Recent studies have found that social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. each have their own unique way of engaging consumers.
Facebook reaches more than half of the world’s global audience (55 percent) and for the purpose of dental practice marketing, it is most definitely your best opportunity to bolster your practice’s marketing position. When managed well, Facebook allows dentists to proactively enhance the relationships with your existing dental patients, while making a positive impression with their family and friends. Think of Facebook as a modern-day referral system. It’s an easy and effective means of connecting with your dental clients that provides great value.
Will Facebook Marketing Work for Your Dental Practice?
Many dentists are skeptical, intimidated or confused about social media. Facebook has been around for nearly 10 years, but it is still relatively new for many small businesses. Those that have recently acquired or started a dental practice that have utilized Facebook often find it difficult to quantify success and end up abandoning their pages due to perceived poor results and nothing by way of a concrete financial return on investment. The truth is that Facebook has the potential to provide great benefits as long as you set some real expectations for yourself and your dental practice. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nike have millions of Facebook “likes” but you must avoid comparing your practice to these corporations. As a dental office, if you have 10 percent of patient households liking your business, you are a “rock star” practice.
Setting up a Facebook account may not deliver busloads of new patients to your dental practice, but having a winning presence will bolster your Internet marketing presence and separate your practice from the competition. Your existing and new patients will perceive your practice as both progressive and accessible.
It’s important to remember that Facebook “likes” do not necessarily translate into new patients. Case in point: Dr. G. is one of our more progressive-minded clients who has committed wholeheartedly to marketing his dental practice on Facebook with a plan and a content strategy to engage with his patients and connect with the local neighborhood. After four years of working Facebook, he has 187 “likes.”
In theory, getting started with dental social media is really quite simple. You’ll need just three things: a plan, the right approach and the discipline to work at it every day. It’s just like exercise: you have to do the work to get the results you want!
Establishing & Maintaining a Winning Facebook Presence
1) Set up for success. Set up a professional Facebook page for your dental office that is solely for your practice. Just like everything else in marketing, you want your Facebook page to make a great first impression and connect with your overall brand identity. Also, be mindful of your team members that are using personal Facebook accounts and make sure that everyone working in your practice is aware of how their posts and pictures can impact your practice image.
2) Be consistent. Appoint someone in your dental office to be responsible for daily posts or outsource to professionals to post on your behalf and on your schedule. Sit down with your team members and create a weekly content plan for the next three months. Stick with the plan, monitor the activity on your Facebook page and reassess after three months to see how things are going. Track which posts are getting the most clicks and consistently monitor your analytics to see how much website traffic is coming from Facebook.
3) Post compelling content. The number one rule of effective marketing is to try to think like your customer. Ask yourself these important questions: Who am I trying to be as a practice? What content would be relevant to complement my brand? How can I connect with the target audience and new patients that I desire? Don’t post cartoons, jokes and other filler just for the sake of posting. Also, avoid too many dental-related posts that may be perceived as self-serving. Post comments related to your neighbourhood and lifestyle and remember the 80/20 rule. According to this rule, 80 percent of your content should be about lifestyles and local interests and 20 percent should be about dental information, your office and your offerings.
4) Keep it local. Your best opportunities to attract new patients exist in the local area. Facebook is a great way for a dental practice to demonstrate that it has a pulse on what’s happening locally. Post about local events and festivals, welcome new businesses into the area. Be sure to take pictures and post about your experience the next day. If you sponsor local teams, go to their games and take pictures of the team members to post on your page.
5) Engage and entertain. Don’t forget to have fun with Facebook! Post images of the local area and pose questions to your followers. Post your favourite celebrity smiles and ask your fans and followers to share their favourites. Tell stories about how your dental services help people. Share tips on how to improve the health and appearance of your patients. Give away a gift card for a complimentary consultation; you are giving people a reason to connect with you.
Creating the Content and the Plan
It takes a serious daily commitment to get the most out of Facebook. Create a Facebook management task force in your office and appoint a qualified team member to champion these efforts or outsource your Facebook efforts to a company specializing in this field. Doing so will ensure that the right content is posted on the schedule that you desire. While social media managers make uploading content easy, they do not reside in your office or in your community. We believe that the best Facebook marketing program has members of the dental office at least participating in a share of the weekly posting plan.
The Verdict is In
Facebook and social media are a huge part of our daily lives and as a whole are only going in one direction…fast forward. The dental marketplace in Canada is more competitive than ever and leveraging Facebook will definitely help you elevate your internet marketing presence and really separate you from your local area dental competition.
Facebook is the best place to spread the word about your practice image and has the potential to help grow and expand your dental practice in new and exciting ways. You’ve got nothing to lose and new patients to gain!
About the Author
Dan Pisek, President and Practice Marketing Coach
Full Contact Marketing
As practice marketing experts, Full Contact Marketing understands that every practice is unique. They work closely with their clients to develop customized marketing systems to fit immediate and bigger picture practice goals and objectives. Whether it’s starting a new practice, transitioning, increasing revenue or preparing for a sale, FCM takes the lead to help practices achieve desired success.
To learn more about FCM custom marketing solutions for the dental practice, visit www.fullcontactmarketing.ca or call 1-800-728-6651.
“Like FCM, Cirrus Consulting Group is in the business of setting practices up for big picture success. We are proud to have them as a resource and recommend them and their dental office lease negotiation services to our clients without hesitation.” – Dan Pisek, FCM