So in this last segment on social media marketing I wanted to talk about using the media to help patients and potential patients connect with you and your team. One of the most powerful things we can do today with technology is stay connected or get connected with other people. I have a belief that patients want to be in relationship with us, as more than simply a provider of dental services. There is a sense of belonging when we know about another persona and they know about us.
Last week I started a series discussing social media or internet marketing and the things I have found to be successful. In the first post I discussed clarity, figuring out who you are as a dentist and office and who your trying to market to as a potential new patient. The second post looked at creating visibility on the web by generating content. Search engine optimization is about written content over time. Loading your website up with content at the front end and then ignoring it may boost you in the search engines at first, but others will quickly replace you. The search engines want to see new content being posted consistently over time.
In yesterday’s post I discussed the first piece of successful marketing, clarity. Today our topic will be visibility. This may seem obvious as no marketing is successful if it is not seen, but marketing using social media on the internet is very different. When we utilize direct mail for instance it becomes visible because we push it out to the addresses on the list we purchase. The internet is more of a “if we build it, they will come” construct, the modern terminology is “Inbound Marketing”. Visibility is about building something that meets the technical criteria to become highly visible, and then making it so appealing people will want to visit.
As we begin 2013 I thought it appropriate to look at social media marketing. Over the last 2 years I have learned quite a bit about social media and using it as a marketing tool, both for my pursuits as a dental educator and my dental practice. When I look back over what I have learned and how it has shaped using social media there are 4 distinct lessons or activities that combine to create success, Clarity, Visibility, Activity and Connectivity. In this and the next three posts I will look at each area.
One of the greatest lessons of marketing, whether it be social media or other types is clarity. You can not market effectively if you do not know what you are marketing. The three pieces of clarity are:
The blog post below was written by a dear friend Dr. Mark Kleive. Mark and I have studied and taught together for eight years and I consider him one of my closest advisors. He was the first dentist I knew who used the idea of a focus group to grow and improve his practice.
Have you ever wondered what your patients “really” think about being members of your practice? Would you like to know how they experience the care, skill and judgement of you and your team? Would you be open to their feedback?
I’m at a new place in my career. After spending 13 years as a dentist in Minnesota I relocated nearly a year ago to the Asheville area of North Carolina. I’ve taken over a practice with a strong history in the community and I’m finding myself asking the same questions posed above. What I’m preparing for is a focus group – an invitation event where I pose questions and get feedback from patients whose opinions matter to me most.
In my last blog we focused on pictures for your Facebook page. This weeks topic is on videos. After you’ve “mastered” Facebook, and you’re ready to incorporate video into your practice marketing, YouTube is the next step in ramping up your social media presence. Video is a phenomenon which has become paramount to sharing one’s story. The fact is that the “tools of the trade” for a dental practice now include cameras, editing software, and a platform to broadcast. The platform that is the biggest and the easiest to get started is YouTube. YouTube’s traffic is incredible with 48 hours of video being uploaded every minute, over 3 billion videos are viewed a day, and 800M unique users who visit YouTube each month. These numbers alone should cause you to think about sharing content with others using this FREE service. When deciding what to make videos on think in terms of what you would like to watch. Keep in mind that the attention span of the average viewer is very is short. Video clips should be between thirty seconds and two minutes long.
A question that is becoming more and more common when I talk to dentists is ” How can I use social media to market my dental practice?” I decided to go to an expert for the answer and called my friend Bartley Stratton. Bartley is the President and founder of Yodel Networking. She specializes in helping companies grown their business via social networking strategies. I asked Bartley to share with us what she suggests for dentists who want to get started in social media, here is her answer:
It is crucial to map out your specific business goals before embarking on a social media program. “I think it’s safe to say that companies making investments in better connecting with their customers now, will have a distinct advantage over those that are resolved to wait and see with this social web thing.” Lee Odden, toprankblog.com
Recently I attended a meeting on marketing your dental practice given by Kirk Behrendt of Act Dental Practice Coaching. It was full of valuable information including a conversation on reading material in the waiting room. I had never before thought of the experience created by the reading material in my waiting room. The normal experience is to keep yourself busy reading the latest issue of people or golf digest. Well, maybe not even the latest issue, sometimes they are more than a year old. So maybe the first place to make a statement about who you are as an office is to keep the magazines current and create a system for someone to pull last month’s issue when they put out this month’s.
Mother’s Day my family surprised me with a visit to the spa for a day of pampering. You would think on an occasion like this I would relax and forget about dentistry for awhile, but everything somehow relates for me. As I sat down I was offered a warm neck wrap. It was soothing to feel the heat against my neck and it smelled very lightly of lavender. It struck me as I was sitting there enjoying the experience that one of the most common things my patients complain about is there shoulders and neck getting stiff. I also realized that it would be great to offer something comforting at the very beginning of every appointment to help our patients feel welcomed and ease into their time with us.
It’s pretty simple to purchase a number of microwavable neck wraps. I would recommend choosing one color or pattern, perhaps that goes with your office decor.
Last month I was speaking at the Texas State Dental Meeting and on Saturday morning had a chance to step in and listen to Kirk Behrendt of ACT Dental Practice Coaching. I came in just in time to catch his discussion on the importance of your office sign. I was floored when he shared that your sign may be the second highest referral source into the practice. As I’m listening I am trying to remember what my sign looks like? Actually where is it would be a better place to start, and making sure it is clearly visible to passersby.
I started writing down ideas, so once I locate my sign I can get to work. First I need to make sure my sign is in good condition, that the physical appearance and paint are consistent with what our practice represents. Next I will make sure that the area around my sign is clean and neat, maybe invest in having some new landscaping done in that area. While we are at it I will make sure that we have adequate lighting so the sign is visible and can be read in the evenings.