9 out of 10 dentists useFacebook as theirpreferred place tonetwork online (2012)While Facebook is facing criticism over their often-disputed privacy policies,most of the dentists using Facebook use it for both professional andpersonal networking.• “We are at the beginning stages of our Facebook dental marketing. Weare using it as an informational, personable and promotional platform.We are giving our patients useful information, keeping them updated onwhat is new in our office, and giving away prizes for liking our page. Wealso give patients $5 off their services when they check in!“ respondedone dentist.
• 88% Basic information about business.• 65% Share content like video/images.• 61% Connect with current dental patients.• 50% Offer specials and discounts.• 35% Connect with peers in dentistry.The 67%
Not understanding what to do with a Facebook page proved to be aparticularly popular sentiment among the 33% of dentists not using Facebookat all.When asked why they are not using a Facebook page, dentists gave thefollowing reasons –• 46% Not sure what to do.• 28% Not interested.• 13% Don’t have time.• 13% OtherNot on FB
The “other”“Too much exposure!” (California dentist)“Too many viruses, etc.” (Wisconsin dentist)
Reported Barriers• “Facebook is really hard to learn and it keepschanging.” (Massachusetts dentist)• “I’m not sure what’s the best, most cost-effective way touse it in a way that fits our practice.”(Alabama dentist)• “I would like to know: what are some good ways to getpeople to follow you on Facebook?” (Missouri dentist)• “What does having a Facebook business page really do overwhat good internal marketing can?” (New York dentist)• “I’m sure it’s something I SHOULD be doing and wish I couldlearn and arrange time to do everything I SHOULD bedoing.” (California dentist)• “It’s probably the wave of the future, but I don’t have thetime to spend an hour a day devoted to it.”(General dentist)
Reported Success• “We are able to connect not only with our own patients butalso with their Facebook friends when they like or shareone of our posts or videos. It helps us to get the wordout.” (Missouri dentist)• “Having a Facebook page is a necessity in today’s socialmedia driven society!” (General dentist)• “I felt it was critically important for us to understand ourFacebook audience and how they like to engage with us onFacebook. So far it has been a positive experience.” (Ohiodentist)• “Not a huge hit yet, but lots of potential for referrals fromour patients that not only “Like” us, but love us: our ravingfans.” (Illinois dentist)
How & WhatHere is how dentists responded -35% Never use social media14% Use social media less than one post per month16% Use social media at least one post per month35% Use social media at least one post per weekTools used -31% Facebook only1% Twitter only21% Both Facebook and Twitter33% Did not indicate what social media tools they use14% Facebook and other
Ten Ways to Engage1. Ask questions.Asking questions of your dental patients is a great way to engagethem on your FB page.Ask them fun questions like what their favorite dental chair is inyour office, or what they think of recent changes to Facebook (thereare always changes to Facebook that you can ask them about).Facebook users love discussing Facebook and giving advice.
Ten Ways to Engage2. Share personal stories with photos.Share images of you and your office staff on Halloween wheneveryone is dressed in costume, or St. Patrick’s day when everyoneis wearing green, but use these fun images as a way to engage yourFacebook fans into sharing what it is about your dental practice theyenjoy.
Ten Ways to Engage3. Hold a contest.Create a contest strictly for your Facebook fans. Maybe host aFacebook trivia contest where your fans are asked to guesssomething about their favorite dentist… your favorite color, yourfavorite restaurant, your favorite hobby, etc., and offer a prize to thewinner.Maybe, if they guess the right answer to your favorite restaurant,you can team up with that restaurant to offer the winner dinner fortwo as the prize.
Ten Ways to Engage4. Cross-promote neighborhood businesses.Is there a local restaurant where you always enjoy lunch, or a placeyou like to take your children? Why not promote their FacebookPage?Do some of your patients have businesses you enjoy? Think abouttalking about them and their business on your FB page.
Ten Ways to Engage5. Post Facebook content when your dental patients are online.Most businesses post their Facebook updates during the work day— not before 6:00am or after 6:00pm.Marketing research has discovered that content posted outside of9:00am – 5:00pm timeframe had higher user engagement ratesthan posts made during the work day.Many working moms like to visit Facebook before their kids are upin the morning or after they have gone to bed.Think about offering them something during these hours.
Ten Ways to Engage6. Share employee recognition.Is there an employee whom your patients seem to love? Do youreward your employees on a regular basis? Think about sharing thisrecognition with your patients and fans on Facebook.
Ten Ways to Engage7. Highlight your community service.Does your dental practice sponsor a local baseball team or highschool Little League team? Think about posting their game scheduleor their losses and wins and ask your fans to attend their games insupport.Ask patients to upload photos of the games they attend.
Ten Ways to Engage8. Use check-in deals on Facebook.Facebook allows people to check-in to a business using the mobileFacebook app on their smart phone. To encourage your dental patients to use this app and make anappointment with your dental practice you can create a check-indeal for your page.Maybe you offer those patients who use this mobile app somethingextra at your practice like a treatment they can use within the year.
Ten Ways to Engage9. Offer dental care tips, tricks and techniques.Post dental care tips detailing ways in which your patients can takecare of their teeth to avoid cavities, or gum disease.Think about all the ways you can help your dental patients protecttheir teeth, or offer signs of dental problems to watch out for —especially with their children.
Ten Ways to Engage10. Ask your followers for content-Crowdsource.Ask your Facebook fans for sugar-free recipes — or for ways theyhave convinced their small children to brush their teeth before bed.Ask your fans to offer up solutions to common issues with dentalcare. Highlight and talk about the best solutions from your fans.
ExerciseGroups of 2-3 peopleUsing the ten ways presented come up with one example undereach way.Bonus: we are writing your content strategy RIGHT NOW!
Five other things you should consider1. Best Dental Marketing VectorsMany dentists believe that word-of-mouth referrals are the best wayto secure new dental patients while ignoring the dental marketingopportunities presented by engaging in social media.Dentists are further challenged by where to allocate their limitedmarketing resources in order to see a quality return on investment –be it for time, money, or both. But there is great opportunity in theuse of social media to attract and engage new dental patients.
Five other things you should consider2. Dental Marketing with FacebookMany dentists worry about the number of Facebook followers whenthey really should be worrying whether their followers are readingand enjoying what they are posting on Facebook.The difference between Facebook and other dental marketingefforts is that a dental practice needs to invest a little bit of time onFacebook.This small amount of extra time can go a long way and can evenprovide a rewarding experience as dental patients begin to providefeedback and communicate directly with a dental practice.
Five other things you should consider3. What To Share on Social MediaUtilizing various social media sites as part of an effective Internetdental marketing plan will provide a dentist with the ability toconnect with potential dental patients directly.A dental practice’s online presence is more than putting up a dentalwebsite and having a local Google business listing; it’s about beingtransparent and connecting with the community on a more personallevel.Consistent and honest content.
Five other things you should consider4. Avoiding Negative Online ReviewsDealing with a negative online review can be a nightmare for manydentists because one poorly executed response can hurt years ofdental marketing efforts.Many dentists learned that the better prepared a dental practice ison how to handle a negative review, the less likely the dentist is toblow what could be a dental marketing opportunity.Yes, negative online reviews can be a dental marketing opportunity.
Five other things you should consider5. Dental Video MarketingReports revealed that video appears in around 70% of the topGoogle search listings, thus dentists began looking into creatingdental videos.This was a smart move by dentists as dental videos are an easy wayto gain attention for your dental practice and beat your competitionin search results.When it comes to Internet dental marketing, there is no betterinvestment than web videos and original content.
ExerciseGroups of 2-3 peopleUsing the bonus five ways presented come up with one exampleunder each way.Bonus: we are writing MORE of your content strategy RIGHT NOW!
Bad can be good; the power of a mulliganDealing with a negative online review can be a nightmare for manydentists because one poorly executed response can hurt yearsof reputation and marketing efforts.It’s important to remember that if you see enough dental patients,eventually you will be the target of someone’s unhappiness directedat you and your dental practice through a negative online review.It’s just too easy for someone to do, and the better prepared you areon how to handle one, the less likely you are to blow what could bea marketing opportunity.
Bad can be good; the power of a mulliganYes, negative online reviews can be a dental marketingopportunity.First, make sure you have set up Google Alerts to alert you whenanything is written about your name or your dental practice nameonline. If you don’t know how to set up a Google Alert.It is important to address a negative review just as quickly as youcan, but make sure you are responding as if it is NOT directed at youpersonally. Pretend the review is about another dentist. Disconnectfrom it emotionally.
Bad can be good; the power of a mulliganSecond, express your appreciation for the feedback from thereviewer.Make sure you address the complaint directly, “Thank you Mr.Brown for bringing this to my attention. I value the work that isperformed at this practice, can you please call our office at XXX-XXX-XXX? Thank you.”Don’t get into details or defend your position, just show that youoffered a way for the patient to reach you.
Bad can be good; the power of a mulliganThird, if you are regularly asking satisfied dental patients fortestimonials, make sure you make it easy for them to leave positivereviews by having the link to your Yelp page on something you canhand to them when they want to share how much they enjoy yourdental practice.Look at a negative online review as an opportunity to show yourpractice in a positive light by how you respond.
Create RAVING fans1- Do your follow-up.Follow up with patients immediately after the completion oftreatment with a call and/or an email to be sure that all went asplanned. Identify problems early on in the cycle so that you cancorrect them before they become complaints.
Create RAVING fans2- Make complaining easy.Build a culture that is truly ready to receive the complaint at everylevel of your practice, from the front desk to the doctor. Train yourstaff and train them well to not be defensive and to solve mostproblems immediately.
Create RAVING fans3- Respond quickly to complaints.When you do receive a complaint, follow up quickly and try toresolve it. Nothing rankles like a patient stewing about your badservice like waiting for a return phone call or email.
Create RAVING fans4-Respond to negative reviews online.Once the issue is resolved, circle back with the patient about thereview. A recent survey has shown that an appropriate response to anegative can get the negative review removed in a third of thecases.A roughly an equal number of consumers posted a positive reviewafter receiving a response to their bad review. Having a plan andresponding appropriately to a negative review is critical to thisprocess.
Create RAVING fans5-Never fake reviews or enter them on behalf of your patients.It is imperative that you not provide reviewers with any trace thatyou are abusing your review corpus. Getting slammed by a patientreview that questions your ethics calls into question yourtrustworthiness and integrity.It is the most difficult type of negative review to deal with, even if itis not true. Responding online to the question, creates a no-winsituation.
Create RAVING fans6- Communicate with your local competitors.Competitor spam reviews are becoming more common than ever. Ifyou are on speaking terms with them, you are much less likely to fallvictim to a puerile spam review attack. The reality is that othersimilar local practices are not the long-term determinant of yoursuccess, nor really your major competition.Just remember that when you are dealing with a negative review,it’s important to avoid appearing sarcastic and placing blame on thepatient. Try and find out what may have set this patient off and seeif you can prevent this from happening again in the future.
ExerciseThere may be a hidden opportunity in a negative review — if youhandle it right — it can become a dental marketing opportunity.In your small group. Each person create a negative review.Share.Solve and respond.
Bring on the MomsIn a recent Burst Media survey of how independent webaudiences interact with and use social media, they found thatwomen are more active social media users than men.Overall, one-half (49.0%) of female respondents—including 3-in-5(58.6%) moms— visit social media sites at least a few times perday, versus one-third (34.0%) of men.(Source: Burst Media)
Bring on the MomsOne of the most powerful users of social media is moms.3-in-5 (58.6%) moms visit social media properties at least a fewtimes per day (14% of moms say they are connected “all day”).Moms are also heavy followers of businesses online throughsocial media with 70.6% frequently “liking” and following a brand.
Why mom will follow1. The ability to offer support of the business.2. Staying current with the business’ latest offerings.3. Offering personal opinions or comments about the businessfor others to see.4. Sharing business-related information with family and friends.5. Interacting with the business’ customer support/service team.
Why mom will followFacebook business pages offer the dental staff an easy way toengage with their dental patient moms by offering incentives anddiscounts for dental treatments, which are extremely popularwith moms who follow business pages.Additionally, Facebook status updates offering information aboutthe dental treatments your dental practice offers is an easy wayfor your mom followers to share what they like aboutyour practice with their family and friends on Facebook.
How do you want to use Facebook?Where to start?• Referrals from patients• Bolster image of practice• Share information• Communicate practice philosophy• Content creation• Recruiting• Advertise/Market/Promotions• Target new customers• Manage negative reviews• Share community news• Rule of thirds: yourself, your community, other wins
What next?• Research• Action [planning]• Communicate• Evaluate [metrics]
Sources• 834 Design & Marketing• DeVries Communicaitons• Red Ginger Creative• Burst Media• The Wealthy Dentist• Facebook• Social Sprout• PRSA• Prdaily• Dentainment• Sfgate.com• Prweb• ADA• Webiquity.com• Social Media Examiner