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Make Meaningful Use of Social Media for Your Dental Practice

Tom Clark, founder of Banyan, a social media company for dentists, said that communicating who you are and why you do what you do is as important a marketing strategy as any for dentists at his continuing education session at the Yankee Dental Congress on Friday, Jan. 27.
Sarah Anwar
PUBLISHED: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Why do you do what you do? Why did you want to become a dentist?
 
Those were some of the questions Tom Clark asked at his 2017 Yankee Dental Congress session on Friday, Jan.  27. Clark, founder of Banyan, a social media company for dentists, said that communicating who you are and why you do what you do is as important a marketing strategy as any. Most importantly, keeping a practice’s social media page true to the practice’s identity and aligned with the practice’s vision will help create an aura of authenticity.
 
However, before you spend money to drive traffic to your website or Facebook page, it’s important to have content with substance, Clark said.
 
Clark likened being a dental patient to online dating. First, a patient will find a practice’s name. Then they will “stalk” that practice, going through their photos or videos. Finally, they will decide whether or not they trust that practice.
 
That’s why he said it’s important to stay away from stock photos. When a patient visits your site or Facebook page and feels like the content is not authentic, they won’t be inclined to trust you with their smile. Instead, try posting real photos of your practice or staff, or take it a step further by getting your patients engaged through posting photos of them at your office. Just don’t forget to have patients sign official consent and privacy forms, written by a certified attorney.
 
Once the patient sees their photos on your site or Facebook page, they will like them, allowing others in the patients’ social networks to see that your practice is personable, Clark said. Perhaps these patients will even be inclined to write reviews.
 
According to Clark, 88 percent of people feel that reviews – especially Google reviews – influence their decisions as much as word-of-mouth recommendations from a friend or family member.
 
Appearing among the top three Google search results, which are often displayed on a map with the establishment’s rating, is highly coveted. But how do you get to the top three? There are four things that Google considers in the ranking:
 
1. Number of reviews
 
2. Star rating
 
3. Frequency of reviews
 
4. Length of reviews
 
Instead of sending automated review requests to your patients (only 3 to 8 percent of patients actually comply), try asking patients to write reviews while face-to-face. If you don’t know how to approach a patient, Clark recommended leading with gratitude and then asking for the review.
 
He said that it’s been proven that an average rating of 4.2 stars or higher is considered trusted and can drive anywhere between 20 and 50 percent more calls to your practice.
 
But what do you do when a patient leaves a bad review?
 
The most active reviewers are those leaving negative comments and ratings. First, call the patient. Apologize for the patient’s poor experience and emphasize that it was unintentional, Clark said. Remind the patient how much you respect them and care about their wellbeing. Finally, ask what it would take to make it right. When all is done, ask them to change – not delete – the review.
 
If during the call the patient lashes out, Clark recommended leaving a comment saying how nice it was to speak with them on the phone, and how much you appreciate them as a patient. If the patient decides to come back with another angry comment, at least other potential patients will see that you did not leave the bad review unattended.
 
Whether the reviews are good or bad, it’s important to reply and show that there is some engagement on your end, Clark said. The most important part of any social marketing strategy is ensuring that the patient knows that you are present, and you care about their wellbeing.  


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