ADA 2011: Social Media Musts

October 12, 2011

After introducing herself, Amy Morgan, CEO of Pride Institute helped close out the 2011 ADA Annual Session with a Social Media 101 presentation. With a clear vision of how a practice can reach patients and interact with them online, Morgan outlined steps that can be take and best practices for creating an effective online presence. “Marketing for a new generation is essential,” she said. “The type of online communication you’re having is maximizing your relationships.”

After introducing herself, Amy Morgan, CEO of Pride Institute helped close out the 2011 ADA Annual Session with a Social Media 101 presentation. With a clear vision of how a practice can reach patients and interact with them online, Morgan outlined steps that can be take and best practices for creating an effective online presence.

“Marketing for a new generation is essential,” she said. “The type of online communication you’re having is maximizing your relationships.”

Online communication needs to be a two-way process, she said. Practices need to reach out to patients in an invited way and then engage with them on the various online social forums including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. But making this happen is a big change because while it is marketing, it is not all about sale, and for many dentists the concept of marketing is something they’ve just come to understand recently.

“15 years ago, marketing was a bad word synonymous with asking you to dress up as a tooth and dance at your local mall,” said.

Now marketing is essential, but thankfully the Internet allows marketing to be accomplished without a great deal of expense or effort. It’s a great low resource, high return opportunity for practices, Morgan explained. The Internet has shifted from one way billboard style monologues to open dialogues that spread messages, both good and bad, far and fast.

Effective online presences for dental practices need to engage with existing patients because they will then organically help bring in new patients. However, the practice’s website, Facebook page and other online efforts need to also provide new patients with the information they need to understand if this practice is the right one for them.

The content can’t all be about dental topics, but that information is key, Morgan said, and thus all dental information needs to be explained in basic language anyone can understand.

“I want you to stop thinking about what it feels like to be dentists and dental team members and remember what it feels like to be human.,” she said.

While presenting a checklist for creating an online presence that will engage patients both new and existing, Morgan stressed the importance of the practice establishing a brand and identity that will be consistently used throughout all the practice online and read world communication efforts.

Of course, it all begins with the practice website, which Morgan called the practice’s online house. It can be the anchor that all the other online efforts point back to and should be welcoming to patients, especially women, who make the majority of healthcare decisions.

Once the practice has created an effective online presence and begun to interact with patients via social media, Morgan said it is important to provide educational and entertaining content, without pushing the sale of dental services in an overt way.

“We want you to connect, not invade,” she said.