Recent GA Academy of General Dentistry Article

 Social Media Marketing – Can “Widgets” and “Pokes” really help your Practice Grow?

 As we blast into a new era of marketing, it seems that the bar has been raised. Our prospects are looking for a new symbol of “coolness” – nearly all marketing media, including print advertising, television and radio ads, direct mail and web sites now require one additional feature in the copy, as important as the business phone number itself: the invitation to “Find” of “Follow” a business on your favorite social networking site. My recommendation? Jump in! Here’s why:

 The “New” New Patient

In recent years, consumerism has moved toward the internet, not merely in “droves” but in a virtual stampede. We live in a culture of warp-speed decision making; for any major purchase, we can read consumer reviews, look at photos and price compare online in a matter of seconds. Our future patients do the same – with flying fingertips and no time for fluff, they “power seek” the closest, most affordable, painless, friendly, insurance-accepting, modern DENTIST that best fits their needs.

 Opportunity-Logic

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, wrote “A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising”. 1 In dentistry, we know from experience that a referral is a desirable outcome of any marketing effort (and not always as easy as it sounds to achieve). Referrals through recommendation are a mere mouse-click away in the closely-knit social media community. And, the best part – it’s free! (for now).

 The Lingo

Facebook “Friends”: At the heart of referral marketing is connecting the dots – having your patients, friends and colleagues tell others about you.

…Introduce the Facebook “Friends” concept – people you know (or even people you don’t know) can become your “Friend” – you can read about each other, tell everyone what you are doing RIGHT NOW and the best part, in the spirit of “sharing”, your friends’ friends will be introduced to your wonderful, caring dental team.

 YouTube Videos

Share videos about you, your team and your facility and get “up close and personal” in the comfort of your next new patient’s cubicle. “I feel like I already know you!” (“…before I meet you”) paves the way for a more relaxed first appointment for both you and your patient.

Back to the Future

Greg Welch, Owner & Creative Director of Athens-based CVP Marketing Group, teaches local businesses how to capitalize on network marketing using social media. He believes social media has restored the value of consumer relationships: 

“We all understand that good business is about relationships. Traditional marketing moved us away from that into a realm of “bigger is better”. Social media marketing takes us back to the things we have known are important all along: Building relationships with our customers and connecting with them on a personal level, finding common ground that we all relate to – like the tooth fairy.” http://www.cvpmarketinggroup.com/

 The Launch

As far as the “How-To” , there is the “Do it Yourself” approach that will take some staff time, or, services such as CVP Marketing are available to set up social media accounts and feed them on a regular basis with dental health tips, photos, fun facts and entertaining quips. This folksy style of marketing is non-intimidating and will help keep your practice image light and friendly. And, search engines will index your business organization page; this will help drive traffic to your web site and boost your page ranking.

 So, join the “cool” crowd – wear your “Badge” proudly on your web site and get your raving fans to “Like” you! 

According to The Nielsen Company Consumer Confidence Survey2, First Quarter 2010
  • U.S. consumers spent an average of 6 hours, 13 minutes a month using social networking websites.
  • 55% of U.S. adults online have 1 or more social networking profiles.
  • Facebook is the #1 social networking site in the U.S., with a unique audience of 125.2 million visitors.
  • 75% of U.S. households that are active on the internet visit a social networking site.

 References

1 The Facebook Effect, The Inside Story of a Company That is Connecting the World, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2010.

2 The Nielsen Company, Q1 2010 Consumer Confidence Survey, www.nielson.com

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