How to use social media to drive demand to your dental practice

Social media marketing continues to be a hot topic, practices seem to either be embracing it entirely or ignoring it completely. Which approach is right?

When I did my MBA I had an epiphany about dental marketing when we started to look at various marketing strategies. Like many other business owners, including dentists, I always had the view that marketing was about convincing people to purchase our products or services. I always thought of marketing as being manipulative, slightly deceitful and perhaps, in many ways, underhand.

My epiphany happened when in the course of my studies we began to look at relationship marketing. The old school version of marketing, which does indeed look to convince people to purchase our products is what is known as transactional marketing. The sole purpose is to get the customer to enter into our transaction with us, usually to purchase our product.

Relationship marketing does not focus on the transaction, but rather focuses on the relationship between two unique individuals.

social media tips

And what is it that we seek with our patients?

Do we seek a one-off transaction where they come into the dentist once and never come back? Or do we seek an ongoing relationship with our patients where we can educate, build trust and help them solve their dental problems and replace missing teeth?

I rather do hope it is the latter!

Transactional marketing focuses on:

  • maximising the efficiency of an individual sale
  • maximising the volume of individual sales
  • using techniques to encourage the customer to make a snap decision to buy e.g. buy one get one free, special offer on a specific day of the week
  • using sales techniques to close the sale

Relationship marketing focuses on:

  • lead generation using automation and (Customer Relationship Management) CRM systems
  • tailoring the customer experience using automation tools and a multichannel strategy
  • managing the patient journey using CRM and a multichannel strategy
  • building genuine bonds between the actors in the relationship i.e. the dentist and the patient

The more one compares and contrasts transactional and relationship marketing one can see that they are almost at complete odds with one another. I guess, at the end of the day, it’s down to you to decide which is best for your business!

Top tips for using social media for relationship marketing

  1. use a multichannel approach, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, e-mail
  2. automate the dental tips and information messages using software such as Hootsuite or Social Media Borg – approximately 40% of the posts should be dental tips and information
  3. automate the ‘calls to action’ messages using similar software e.g.”Come and visit us today to replace missing teeth” – approximately 20% of the posts should be ‘calls to action’
  4. update your social media stream with personal messages about things you like, films, books, restaurants, food. This keeps your social media stream personal and interesting. – Approximately 40% of your posts should be personable and about the team, individuals or practice.
  5. Be clear about the process of generating the lead. What do you expect a patient to do when they read a social media update or visit your website?
  6. Stop selling and start engaging!

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