Welcome to The Dental Marketing Assistant University "Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing for Dental Practices" FREE Training Module!
Whether you're new to social media or just looking to close a few knowledge gaps, we're glad you have decided to take the course and improve your ability to generate quality new patients for your Dental practice. By now, we've all heard how valuable—even essential—social media can be.
Whether your current mindset and beliefs about social media marketing lean more toward enthusiasm or flat-out intimidation, there's no way around the fact that social media marketing is a far more complex entity than it first seems.
Diving in without a clear idea of what it's like can be overwhelming, and building a network of qualified new patients and prospects... followers who represent real value for the practice requires that you possess social media "street smarts" and a willingness to work hard diligently.
If you really want to master social media marketing for Dentists and become a highly-trained Dental Marketing Assistant who has mastered Social Media have no fear!
My staff and I are here to help you and I'm confident that you'll find our Social Media Marketing Training Module to be one of the most comprehensive resources available in the Dental profession today, and that no matter what your skill level is, there's an abundance of awesome information that is guaranteed to help you improve your social presence and more importantly... equip and prepare you so that you'll be generating MORE quality new patients from your social media marketing efforts in no time.
If you're ready to go... let's dive in and get started!
What is Social Media?
"Social media" is a way for people to communicate and interact online. Believe it or not Social Media has been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web. What makes this form of communication a viable platform for generating new patient traffic for your dental practice is that over the last 10 years or so we've seen a surge in both the number and popularity of social media sites.
Social media got its name because of the fact that users engage with (and around) these platforms in a social context, which can include conversations, commentary, and other user-generated annotations and engagement interactions.
Creating and publishing quality content has become dramatically more simple over the 2-3 years, which in turn has led to a literal stampeded of new users, skyrocketing the potential of social media as a viable and profitable dental marketing platform into the stratoshpere.
Individuals on the web... specifically the non-geek types (technophobes)are now able to easily create content on a rapidly growing number of platforms, including those that are owned (hosted communities, blogs, etc.), rented (social networks or third-party communities), and occupied (commenting, contributing, etc.).
The Internet of 2014 has transformed from a "one-to-many" to a "many-to-many" method of engagement, and the masses absolutely love it. For Dentists looking to capitalize and use Social Media to generate new patient traffic, the shift in web consumerism and accompanying rise in social media brings both opportunity and responsibility.
The sheer amount of data that users of the web and specifically, social media platforms has made actually made your job easier. Your greatest potential for success, however, lies in the opportunity to grow lasting and scalable relationships with your patient/prospective patient base through social media.
This is also where your responsibility (on the Internet and in Social Media) to your market (patients and prospects) begins to take shape. The digital revolution has radically changed how people buy, make decisions, their behavior and their expectations for the businesses they patronize resulting in a dramatically new and different type of consumer known as Gen-"C" (i.e., "the connected consumer").
Whether your employer is listening to conversations that occur online; is and engaging (or not), your patients and prospective patients are having conversations relevant to your practice, the employees in your practice and the doctor. We know from experience and from an overabundance of research that it's MUCH better to be part of the conversation, than to ignore it!
Is social media here to stay?
As I mentioned above, there has been an explosion in the growth and popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many others over the last 3-5 years.
When you consider how popular social media has become and the enormous number of people who have made it an integral part of their every day lives it's hard to imagine that it's just now getting started. Just getting started? Absolutely; The use of social media in business will only become stronger over time... especially businesses that provide professional services like Dentists. It's a well-known fact that the entire planet has been impacted by the rapid expansion (and adoption) of social media strategies and tactics, and the rising stats speak for themselves.
Why do I need to include a social media strategy in my Dental marketing program?
Whether you are running a small, one Dentist practices or heading a multi-location, multi-doctor chain the statistics above make it clear: Your patients and prospective new patients are online... en mass. They are interacting in social channels with their friends, colleagues, and other Dental practices in search of information, recommendations, and entertainment. If your practice is not around to answer, a competitor will be. In doing so, your competitor will quite likely take away not only prospective new patients... as well as any of your existing patients that are listening.
There are tons of opportunities to add value—even to delight!—and making that connection can help build the relationship your patients (and prospective new patients) with your practice, yourself, with an associate and/or an employee. Those relationships create the foundation for what can eventually become one of your greatest dentist marketing assets: patient advocacy.
If you ever find yourself in a bind, your advocates of your practice will help remind the rest of the world who they're rooting for. Advocacy is not something that can be bought, bribed or happen by chance. Advocacy is earned over time through continuous and positive engagement with your patient base and even non-patients who enjoy your content. It is earned through experiences that delight, and through the delivery of the highest class of service to your patients.
Advocacy is the nirvana of social media, and it is through advocacy that your efforts start to truly scale and grow. It shows that you're doing such an amazing job that your patients and prospects shout about your practice from rooftops, sharing their opinions and experiences with their networks. That sharing is the best marketing a Dentist (hoping to create sustainable growth) can ask for.
Identifying potential advocates is a good first step. You can use social tools (many of which I outline in this training), site data, patient/prospect data, and even your own observations to help you pick out which patients are likely to go to bat for your brand. You'll want to figure out what is most important to those potential advocates. What are they looking for?
Are they fishing for recognition? Are they excited by exclusive access to appointment times and/or new service offerings? Figure out what type of advocates your practice attracts and find ways to recognize them for their advocacy. It is important to note, though, that most of your greatest community relationships will be built organically. While your research and brand knowledge encourages people and helps you put the right foot forward, relationships take time.
The transition from a passive web to an interactive web has lead to a rapid and massive transformation in the way individuals now research and purchase products and services; how they connect and communicate with individuals and interestingly enough "how businesses operate". At this stage in the game, it's fair to say that a web presence is critical to the future sustainability of every dentist that hopes to be successful in practice. You can't get ahead if you're ignoring your patient's (and prospective patient's) online conversations or opting to look the other way.
Use this opportunity to get closer to your audience than ever before—reach more people in a genuine and authentic manner, drive more qualified site traffic, increase the authority of your brand, engage the people who influence your patients' behavior, and gain the data necessary for insights-based business decisions.
Maybe a better question is, why wouldn't a Dentist use social media in his/her practice?
How can social be a springboard for success in other marketing channels?
Keep in mind that neither your patients' experience nor your online reputation (i.e., your "brand") starts with Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Social media should take your existing brand and solidify it, galvanize it, and bolster it. Your efforts in social media should be an extension of everything else you do in all departments of your practice. Capturing your practice's voice and sharing it with the world through social media will open up unique opportunities in all other channels of inbound marketing, including SEO, branding, public relations, new patient traffic, case acceptance, and more.
To get the most out of your social media marketing efforts, make it your overarching goal to establish and build solid relationships. That might sound a bit strange coming from a Growth Hacker who relies HEAVILY on tangible data and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom-line, new patient-seeking (ROI) aspect to look at the big picture for a minute.
The relationships built with patients (and prospective patients) are the foundations upon which other aspects of your practice can and will flourish. Relationships flourish when you cultivate them, and no other area offers you the opportunity to do this as well as social media.
Some of the most successful Dentists and Dental Marketing Assistants earn their notoriety, at least in part, from the relationships they are able to build. Of course, they're also very skilled at what they do too, but having great relationships with the right people serves as a powerful catalyst to their efforts. The relationships you build with your patients, Joint Venture Partners (and prospective patients) can (and often does) lead to advocacy and loyalty; highly sought-after traits that can support your practice during both the good and the bad times. This activity represents an investment that will remain strong on nearly any platform and under nearly any circumstances.
Information can be shared through social media at an amazingly fast pace, and users are increasingly turning to social channels to share information in realtime. The information being shared in social media is predominately in the form of opinions and shared-experiences, so if you're listening to your audience you'll be much better equipped to respond when the right cues present themselves. Social media can also become an invaluable resource for getting important feedback from your patients... feedback that can (and should) be used to make improvements; put out fires from unhappy patients and/or seize an opportunity to generate quality new patient traffic that would have otherwise been missed.
By incorporating a social listening program into key touchpoints in your practice you'll have access to information that can serve as an early warning system; provide valuable process development feedback and even help identify individuals who may be prospective advocates for your practice.
Social media cannot simply be "stapled on" to your dental marketing strategies and systems. In order to be truly effective, it needs to be a integrated 100% into your dental marketing program. In doing so, you can create a cohesive and scalable experience for your patients as well as prospective new patients. Think of it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.
Social Media Marketing IS NOT As Hard As You Might Be Thinking...
You'll greatly amplify and solidify results by integrating your social media marketing efforts early on versus waiting until you've implemented your other dental marketing strategies. If you establish a presence in social media from the start, your online reputation ("brand") will benefit by having content that is dispersed along multiple touch points your patients (and prospective patients) access.
By now I'm sure you can see the far-reaching impact that having a solid and consistent presence in social media can have on your practice's ability to generate quality new patient traffic from the web, as well as greatly improve patient retention and case acceptance.
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