As a dentist, you probably know that digital marketing offers a broader reach but may question if it's genuinely more effective than traditional paid advertising methods. However, the reality is that going digital isn't just the way of the future but an already growing standard for successfully competing in the dental industry.
If you've only implemented a search engine optimization strategy on your website and still consider online ads out of reach, your office is probably not as visible online as you believe. Sending monthly mailers to thousands of homes to only gain three new patients a month isn't practical. Creating targeted online advertisements that populate search results when prospects are looking for your services is the most impactful form of digital marketing today.
Remember, at least 80% of consumers seek new healthcare providers, products, and oral healthcare information online before ever calling an office to book an appointment. This means your dental brand has to stand out, engage, and convert in the traditional advertising space and internet-based marketing channels—namely, social media.
It's quickly become apparent in nearly every industry that companies that market digitally spend less advertising dollars and have more control over campaign success. This requires next-level engagement tactics that draw prospective patients to your brand on a more personal level.
How can you accomplish this for your dental practice? Enter social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. You're probably already familiar with the community aspects of these applications, but did you know they can significantly improve your search engine rankings? Every photo, video, and ad you post has the potential to drive more traffic to your website, improve your recognized authority in your field, and build deeper bonds within your community as a trustworthy figure.
To successfully utilize the built-in digital marketing tools that these social media companies offer businesses, you need to position your brand effectively with the following tips:
Many dental practices already have basic profiles set up on sites like Instagram and LinkedIn but have become too busy running their clinics to maintain these profiles. Failing to keep these listings up-to-date or even create them will hurt your online presence. Patients may find these outdated pages and try calling an outdated office number or sending an email to an address you no longer use.
Worse, if your services aren't listed or updated, you could lose prospects to your competitors because it appears you offer fewer options.
You should review social media business pages at least every few months to ensure your posted information is accurate. Also, ensure every section is complete and use SEO-optimized language in any descriptions to help search crawlers index your content faster.
Also, take time to clean house in your newsfeeds. Review older posts that may have questionable, inaccurate, or incomplete information. Consider editing or removing content that doesn't exude your brand's voice, so your audience doesn't confuse what your dental office is all about.
Social media is a highly visual medium of communication. In dentistry, you help your patients visualize what their treatment results will look like. For example, you probably have before and after photos to demonstrate how effective whitening products work on yellowed teeth.
The same concept should be applied to your social media posts advertising your dental office's services. For example, suppose you plan to launch a new dental marketing campaign centered around minimally-invasive retainers. In that case, you want to use plenty of media involving bright smiles with straight teeth, results photos, and customer testimonials.
If you plan to use pictures of your patients' dazzling smiles, always get their permission first and abide by all HIPAA privacy rules. Remember, patient privacy always comes first.
The relationship with your doctor can sometimes feel impersonal and overly professional. Sharing what happens behind the scenes (BTS) at your dental office can share how hard your team works to provide the best outcomes for your patients. It also highlights how dedicated you and your team are about the work you do.
Whether you upload videos or photos, use BTS posts to highlight fun moments that make your brand and team relatable. Also, leverage this media to introduce your office's layout so new patients feel already familiar when they come for their first visit. This can do wonders for mitigating some of the anxiety they might be experiencing.
The idea behind BTS content is that your brand is excited to be open and transparent with its patrons, which breeds trust and eventually loyalty. Just make sure any media of this type doesn't inadvertently expose personal information about your patients. Blur out computer screens and files within the shot's viewing area. Also, get permission before including anyone's image in your post.
Dental anxiety is nothing new, and your team probably has in-office techniques to help ease this worry when patients sit down for their exams. When you create posts about the importance of flossing or preventing periodontal disease, it's essential to discuss the consequences of failing to do so. However, adding additional details about discomfort, oral complications, and potentially costly treatments for these conditions can make an already stressful situation terrifying.
You want patients to book appointments, not procrastinate care out of fear. So, always present messaging about serious topics in hope-filled tones. Position your brand as the non-judgmental solution that your viewers can rely on to help address these issues and give them their happy smiles back.
Your social media presence captures your brand's vision and personality. However, it's important to remember that everything you post is virtually posted online forever, even if you delete it! So, before you let your team post selfies or share quotes of the day, make sure you have a clear policy outlining what can and cannot go on practice profiles.
Many business owners, including dentists, have philanthropic causes they are passionate about and openly support. The same can also be said of personal views on social issues today. If you don't want your dental practice directly associated with your personal beliefs, consider creating a personal account to promote your ideas, thoughts, and activities supporting these passions.
You should also take advantage of privacy settings that you can use to separate your views from your dental practice further. Facebook offers several viewing group options, including:
One of the unique features of platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn is that they offer group features that let you create a mini-community that focuses on the topic of your choice. It's not uncommon for dentists to join existing communities of like-minded dental enthusiasts.
For example, if your dental practice is in a specific suburb of Chicago, several dental groups are already available to join for that area. If you primarily focus on cosmetic dental procedures, you can start a Facebook group dedicated to informing and educating your audience about your products. This helps capture high-intent leads in your area since you can specify the location you serve in your group's name.
Taking advantage of this feature does require some dedication to maintain it. If you are too busy to maintain your own groups, definitely join some already established. While many of your competitors may be there, don't hesitate to add your advice to relevant discussions and grow awareness about your dental practice.
Your dental team puts a face to your practice, so it's a great idea to share candid moments and professional recognition of their hard work on your social pages. This also adds a level of relatability to your brand that dispels some of the unknown new patients are nervous about when first visiting your office.
While it's important to ask your employees for permission to share their photos, tagging them on their profiles may not be appropriate. They may have interests that others may not or find offensive due to personally held beliefs. So, always double-check if it's okay to tag them in company photos online.
When someone hears that you're a dentist, do they automatically assume you only clean and repair teeth? Specializations are an essential part of practice growth because it expands your target market and increases your patients' trust in your abilities as a dental professional. You should take this approach with all of your staff because this news will support your claims of being a dedicated oral healthcare provider.
Social media posts about a new treatment offering, and the training you underwent to provide it legally, can increase engagement on your business pages. This is also an excellent motivator for remarketing campaigns for your dental practice, so you can draw in previous users that didn't convert to a scheduled appointment.
One thing that sets the dental industry apart from others is its approach to humor and communication. Social media is the perfect place for creative digital marketing of your latest products. Make your promotional posts fun and sound like anything but a sales pitch. Education, entertainment, and information are the best three approaches to introducing your oral health products.
Post a family portrait where everyone, including the family dog, has gleaming pearly whites. Add puns to your usually generic sales copy for the latest whitening options you now offer. The creative opportunities for digital marketing are endless.
Simply creating a digital marketing plan isn't enough to get noticed on popular sites like Instagram. In fact, with over 1 billion users surfing its pages every day, it can be a challenge to get seen on this site. So what can immediately create followers on these sites? Import your contacts from other social media sites.
For example, Facebook owns Instagram, and both platforms let you sync your contacts from your other profiles. This is handy for mass invites to like your new listing, follow your dental company, and get notifications about recent posts you make. You may be surprised how many users you already know on these platforms would be eager to learn more about your clinic or share your content to a broader audience.
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 that took every social media platform by storm? Pop culture trends often generate millions of shares on platforms like Facebook and Twitter worldwide. For the ice bucket challenge, participation was phenomenal. Everyone was getting involved. School teachers, police officers, celebrities, and even dentists, withstood the chilly contents of a water bucket to support awareness of Lou Gehrig's Disease (also known as ALS).
Exciting trends like this occur every year and create digital marketing opportunities for your dental practice to support a good cause and create viral brand awareness. Even locally-based trends in communities you serve can be a highlight post on your social media pages and expand your reach into thousands more households than any ad can.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar online communities offer business accounts online marketing tools to measure how well your content performs. For example, if you regularly share tips, advice, product information, and cat videos, you will notice your viewership numbers rise. Conversely, dental offices that only post a few times a month and are not doing so on a consistent schedule will find it hard to build a following.
Social media users want a constant flow of content from their favorite channels and pages. So, you must plan ahead. You simplify the entire content process by creating a month's worth of postings now and scheduling when they should go live. This approach doesn't mean you can't post on the fly, and in fact, you're encouraged to do so as needed to keep your pages relevant.
If it's impossible to commit to publishing a steady flow of news and updates, consider working with a professional digital marketing company with extensive social media experience. Companies like Adit have years of experience helping dental offices create stellar profiles that generate a steady stream of value-added content that prospective patients will be eager to access.
Consistency in tone and posting frequency is indeed crucial. So is avoiding oversharing content. If you have a personal social media account on Facebook, you probably have one friend who posts something new almost every hour. This fills up your notifications menu and makes your phone constantly ping you, too. How annoying, right?
Dental practices that engage the public on social media should apply the adage "it's not about quantity but quality" when sharing on their pages. You don't want to overwhelm your audience with multiple hot dental topics to share their opinions on in a short space of time. Try to limit your posting to a few times a week or no more than once a day.
Remember, it's okay to have a day where nothing gets posted. This allows your followers to catch up on what's happening around your office that week. Take the time to review your social media metrics, determine what topics your audience cares about and how those interests align with your business goals and create a digital marketing strategy.
Instagram and Twitter are about more than cute cat photos and inspirational quotes of the day. Users often get exposed to educational articles and posts in their newsfeeds, so don't hesitate to share a snippet of a study you recently read about gum disease. Consider linking a recent blog you wrote in your post and introduce it by asking a question, such as, "How do you know if your gums are healthy?"
As a dentist, you want your patients to have superior oral healthcare since our teeth and gums directly impact our overall health. Sharing this information in an easily digestible way that provides valuable information to your patients reaffirms your commitment to their care.
Depending on the platform you're using, you may or may not be able to post your dental website link in your posts. Instagram currently doesn't allow for this, but you can include it in the Bio section of your profile.
On sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, dental professionals can share their website addresses, though Pinterest won't generate a preview of the site automatically. You must still put your primary URL address in your bio on all of your social media pages since these will act as a backlink and support your effort.
If your digital marketing strategy has primarily focused on search engine rankings and getting positive online reviews, it's understandable you haven't put much effort into your social media marketing efforts. While more affordable, growing a following on large sites like Facebook requires dedication that you may not have the time to commit.
Adit understands this challenge and provides over 15+ dental marketing tools to help you drill down to your ideal target audience, learn what demographic they are part of, and discover how these new patients interact with your office. All of this is achieved with our AI-driven practice analytics feature that seamlessly integrates with most existing management software on the market today.
Discover the difference having the right digital marketing tools can make by scheduling a free demo of our cutting-edge practice management technology today!
Angela is a former English teacher turned marketing content specialist. Over the past 10 years, she’s developed marketing strategies to forge enduring bonds between B2B, B2C and SaaS companies and their clients through holistic education, effective communication, and captivating storytelling that moves audiences to act.
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