We all agree that a presence on social media shows that your practice is modern. It reveals that you are keeping up with the times and that you want to communicate with your patients. But is social media worth the investment? Can being on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest really translate into new patients and higher patient retention? We strongly believe that the answer is “yes”, and we want to share with you 4 reasons why.
1. Social media is where your patients are.
Suppose you are considering a billboard campaign. Would you put your billboard on a country side road with very little traffic or on a busy interstate highway? Obviously you want your message to be seen by as many people as possible so you would pick the highest traffic area that your budget allows. It is astounding that some dentists continue to spend thousands of dollars every year on old advertising methods like the phone book which amount to nothing more than low traffic side roads. Your patients are spending more time online than ever before and 27% of that time is spent using social media. Why would anyone ever consider putting a billboard anywhere else but where it is most likely to be seen?
2. Social media means you pay less, for better results.
This analogy is even more telling when we compare the cost of social media with traditional forms of advertising. In the “real” world, the more traffic a road has, the more an advertising company can charge for a billboard there. The irony is that old forms of advertising generally cost far more to maintain and yet offer fewer prospective patients. Recent studies show that 78% of consumers say posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases. You will spend more money on phone book listings with much lower results when compared with the impact that social media can have on your practice at a far lower investment.
3. Social media utilizes the most effective form of advertising ever invented.
A recommendation from a friend carries more weight than any television commercial, magazine ad or billboard ever could. Word-of-mouth advertising has always been the most effective way to grow a business. It’s why you probably have patient referral programs and it’s why you should be involved in social media. Your presence online gives your patients the ability to become “evangelists” for your practice. There is a reason that Facebook calls your Page followers “fans”. True fans want to tell everyone they know about whatever it is they are excited about. Each Facebook follower, for example, has an average of 130 friends. Whenever one of your followers checks-in, comments, likes or shares your business Page there is a potential of 130 people learning about your practice from what amounts to word-of-mouth advertising in the digital age. No other form of marketing has that same viral effect.
4. Social media’s primary benefit is immeasurable and priceless.
One extremely important aspect of social media is often forgotten when dentists and practice managers are trying to pin down its dollars and cents ROI. In fact, this forgotten aspect is the most important reason your dental practice needs to be involved. Simply put, social media is relational and it allows you to connect in very real ways with your patients unlike ever before.
Many businesses make the mistake of viewing social media in the same ways that they have other forms of marketing. The old ways are one-sided and involve you speaking at your patients. Social media is true two-way communication. You now have a way that you can talk to your patients and also listen to them. You have the ability to get to know them as people and to develop true relationships. Alternately, your patients get to see your practice on a human level as you give them a “behind the scenes” window through social media. How much more loyalty do you think a patient who connects with you on social media has over those you only see twice a year? With detailed research and patient surveys, you can track social media’s effect on patient retention. But it doesn’t take analytics to prove that patients who develop relationships with their dental practice are far more likely to keep coming back. The relational aspect of social media is priceless.
Social media is no longer optional for dental and medical practices.
A presence on major social media sites has become as essential to your practice as having a website. New patient acquisition and patient retention are the results of effective social media. Visit the for more information on how we help busy practices set up and manage their social media accounts.