How Important Is Social Networking for Dentists?

How many new patients have you ever gotten from Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter, Pinterest, MySpace? The answer is probably none, if you’re like most dentists. I’m disappointed in dental marketing companies who shout “social networking” from the hilltops just because dentists, by nature, are interested in new things.

At MDPM, we’ve helped dentists set up Facebook contests, we offer a daily social networking posting service, and we set up Facebook and Google+ Local for all of our clients. However, we do not believe that spending hours a week on social networking will ultimately yield more new patients.

The Purpose of Marketing is to Grow a Business

Website First: Dental marketing aims to get dentists more patients. A great dental marketing strategy can be targeted toward a particular demographic — say, those patients who need dental implants, smile makeovers, or sleep apnea treatment. While Internet marketing is absolutely essential for dental practice growth, social marketing is just one of many tactics savvy dentists should employ (and in moderation). All dental marketing should begin with a well optimized, visually appealing dental website that can be amended as needed, as the practice grows. Branding with a logo, signature color palette, and practice name will tie all of your marketing together. So, create a brand, then build a website.

Blogging Second: Some dental marketing professionals will group blogging with social networking. I’m not sure why. Of the hundreds of dentistry blogs our MDPM copywriters compose each week, none receive active commentary from potential patients; ie: none are social forums. Blogging for business is much different than blogging for personal fulfillment. A personal blog may receive comments from family members, friends, and co-workers who are interested in the writer’s life. A business blog tends to get spam comments. Blogging for business is not a social pursuit. Why blog, then? Blogs build a wide library of dental content to boost a dentist’s online reputation with Google and the public. Daily or weekly blogging will help a dentist get to the top of Google search results for targeted keyword phrases.

That said, blogs can feed social profiles by providing original, interesting content. Post your blog links to Facebook, and your Facebook page will appear up to date. Furthermore, if by chance one of your blogs does become popular, it could goe viral — putting your name and practice in front of a great number of Facebookers. Viral blogs rare for dentists, though, and most often occur naturally, not from force.

Social Profiles Third: Dentists need a Facebook business page and a Google+ Local (formerly Google Maps or Google Places) listing if they want a contemporary, tech savvy image. With Google+ Local, you need a Google+ account, so you might as well set up a Google+ Business page, as well. Unless you plan to post to Twitter regularly, you don’t need a Twitter account. This rule extends to Pinterest, MySpace, and other social platforms.The exception is, if you or someone in your office will post updates to a social profile, and in doing so, patient service and office duties will not be neglected, then go for it. Social networking can be a fun way to stay connected with current patients and meet new friends.

What’s Next?

You have a website, you blog regularly, your Facebook and Google+ Local profiles are up to date and well maintained. Still, you aren’t ranking at the top of Google. You want more — more visibility, more new patients, more growth for your practice. The next step should be adding microsites to your marketing plan. Microsites are mini websites that focus on a certain procedure or product. Take sleep apnea treatment as an example. A microsite on dental sleep medicine may feature 10 pages of text, optimized for sleep apnea treatment and your location. A blog on the microsite will further enhance your potential for higher Google rankings and more new patients who need sleep apnea treatment. Dentists in competitive markets should have multiple microsites, all working together in a synchronized Internet marketing strategy.

To learn more about dental websites, social marketing, blogging, and microsites, call MDPM today at 972-781-8861. We’ll analyze your overall online presence and recommend a plan that will maximize the results of your investment!