Tweet, Tweet: Spend Your Dental Marketing Energy Wisely

Dental TwitterLast week I told you a little bit about Twitter and why I don’t think it’s an appropriate avenue for a dental marketing campaign. That article raised some interesting issues that I’d like to discuss further.

First of all, if you want to use Twitter for dental purposes, use it with your peers. Stay up-to-date with your study group. Ask other dentists if they’ve used a piece of equipment, encountered a pathology, ordered from a particular dental lab, etc.

This touches on an important issue: online identity management. The first people to really become aware of this issue were college students on Facebook whose professors started using the social networking site to stay in touch with their students. Kids quickly realized that though they might want to share the photos of last night’s kegger with their friends, they didn’t want their profs to see them.

As a dentist, you’re in a similar position. Before you sign up for an account with Facebook, Twitter or any of their ilk, you should consider who your audience will be. Your patients? Your dental peers? Your personal friends and family? You have three different identities, and you won’t do yourself any favors by muddling them.

Consider which audience cares about what
Patients Professional Peers Friends & Family
Discounts? They want to know they don’t care they don’t care
Scientific issues? they don’t care They want to know they don’t care
Your personal life? they don’t care they don’t care They want to know

 

I thought this dentist’s comment was right on the money:

“Have you ever considered that our patients may actually rather not think of us on a daily basis? They have other concerns in their lives, and let’s not kid ourselves. We’re only their dentists.

“I agree with Jim. I don’t think Twitter has a future in promoting one’s practice in the traditional blast-marketing sense.”

He goes on to explain that he uses Twitter for demanding answers from stingy administrators, blasting self-interested CEOs, and the like. He’s using it to try to get his voice heard, not to appeal to potential new patients.

“Here’s what’s neat. My patients have no idea about my nasty alter ego. And should they find out, who cares? They’d probably join others in cheering me on as I do my part to clean up the community by sending PR types and dental consultants on down the road.”

On the other hand, another commenter felt that Twitter was a natural choice for dental marketing:

“I think all of you are missing the point regarding social networking and dentistry. It is not about getting new patients per se; it about keeping a presence on the web without paying an arm and a leg.

“For example, Madow Bros. have a public profile on Facebook. Align Tech (Invisalign) has a pubic profile on Facebook. These companies and dentists would not be doing this if it did not work…

“In marketing a practice, this is the most cost-effective way to direct patients to your website. The internet is the New Yellow Pages.”

Well… the Internet may be the new phone book, but a local dental practice isn’t the same as Invisalign. The same marketing techniques that work for the big guys won’t necessarily work for your practice. Lots of major companies have set up headquarters in the online universe of Second Life, but that doesn’t mean your dental practice should too!

One dentist dental marketer who’s an expert in dental SEO shared his experience with Twitter:

“From my own experience, after nearly a thousand posts (updates) and 1600+ followers, Twitter has resulted in only one client. The total time invested to achieve the above was several hundred hours, which means it was an absolute failure, a ROI disaster and a BIG waste of my time. Compared to search engine traffic, visitors referred by Twitter are not pre-qualified, highly targeted prospects interested in my offer, but only mindless curiosity seekers. At least 50% of the clicks originate from other countries too.”

Like I said last week — it’s all about the ROI. If you want to waste some time and have some fun, then Tweet away. But if you want to spend your energy where it will be most profitable to your practice, then you might look elsewhere.

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

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