When we first opened our practice, we knew that social media would play a role in our marketing but we had no idea just how critical it would become. Social media has transformed and morphed from something that we ?set and forget? into a marketing powerhouse that benefits our practice in multiple ways each and every day.
Attracts New Patients
I never thought our social media profiles would attract new patients, but they have! When a current patient ?likes? our practice, all of their friends, family, and colleagues see our page on their newsfeeds. This is ?Word of Mouth 2.0? as potential patients are not only seeing that their friend visits us, likes us, and trusts us, but they can easily click over and find out for themselves.
Increases Patient Retention
There are dozens of patient retention services on the market today, but nothing tops direct, REAL communication from our office. Let?s face it?there are many barriers that prevent patients from maintaining their appointments, but we have found nothing is as effective to combatting these barriers then relationship building. While a few posts on Facebook may not seem like communication that is conducive to relationship building, we have found that being a part of our patients? newsfeeds serves as a reminder that we exist between their 6-month checkups.
Additionally, we provide useful, relevant content that our patients are encouraged to interact with. We try not to promote our practice often; instead we use our Facebook and Twitter profiles to educate and entertain our patients. By becoming a practice our patients can turn to for useful information, we are building true relationships and trust.
Facebook allows us more direct access to our patient base than ever before. For example, if 1 of our patients posts that they have a toothache, we can respond and recommend that they visit our office. If a patient leaves a comment or review, we are notified immediately and can respond accordingly. If we are closed because of inclement weather, we can notify multiple patients immediately and in a fraction of the time the outbound phone calls take. While we still make those phone calls, less and less patients are surprised by the call, as they have already seen our posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Helps Search Engine Optimization
Social media links and interaction play an integral role in a website?s search engine rankings. Interactions, ?likes? and ?follows? are considered ?social signals.? The more social signals that are related to our website and practice, the more visibility and brand awareness we gain online and in the search engine rankings.
Keeps our practice Relevant
Approximately 50% of dentists use Facebook professionally today, which means half of our competitors aren?t using this outlet for marketing their dental practices. While that number will undoubtedly increase in the next few years, our presence, advice, and useful posts on Facebook and Twitter today will build the groundwork for us to stay the practice of choice for our patients tomorrow.
Our patients also see our social presence as proof that we are a modern practice that uses the latest communication tools.
How can you experience these same benefits? Start using Social Media today! Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress are all free social media accounts that can be leveraged to increase patient retention, referrals, and communication.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Miner practices Orthodontics in Norwood, MA, at Epic Lifetime Dental Care.