A successful social media strategy can deliver exceptional results to your practice. Done properly, you can expect:
- New patients to your dental practice.
- To outperform your competition when prospects are doing research online.
- Stay ‘top of mind’ with both prospects and patients.
- Strengthen relationships with patients and enable them to become a powerful referral network for your practice.
But most dental practices fail to see these kind of results because of the critical mistakes I’ve outlined below. Review the list and see if there are areas where you can improve and take your digital marketing to a higher level.
1. Not Fishing in the right ponds
Where are your patients and potential patients spending time online? Are they active on Twitter? If not, why should you be? You don’t have to be on all social media sites. REPEAT: You don’t have to be on all social media sites.
Decide where your audience is spending time and plant your flag on those sites. With over a billion users on Facebook, chances are good that most of your patients are active on that site. So start there!
Action: Ask 10 current patients to rank in order the sites that they spend the most time on. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram as their choices. Follow up by asking how many times in the past month they’ve used each of those sites. You’ll notice a pattern and stay focused on the sites they ranked highest.
2. Getting outperformed on Google by your competition
Google is still the behemoth search engine where the majority of people are going to make buying decisions. How are you measuring up against your competition?
There are three areas where you can focus your time and resources:
1. Google Advertising
2. Organic Listings
3. 3rd Party Directories
Each of these important areas has a dedicated chapter in my book. For now, I will give you a simple tip that can help you improve your presence on Google.
Tip #1: Pay where you don’t show up. If you’re ranking poorly on a certain keyword phrase within Google, this might be a good opportunity to invest in Google Advertising. It’s a quick way to get your Website on the first page of Google by bidding on that keyword phrase.
Tip #2: Prioritize directories. An example of a directory is yelp.com, angieslist.com, or Google+ Local Business. And there might be hundreds more in the dental industry. My suggestion is to do a few Google searches and see which directories rank the highest. Focus on those first. So if I were a Dentist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I’d do a search for ‘Dentist Milwaukee WI’ and see which directories rank first. Prioritize accordingly.
Tip #3: Publish content using your Critical Keyword phrases. If I do a search on Google for ‘Atlanta Dentist, sites will rank highest with those words used in different areas on the site. The same goes for your social media profiles. So figure out the phrases you MUST rank for and make sure you use those words in content that you publish. Don’t overdo it, just include them where appropriate.
3. A credibility diminishing Website
If your website sucks, social media can’t help you. I trust that your dental practice is top notch! Does your Website reflect that same superior quality? Here are four common mistakes I see most dental Websites make:
- Color pollution - more than three primary colors on a Website.
- Critical information below the fold - Making visitors search (scroll) for content such as phone number or physical address.
- No Opt-in box - A place for a visitor to give you their email address or phone number. If you let a visitor leave your site without getting their information, you’ve failed as a marketer.
- Not being mobile-responsive. It’s not enough to have your site shrink down to fit a screen. Your site needs to recognize the size of the screen and adjust to allow for easy thumb-navigation. If your looking for an immediate solution, I’ve found dudamobile.com to be a good resource to quickly get your site mobile-ready.
4. Allowing your social media sites to die on the vine
Nothing kills credibility faster than an untouched profile. I’d rather you delete the profile than let it sit stagnant with few followers or connections.
Action: Take inventory of all of your social media profiles. Create a plan to consistently update them and build a following. Take advantage of sites like hootsuite.com that will allow you to schedule posts on dates of your choosing. If you decide it’s not worth the time or resources, delete the profile.
When it comes to building your numbers, I have two suggestions:
- Give people a compelling reason to do so. Don’t just ask them to join your Facebook page or YouTube channel, tell them why they should!
- Send an email blast! Most dental practices have a good email list of past customers and prospects. Send a blast to them with five compelling reasons to join your Social Media sites. That should help build your numbers in no time.
5. Selling on Social Media instead of directing them to your Sweet Spot
Recently, I did a consultation with a residential roofing company. Toward the end of the meeting, they were still confused on exactly where they sold more roofs. I asked them to take me out on the roof of their building. Once out there, I told them this is the place where you sell more roofs. Same place you always did. You use Social Media to direct more people to the roof, but the place you make the sale remains the same.
For a dentist, your sweet spot is in your office…specifically in the chair! So you may build credibility and stay top of mind on social media, but do what you can to get them in that chair!
Drive them to your sweet spot and you’ll start to see better results!
6. Talking about your company, instead of your community
What could you share or write about that your patients and prospects would deem interesting or valuable? You should ask yourself this question before you share anything on social media.
It doesn’t matter the channel. It could be your blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed, I want you sharing information that will benefit your audience.
Over time, you’ll start to build trust and credibility with them.
This is, by far, the most effective way to sell your value and yourself. If you deliver this great material on the web, imagine what they’ll get by working with you.
Take Action: Think of the five most Frequently Asked Questions you get from patients or prospects. Use these questions as your next five blog articles or social media posts. So if you’re a dentist, you might repeatedly get the question about the most effective ways to whiten your teeth. That’s a good blog post.
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to always Make It About Them. It’s the golden rule to seeing results with social media.
See Corey Perlman live at the 2016 Virginia Meeting, September 14-18, 2016 in Norfolk.