If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video might be the equivalent of a book. But more importantly, video can add another dimension to your dental practice that sets it apart from the competition. And it has the potential to educate patients while enhancing the doctor-patient relationship.
Online videos will account for more than 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020.
"You Ought to be In Pictures" is the title of a popular song from 1934, as well as a 1940 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes short film featuring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck.
Regardless of its age, the title carries a message dentists should take to heart, especially where online video is concerned. Consider the following.
According to Social Media Today, online videos will account for more than 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020. Currently, more than 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day, and five times that amount are watched daily on YouTube.
“It’s an engaging medium,” says Marli Espinales, co-founder and Internet marketing director for Clicc Media Inc. “It’s one of the better interactive ways to get a message across.”
Espinales explains that today’s consumer is more impatient than in the past. They don’t have the time, or the desire, to read a lot of detailed information on a computer or smartphone screen. But if there’s a video linked to a specific service or frequently asked question, they’re much more likely to pay attention.
“You don’t think following a dentist on social media on Instagram or Facebook, or any of those matters,” Espinales says. “But when they incorporate these tactics, like behind the scenes, or looking at how a smile gets renovated, it really engages that audience.”
It also helps boost the aspect of branding, and brings business-to-person sales engagement to a whole other level, she adds. It also sets dentists apart from those who are not taking advantage of this medium.
As an example, Espinales points to Sandra Lee, MD, a dermatologist (also known as Dr. Pimple Popper), who began uploading videos to YouTube in 2010 and has since become a reality-TV star.
“It gives the audience a lot more than what other brands might be offering.”
EASING PATIENT FEARS
Espinales says that when patients have to visit the dentist for a root canal, the typical reaction is that they’re going to experience pain. In reality, a root canal is meant to heal and eliminate the pain. In this scenario, a video on YouTube or a dental practice website can help make patients feel more comfortable.
“It’s a different window to look through,” she says. “You see and hear the doctor speak; hear how knowledgeable the doctor and his or her team are. The office looks clean, and the people feel inviting and warm. It adds an emotional connection and a little bit more trust.”
For those practitioners who are not comfortable on camera, Espinales suggests that animation might be the answer. Because the worst thing would be for patients to see a dentist and/or the staff seeming tense and uncomfortable.
“When you see animation you kind of follow a storyline,” Espinales explains. “You’re following the characters, and it creates a little more of a visual capture than just someone speaking all the time.”
The key, she says, is for a dental practice to determine its goal, and then a strategy can be created to achieve that goal. For example, maybe the dentist wants to become the leader in his or her geographic area for dental implants.
“What is it that people look for when they call your office?” Espinales asks, rhetorically. “Maybe the practice already has some blogs posted, so let's add videos to some of the more popular ones. They can be mini-clips or longer information videos. And then we can use these videos for different social media channels.”
Espinales acknowledges that quantifying return on investment where videos are concerned is challenging. To say you specifically received a lead from two videos may be difficult to determine, but she says that’s not really the point.
“When you’re trying to grow your dental practice, the online world has become so populated that videos are one way to stand out,” Espinales says. “Everyone has their own voice. Everyone has a way to connect with people. This is your opportunity to do so.”
And, she emphasizes, making use of video doesn’t always mean a full-blown production. Dentists can take the time to record themselves on their phone, behind the scenes, which can add an informal yet personal feel to the video.
“Videos might not always generate the full lead, full revenue, full income that you’re looking for on its own,” Espinales says. “But combined with other tactics, it just amplifies it that much more.”
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