Dental marketing with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media engagement tools continue to expand within the general population, many dentists are utilizing social media to interact with their current patients and attract new dental patients online.
Even the ADA is supporting social media use with its presentation on social media for dentists at the American Dental Association 2011 Annual Session, held October 10 to 12.
The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey to ask dentists how often their dental practice posted updates to social media over the past 3 months.
Here is how dentists responded -
- 35% Never use social media
- 14% Use social media less than one post per month
- 16% Use social media at least one post per month
- 35% Use social media at least one post per week
Tools used -
- 31% Facebook only
- 1% Twitter only
- 21% Both Facebook and Twitter
- 33% Did not indicate what social media tools they use
- 14% Facebook and *other
Location seems to be a factor in the use of social media by dentists -
- 71% Suburban dentists use some type of social media
- 29% Urban dentists use some type of social media
- 0% Rural dentists use some type of social media
What the dentist’s had to say about social media -
“Jump in now, so you aren’t left behind. It is the best way to communicate with your clientele in this day and age.” (Arizona dentist)
“We only began to notice benefits to the office once we reached a high amount of people “Liking” your Facebook page. Don’t expect this to happen overnight. Once you maintain a social media presence, it is an easy way to get your patients to notify their friends about you and post comments about your office. We have had really great comments and some of these have been entered by patients on Social Raves.com which also sends them to search engines and review sites after we get a chance to view and comment on them if we wish.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
“It’s the wave of the future and definitely here to stay!” (Illinois dentist)
“I hate that we are now compelled to participate in this time intensive BS. I think the Internet and social media are taking the focus off of patient care and more just dental marketing, marketing…” (General dentist)
“I have ‘old dog/new trick’ issues to overcome…I’m feeling overwhelmed.” (California dentist)
“Social media hasn’t helped me.” (Illinois dentist)
“It already takes many man hours of time to maintain our digital dental office, which includes patient e-mail contacts through Demandforce. Add in referrals, office to office contacts, Guru, etc. etc., we will soon need a full time IT person to help keep it all running smoothly. What is the cost to benefit break even point of social networking a dental practice, if that can really even be determined? What are the legal pitfalls? I have watched so many people gobbled up by Facebook; patients needing to use their smart phones at every little break, to send or receive a tweet. I much prefer to have my staff focus on quality time with a patient, providing quality work, than spitting out non-personal tweets and Facebook contacts all day long.” (North Carolina dentist)
Social media as a dental marketing tool will become an increasing factor in generating new patients. Even now, only a few high level dental practice websites are integrating social media marketing, mobile web pages and Google Places into their Internet marketing mix.