By Jack Hadley
Yes, you may still be receiving most of your new patients as referrals from general dentists. But self referrals are absolutely on the rise, and smart endodontic practices today use social media to raise top-of-mind awareness and garner local word-of-mouth that grows their businesses.
Today’s consumers are smart. They want personalized, human interaction from businesses—not only in their transactional experiences, but in their marketing efforts as well. Social media provides that experience because it allows your practice to focus on the “Three Rs” of modern marketing… Reach, Relationship Building, and Reputation Management.
Harnessing the three Rs doesn’t require years of marketing training and knowledge! And, it’s not about mass advertising. It’s about simply leveraging and highlighting what you do each day to serve your patients and community.
The First “R”: Reach
Did you know 88 percent of adults use social media regularly, and 97 percent of consumers do online research about local businesses? A strong online presence is no longer the “cherry on top” for endodontic practices—it’s as essential as having a phone number.
Being active on a social media platform raises your practice’s visibility with prospective new patients and referring dentists. Participating in relevant conversations and sharing your expertise is one of the simplest ways to increase your reach and help establish your practice as an endodontic authority in your community.
Start by posting something daily on your practice’s Facebook page. Your posts don’t have to be elaborate, but the goal is to engage people. Fan participation—such as comments, likes and shares—amplifies the reach and effectiveness of these posts. But getting people to engage isn’t as simple as tacking “please like this” to the end of your posts. Give people a reason to contribute a like or to comment.
Talk about things that people actually enjoy talking about! For example, check out how Park Ridge Endodontics made a social media splash by starting a conversation about Shark Week on their Facebook page:
The Second “R”: Relationship Building
How do endodontists build relationships with patients they may only see once? Here’s how… Rather than ONLY focusing on that brief encounter, they think about ALL the relationships that influence patients before, during and after their visit to the practice. Relationships with friends, extended family members, coworkers, other patients, general dentists, and the community at large all have an effect—and social media provides the opportunities to strengthen connections with all of these.
Not only that, but showcasing your practice’s culture and love for endodontics through social media builds relationships with your team members, boosts unity and can literally transform the feeling inside your practice.
One of My Social Practice’s endodontic clients recently said that patients are more comfortable coming in for treatment after seeing social media posts about the practice’s culture, and how “[they] care about one another as well as their patients’ wellbeing.”
Remember, you’re a “relationship-based” business! You’re not selling widgets. What you do is intimate and personal. Don’t be afraid to show your practice’s human side through social media. Expressing gratitude, like Advanced Endodontics did here, is a great way to start:
And by the way, within just a few hours after posting this contest, Advanced Endodontics received two root canal appointment requests through Facebook’s direct messaging service. Imagine that… “Selling” endodontics without selling endodontics!
The Third “R”: Reputation Management
Nearly all consumers today do online research about local businesses before making purchasing decisions, including your prospective new patients. Even if you were recommended by their general dentist, the first thing they do after walking out of the GP’s door is pull out their phone and check you out online! Typically, they’ll look at your social media profiles, your website, and your reviews. These make up your practice’s “digital footprint.”
Prospective new endodontic patients place huge trust in 1) the quantity and ratings of your reviews, 2) “social proof”, which includes the recommendations from people in their trusted, permission-based social media networks, and 3) the culture of a practice as evidenced by the practice’s social media presence and activity.
An Incredibly Effective Tool
When used thoughtfully and consistently, social media marketing is an incredibly effective tool for boosting your reach, building relationships that matter, and establishing your reputation as a premier endodontic care provider in your community. As you interact with patients, prospective new patients, team members, and referring doctors in meaningful ways, you’ll find that standing out online isn’t so much about showcasing how much you know, but how much you care.
About the Author
Jack Hadley teaches social media marketing to MBA students at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management in Provo, Utah. He is also the founding partner at My Social Practice™, an agency providing social media marketing services to dentists and dental specialists. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.