Do dentists actually need to be on social media?
Every marketing blog on the internet will tell you that, as a dentist, you need to be on social media.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my personal social media feed looks like a strange blend of class reunion and awkward Thanksgiving dinner. My friends are posting pictures of their kids. That girl I knew in school is vacationing on a beach again. My uncle is ranting about politics. And hey, look - memes!
What good is any of this to a dental practice? Do you really need a social presence?
A decade ago, the answer might have been no. Back then, social media just wasn’t that ingrained into the way we interact with each other. In 2009, only 18% of people over 12 were using Facebook every month. Now it’s 62%. And since 68% of people get most of their news from it, it’s pretty clear that your patients are doing a lot of socializing online.
While memes and political spats might not have much to do with dentistry, there’s something bigger underneath all that noise. In its ideal form, social media is all about relationships. And that’s something that every successful practice should cultivate with its patients. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever else, as long as you’re using it to create and maintain relationships.
Social media is where your patients are spending their digital lives, and to consistently stay in your patients’ minds, you actually do need to be there engaging with them.
A good social presence = free word of mouth advertising
It’s the oldest form of advertising, and it’s still incredibly important. We talk to dentists every day who rely on word of mouth to bring new patients into their chairs. But nowadays, word of mouth is more like word of keyboard.
75% of people admit to purchasing something because they saw it advertised on social media. A dentist appointment is no different! Facebook can even detect when someone is asking their friends for a recommendation.That’s the kind of opportunity you don’t want to miss.
If one of your patients tags your practice in a situation like this, you can jump in and immediately start welcoming a new patient to your practice. That kind of responsiveness will give you an edge and help you start building a new relationship. It’s an indispensable tool, especially when you’re trying to sell an experience that most people see as a necessity, not a desire.
Social media = free appointment reminders
Even if you have automated appointment reminders, you can still get more value out of social media. The name of the game is staying at top of mind, and engaging with your patient base can encourage patients to return regularly in two main ways.
The first way you can do this is the active route. Post, perhaps once a month, reminding people to come in. It’s not intrusive that way, and people will be less likely to get annoyed if they aren’t being constantly spammed by reminders. Many people will be more likely to reach out through social than through traditional means like a phone call or an email. Regardless, be sure never to solicit directly, or take any other action that may violate HIPAA.
The other way to do this is passively. Whenever you post, whatever your post, patients who follow your practice will see it. Every time they see your name, it’s a sidelong reminder that they haven’t been to the dentist in a while. You don’t have to say anything direct like “schedule an appointment soon!” Just seeing your name will be enough to put the thought of scheduling in their mind.
Social media with LocalMed = fully booked appointments
Inconvenience is one of the biggest barriers in scheduling an appointment. It takes time and energy - patients often have to call an office during business hours (which means they’re at work). With LocalMed, you can turn your social media into an actual gateway to a booked appointment. One button, embedded directly into your social media profiles or added to your posts, can allow patients to book an appointment with a few clicks. They don’t even have to leave the comfort of their screens.
Our average client sees a website conversion increase of 35-70%. That’s what happens when scheduling an appointment is made convenient.
At the end of the day, social is too valuable to ignore. That’s doubly true when you have a scheduling widget attached to everything you post there. Take some time to figure out the best social plan for your practice. It doesn’t need to be expansive, but without at least some form of regular social presence, you’re leaving value on the table.