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If you don't have a social media strategy, you're overlooking a major part of your overall financial health.
As a practicing dentist, you know that in the absence of acute pain, many people who should be coming in for regular dental health visits don’t, even though it would be very valuable to their overall health for them to do so. If you don’t have a social media strategy, you’re engaging in a similar behavior. While you might not be in acute pain, but you’re overlooking a major part of your overall financial health.
It isn’t just the kids who are using social media anymore. Some studies suggest that the group with the largest growth in the use of social media is the group of adults aged 50 and older. Finding young patients and treating them over the course of their lifetimes is great, but it’s also important to find new patients among all age groups. Social media can help you do that, and it provides advantages over traditional marketing in three key areas.
High visibility relative to overall costs. Because many social media networks are available for free and are available and used by millions, social media offers access that other avenues--such as print magazine or cable television advertising--simply don’t. Establishing a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your practice is fast, easy, and cheap. But don’t let the lack of barriers to entry fool you. Effective marketing through these channels is still very difficult. In a future article, we’ll walk through social media strategies that work and some pitfalls to avoid.
A personalized, customized experience. Social media marketing offers another advantage over traditional mass-marketing efforts: easy-to-categorize measureables and analytics that can tell you who is visiting, when, and what, specifically, they click on. These analytics, while readily available and low-cost, can be difficult to decipher. If you are interested in developing a greater social media presence, now may be the time to consider working with a company or an individual with experience in website and marketing analytics to help you sort through the data.
Deeper connections with patients. The best marketing campaigns make the target customer feel something. They establish a strong connection with that customer. Social media, with its ability to incorporate images, anecdotes, and personal experiences, invites these types of connections more than a static ad on a diner place mat or a phone book advertisement. (Are phone books even a thing anymore?) The key to taking advantage of this is to implement a social media strategy that is authentic but compelling. It can include links to interesting dental news articles, patient testimonials, videos starring you or members of your staff about key dental concepts, or any other kinds of lively content you can think of. You don’t have to be Spielberg or Kubrick to make this work for you; part of the charm of this approach is the low-tech quality of any audio or video you create.
Of course, the “advantages” of a social media strategy above all come with things to watch out for, and the items listed here barely scratch the surface of potential benefits and strategies you should consider. Future articles will cover this topic in greater detail, but for now, the idea is to get you thinking about your social media strategy. If you really want to expand your practice, social media can’t be an afterthought.