The world of social media marketing has exploded. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, it can all seem overwhelming, especially when all you want to do is run a successful dental practice. Does a Facebook page really lead to more patients? Is it worth your time and commitment to engage in social media? Too many times dentists focus on their return on investment when it comes to marketing and avoid social media because it's difficult to quantify. After all, who can say just how many likes on a status update is equal to one new patient? Instead, think of social media as an extension of your already thriving relationship with current patients. Embracing this viewpoint will assist in creating effective social media marketing tools for your practice and create a noticeable bump in your amount of internal referrals.
First, create a clear set of objectives you wish to achieve with social media marketing. This will assist in choosing which platform will be most effective for your message. Some examples include:
Providing helpful advice and educational materials to assists patients in adhering to their treatment plan
Encouraging the use of cosmetic treatments by current patients (such as Six Month Smiles)
Increasing the number of referrals from existing patients
Increasing search engine optimization to allow new patients to find your practice
Each platform of social media has its own expectations of how users should behave and the kind of posts which are effective. Analyze your goals to determine the correct platform or platforms.
Facebook - Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms around and probably the most widely used by your patients. It allows individuals to connect by sharing photos, events, and unlimited information easily and effectively. This is a great tool for increasing referrals. Once something is posted on your practice's Facebook page, if a current patient comments or likes a post, it is often immediately shared with every person listed on the friends list. This gives each post on your page the potential to be seen by hundreds or even thousands of prospective clients.
Twitter - Twitter is overwhelmingly recognized as one of the most powerful marketing tools available today. It's also one of the quickest and easiest to master once you have a little practice. A tweet is limited to 140 characters meaning it can be easily delivered and received in just a few seconds. However, since tweets are meant to be concise and quickly absorbed, it is vital to make use of keywords and powerful statements. The best Twitter accounts post relevant information, interesting news stories, and helpful hints to their followers. Do not just post about your own dental practice, if something is interesting or relevant to your patients, tweet it. Twitter is about making frequent connections with your followers. Don't forget to link back to your own website often and invite potential clients to check out your current specials.
The Blog - Creating a blog on your dental office website is a great way to share information and promote your services. Regular or weekly updates allow you to keep your current patients up to date on news in your practice, educate them on proper dental health, promote new dental developments, and reach new patients. It not only gives your patients a place to look for current information, but by posting on a variety of topics it provides a great reference for search engines to refer people to your website. Many potential clients will not search for a specific dentist by name, but they will search for "pain in the lower molar" or "teeth whitening." By maintaining and frequently updating your blog, you increase the likelihood that one of your articles will assist a potential client. In fact, statistics show that 82% of companies who update their blog daily have acquired a new customer as a direct result of their blog.
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