feedback, you must let patients know about changes and improvements, and thank them for sharing feedback.
6. Improving patient satisfaction: Social networks hold a lot of promise for improving patient satisfaction due to seamless communication. The overall presence a dental practitioner might have on a patient’s Facebook newsfeed will go a long way in making the patient feel cared for and involved in his/her treatment options. Through involvement in various dental care campaigns and seeing oral care tips, patients will feel empowered in maintaining their oral hygiene. Social networks also play a major role in developing a sense of trust and confidence in your patients for your dental practice. This is because once you are active on social networks, your patients will ask you questions and seek your advice. Be sure to answer their questions in a polite, professional and timely manner, and they will look forward to your inputs. This is one of the best ways to earn your patients’ trust. Even if you cannot answer all of their questions, just the fact that you are acknowledging their problems will show you care and are concerned.
7. Share good-quality images and videos: Social media marketers are increasingly using pictures and videos in their online campaigns. Visuals have greater impact and are proven to have greater engagement. The visuals are likely to catch a patient’s immediate attention. According to studies, visual content is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text-based content.
In addition, content with visuals attracts 95 percent more views than those without visuals. Therefore, you must use high-quality visuals to convey your message to your target audience. Keeping HIPAA guidelines in mind, you can even publish before-and-after shots of patients.
8. Advertise your appointment process and availability: While posting your office hours in your profile is important, social media offers opportunities for promoting your practice’s availability for taking appointments. You can post information about flexible hours around the holidays or let patients know in real time that your services are available for last-minute call-in appointments.
9. Become a thought leader by sharing informative content: There is nothing wrong with sharing jokes on Facebook and Twitter, but social media can prove to be a key vehicle for establishing yourself as an expert in your field. If you are a family dentist, posting tips or sharing articles from other medical websites about common procedures or treatment options may encourage patients to keep coming back to you for more information. This will build confidence among patients and keep you at the top of potential patients’ minds for future references.
10. Foster strong relationships with patients: Social media is all about nurturing relationships, whether through sharing informative content or answering questions posted by patients on your Facebook wall. You must respond to questions and comments and provide helpful feedback when needed. You can increase your visibility to friends and family of your patients and social media followers, and word-of-mouth will eventually take over.
How can social media benefit your dental practice?
By utilizing social networks, you will not only stay in the game but also enjoy significant benefits of maintaining a strong online presence. So if you are looking for a cost-effective yet influential way of marketing your dental practice, social networks are your ultimate destination. Social media marketing can help you grow as a dentist by introducing you to valuable connections and keep you updated.
1. Increased brand awareness: Social networks offer valuable opportunities for sharing relevant content and increasing your brand visibility. You can use social networks as channels for promoting your practice’s mission and goals. This is important because it will make you more accessible to new patients and familiar to existing patients.
2. Increased patient loyalty: According to a report by Texas University, dental practices that engage on social media networks enjoy greater brand loyalty from patients. Therefore, practices should take advantage of the tools offered by social media networks for connecting with their target audience. A strategic social media marketing plan can influence patients into being your brand ambassadors.
3. More leads generation: Every piece of content that you share on social media is an opportunity for converting visitors to potential patients. As you grow your online fan following, you will have greater access to existing and potential patients. Initially, your click-through rates may be low, but the number of opportunities that social networks present are enormous.
4. Improved conversion rates: Studies have proven that effective social media marketing for dentists can result in higher conversion rates. The fact that dental practices become personalized by interacting on social networks is the biggest contributor toward increasing the conversion rate. Moreover, social media has a 98 percent higher lead-to-close ratio than other marketing activities. A large number of social media followers can help increase trust and credibility in your dental practice, representing social proof.
5. Make valuable associations: One of the biggest advantages offered by social networks is the networking opportunities. Social networks allow dentists to connect and collaborate with colleagues and associates all over the world. In addition, dentists get to participate in useful conversations taking place online. If you are not involved in conversations on various social networks, you are missing a chance to understand important issues. From discussing the latest treatment options to HIPAA issues, social networks can keep you informed. Using professional social networking channels can help potential patients notice you. Having a solid presence on professional sites may help you increase your search rankings and improve your online reputation.
Creating an active social media presence is one of the best ways to market your dental practice. Social media marketing for dentists improves patient engagement, drives dentist alignment and fosters a healthier society overall. Practice Builders offers innovative solutions for promoting your dental practice, engaging with current patients and attracting new patients, and educating the community. To receive a free consultation, call us today.