We are all familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and the various other social media outlets consuming the free time of people around the world. You probably even have a Facebook profile yourself; maybe you share the occasional family photo on Instagram and send out a tweet every now and then. But are you doing these things for your dental practice as well? If not, you should be.
Social media has become a necessary component of any successful dental marketing plan for 3 main reasons:
- Patient Retention
- New Patient Acquisition
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization means optimizing your dental practice website for the search engines so that your website appears at the top of the search results when someone in your area is searching for a new dentist. There are many components that make up a successful SEO strategy and one of those components is having an active social media presence.
Search engines, such as Google and Bing, have algorithms that determine where your site is placed in the search results and it is commonly believed that “social signals” play an important role. Having active social media accounts on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube gives your business and its corresponding website credibility, it shows that you are engaged with your followers and involved in the current trends. It is not uncommon for a website with active social media accounts to outperform those without a social media presence.
Patient retention is critical to any healthcare provider’s success, but in the field of dentistry where patients need to visit regularly for their entire lives, a good relationship can lead to a lifelong patient. Getting your existing patients to follow you on social media and then posting the occasional office update, dental fact, or new special keeps you present in your patients’ minds, reminding them of what you offer and that perhaps it’s time for their cleaning.
It’s also important to engage with your patients online. Did someone comment on your Facebook post asking if you’re open on Saturdays? Respond! Maybe someone asks for advice about the tooth they just chipped? Reply with the office phone number and ask them to call you for an appointment. While you don’t want to be giving out medical advice on social media, simple responses to your patients’ comments show that you care.
New Patient Acquisition
Do you know what happens when someone “likes” your Facebook status or retweets you? Their friends see it. This extends your reach and you never know who may be looking for a new dentist. While SEO and patient retention are probably the main reasons you need to be on social media, new patient acquisition is certainly possible. Plus, social media outlets also offer paid advertising opportunities, which can be a great medium for marketing to new patients.
Don’t Worry, Be Social
If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon, it’s time to take the leap. Social media is here to stay and, when executed properly, a social media strategy can take your dental practice’s marketing to the next level.
Need some Facebook post ideas? Check out this post.