The recent Supreme Court ruling
that prevented a North Carolina state board from excluding non-dentists from performing teeth whitening is just another in a string of obstacles cosmetic dentists face in this evolving economy, often dubbed the “new normal.”
As the economic recovery stumbles forward, dentists need to be proactive in protecting and expanding their practices. One tool cosmetic dentists should consider adding to their marketing toolbox is social media.
It’s Time to Be Social
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media venues are no longer the digital playground exclusively for teens and twenty-somethings, as the following statistics reveal.
Clearly, social media is a communication channel cosmetic dentists should not tune out. The value of social media increases when combined with the next statistic: More than 70 percent of Internet users search for healthcare information online.
These statistics make it obvious that, whether you have an online presence or not, it’s likely your patients are already online and searching. In fact, it’s not a stretch to assume that people in your community are researching healthcare issues online each and every day.
The question that comes next: Can you be found on social media?
If not, then you should re-examine your marketing strategy.
When you reach out on social media, you educate your patients with timely information on cosmetic dentistry trends and also position yourself as a trusted resource.
A social media presence expands your reach while also offering a more complete and compelling picture of you than a simple name and address in a directory listing can.
Social media gives you perfect timing. Because your online persona is always available, you reach your patients at a golden moment, the exact time when they are actively seeking information to solve a problem. It's a marketing trifecta: The right information to the right person at the right time.
Social Media Benefits
Build Real Relationships
All businesses are built on relationships, but perhaps none more so than in the healthcare industry, in which financial, health, and personal concerns merge. Social media allows you to build and strengthen relationships through postings that share your thoughts, photos, and stories. Over time, the depth of your knowledge and caring will become self-evident, strengthening your bonds with patients.
Amplify Your Brand
Social media allows you to reach a broad audience. A compelling story or informative post about new cosmetic dentistry trends can ripple out, first reaching your patients active in social media and then spreading out to their followers. The ripple effect continues as these followers post to their circle of friends and family.
Digital Word of Mouth
As already noted, patients are already online researching healthcare providers. While Google is an obvious resource, it’s not the only one. Patients are also reaching out for advice from their circle of friends via social media, which has become the 21st century version of “word-of-mouth” marketing.
Cosmetic dentists who tap into social media can harness this new type of referral by posting quality content, which is the key that unlocks social media. Content that resonates with readers gets passed friend-to-friend, extending its value.
Be Proactive in Managing Your Reputation
Being active online also allows you to ensure that prospective patients receive your message in your words. With a properly developed social media program, you can enhance your reputation through educated and thoughtful responses that reflect your views.
Be Heard 24/7
Even if you are not in your office, your social media postings are available 24 hours a day. Many healthcare providers find that evening, from about 7 p.m. to midnight, is prime-time for patients seeking information. Luckily, social media tools allow you to pre-schedule posts to appear at the times you want.
Expand Your Professional Contacts
Social media is not just for attracting new patients and engaging with current ones. Cosmetic dentists and other healthcare professionals are using social media to connect with colleagues throughout the industry.
Sharing knowledge with other professionals can lead to connections that enhance your knowledge, open new doors of opportunity, and keep you current with trends in your specialty and your community.
Early Adopters Will Reap the Benefits
Social media is a new option for cosmetic dentists so there is a good chance your competitors are still waiting on the sidelines. By getting a social media foothold now, you can build a solid online presence well in advance of your competition.
The only source of knowledge is experience.
Learn and Lead
Don’t let the unknowns surrounding social media be an obstacle. If you are unsure how to get started in social media, then partner with experts who understand both the technical requirements and what content resonates with readers, ensuring a smooth transition to the digital realm.
Do you lack the time to develop a social media strategy? A partner who understands your field of expertise and can adjust their level of support to match your requirements can help you overcome time constraints.
Using a skilled online strategist gives you the head start you need and frees you to concentrate on your area of expertise — cosmetic dentistry.