Look, we get it. When you imagine your kids or grandkids and their friends browsing their feeds, you don’t exactly picture them checking in on their dentist’s social media. But, much to their chagrin, social media is becoming more and more of a generationally universal tool.
People are checking in on their dentist’s feed.
Potential patients of all age groups and lifestyles have their eyes on these platforms, and that alone means they’re worth investing some time into. But there’s more to it than that. Did you know that particular platforms are highly targeted to certain demographics? We all joke about it … Facebook is for sharing holiday photos with the grandparents and TikTok is the wild west of the teenybopper. But do you see how these naturally forming silos are doing some of the marketing work for you?
To dive further into this subject, we sat down with an expert in the field. Shane Simmons is the owner of Crimson Media, a digital marketing firm where dentistry and online advertising collide—with stellar results. Through organic and paid campaigns alike, he and his team have brought countless new patients through their clients’ doors.
Check out a few of the major takeaways Simmons offered up …
SOCIAL MEDIA COMPLEMENTS WORD-OF-MOUTH ADVERTISING.
Much of the misconception that social media isn’t useful for dentists stems from the profession’s history. Since its earliest beginnings, finding a dentist has been a task you completed by chatting with neighbors, asking your aunt who she goes to, and keeping an eye out for signs on coffee shop bulletin boards or along the side of the road.
While dentistry does still benefit from this word-of-mouth sort of approach, the rise of the internet certainly put a kink in the system. Now, if you rely solely on those old-school methods, you’re taking yourself and your practice out of the running when it comes to potential patients who are browsing online.
And they will find someone else.
As Simmons explains it, “There are more dentists than ever before; there is more competition. Pair that with the fact that consumers are more prone to doing their research, which they do online, than ever before. It’s easy to see why the dentists who made that transition early on are seeing the fruits of their labor.”
You could too. While social media can sometimes require time and patience to build up, even the smallest account can be found by someone browsing for nearby dentists, and it might be the deal maker for them. Many people now feel that a neighbor saying they like a doctor isn’t enough.
They want to get a sense of who you are on their own, and this is where social media shines.
SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS YOU GET PERSONAL.
In our modern age, scrolling through pictures and posts is a way to get to know a practice and its people without committing just yet—and that’s precisely what your potential patients want to do.
In our blog post about marketing dentistry to Millennials, we talked about how that generation respects and values having a connection with the businesses and business owners they support. They are in the midst of a conscious consumership movement, and social media is one of their greatest tools.
Simmons gives us the big picture:
“Let’s say you like to explore potential businesses via Instagram. Which dental office are you more likely to visit, the one that has a bunch of stock photos and squares that say things like ‘Hey, It’s National Clean Your Teeth Day,’ or one that has photos of their team together, their patients smiling, group lunches, etc.? Social media gives you the opportunity to break a barrier, show your personality, and connect with patients.”
This strategy is ideal for millennial audiences, which, let’s admit it, we all want to tap into more (it’s a big generation). But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t care about the people behind a business. In one way or another, it almost always plays into decisions.
Conveying who you are through social media is highly effective.
Social media works for dentists.
In the case of one of Crimson Media’s clients, a single-doctor practice brings in about 50 new patients a month. Of those, half come from social media advertising, and another 30% from Google.
Believe it or not, this isn’t an outlier. While it is certainly a success scenario, Simmons says that his clients start to see results like the above after only a few months of effective online campaigning.
One key factor in doing this right, though, is knowing what you’re aiming for and how you should see the results.
Social media targeting and ROI are clearer than you might think.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, one of the beautiful aspects of social media is that you can target with such precision compared to snail mail, email, flyers, and other traditional methods.
Does your community have a large population of retirees you’re looking to tap into? Or maybe young families are the demographic you seek to explore?
For the first, invest in Google results. For the second, Instagram (it’s where the moms are).
That said, you should also think about which method of advertising is more in your wheelhouse: organic or paid.
On Facebook, you can pay to run ads to an extremely niched-down audience. You can target females between 30 and 50 years old within a 5-mile radius of your practice—it gets that specific. By comparison, Instagram can do the same, but it also produces good organic traffic and the visual feed invites you to really show off the vibe and culture of your practice.
Determine what your demographic goal is and how involved you want the process to be, and then … enjoy seeing how it works for you, with a hyper clear view of cost per acquisition.
Using innovative technology like conversion pixels, which track viewers from social media platforms to your website, you can see the details of anyone who submits a form requesting information or an appointment. Crimson Media even sets up systems that will email your practice’s front office to let them know a patient would like to book an appointment, giving you a chance to make direct contact.
This means that in most cases, you’ll know where they discovered you, and thus, you can invest money in ranking better on Google or paid ads for Facebook, based on what is performing well for you!
Pretty slick, huh?
We certainly think so.
Whether you're looking to grow your patient base, do a better job of communicating with your existing patients, or both, social media is absolutely worth investing in. To learn more about where we fit into this process and explore our own social media, visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.