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Twitter Is Fun – But Is It Good for Dental Marketing?

Twitter for dental marketingThese days, you can hardly turn on the news without hearing about Twitter… Hear what protesters in Tehran are saying! Read what such-and-such a senator just tweeted! Follow the news program on Twitter!

We’ll tell you a few basic things about Twitter: what it is, what it’s good for, and why it’s NOT the next big thing in dental marketing.

1. What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking website where you can post short messages. The beauty and simplicity of Twitter is that it doesn’t try to do much more than that.

First, you create a profile with some basic information about yourself. (See The Wealthy Dentist’s profile) Then you start following other people’s feeds, and they start following yours. Updates are limited to 140 characters, and you can even use your mobile phone to “tweet,” as they call it.

2. What is it good for?

If you’re into that sort of thing, Twitter can be a fun way to interact with friends and family. But if you hate Facebook and MySpace, then you probably won’t care for Twitter either.

Twitter also lets fans follow celebrities; Ashton Kutcher is famously Twitter’s most-followed member. As more and more politicians sign up, politicos are tuning into Twitter too. Newt Gingrich’s tweet about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was much-repeated on cable news channels.

But the protests surrounding the controversial Iranian election really brought Twitter into the news spotlight. As the hard-line government tried to shut off phone and Internet access, Twitter (and to a lesser extent Facebook) became one of the only lines of communication, proving invaluable to both protesters and journalists. The US government even asked Twitter to postpone planned maintenance in order to keep the site online during this struggle in Iran.

3. So what about dental marketing?

There’s a school of thought that says you should market yourself to patients through every available line of communication. And there are tech-minded “marketing gurus” who push the latest, most cutting edge technologies.

But I’ve always been an ROI-minded kind of guy. The return on your investment is the most important thing to consider. How much time and money will you spend, and what can you reasonably expect to get in return?

Twitter can give you access to potential new patients, but they’re not there to find a dentist. Most people would do that on Google, not Twitter. Any hard-sell message on Twitter makes you look like a spammer, not a real person. Attracting followers requires quality content, which takes time, and converting followers to patients takes both time and finesse.

If you or someone in your office is enthusiastic about Twitter and wants to post daily tweets, then it might prove an effective marketing avenue. But unless you’re on Twitter anyway, there are better places to spend your marketing energy.

Dentist Online Social Media: The New Dental Marketing?

Dentists and online social mediaDentists are embracing social media websites for business networking and internet dental marketing. Over half of dentists (57%) report using Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn for professional purposes.

Facebook is the clear leader; half of dentists use it professionally, and 4 out of 5 are on Facebook for personal purposes. One in three dentists uses Twitter professionally, and one in three is on Linked In.

“I believe they will and have had a great impact on dental marketing,” predicted one dentist. “It remains to be seen exactly how this will impact patients actually using these sites to select their dentists.”

“Social Networking is FREE,” raved a website designer. “It gives your dental websites visibility that they would not otherwise have. Most everyone under 50 use the internet for everything. Print is gone, and the internet social media is free right now, so why not take advantage of this?”

Here are some more comments from dentists:

  • “It seems a little non-professional, but I don’t knock those who do. I’m personally annoyed with my chiropractor’s posts, so skip over them. I imagine my patients would do the same.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Too new…not sure of impact.” (Pennsylvania orthodontist)
  • “I think all of these sites are a huge time killer!” (Alabama dentist)
  • “No online social networking personally or professionally anymore. Most of it is a waste of time. I’d rather spend the valuable time with my wife and kids.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “I have begun to use LinkedIn for contacts across the nation for my orofacial myology business.” (Nebraska dental hygienist)

Read more: Dentists & Social Media for Online Dental Marketing

Dental Marketing on Facebook for UK Dental Practice

Facebook dental marketingA dental practice in the UK (and NHS practice) is trying to recruit new patients via Facebook.

And what’s most remarkable about this story isn’t the truly innovate form of internet dental marketing using online social networking… it’s the fact that there’s an NHS practice with space for new dental patients!

Historically, it’s been challenging for many UK citizens to get dental care through the NHS. In many areas, it’s next impossible to find a dentist who’ll take on a new NHS patient.

So the NHS invested £65,000 to create places for 10,000 new patients, but the VI Dental Centre in Bridlington still has 2,000 spaces available. And marketing-minded staff have turned to the internet, using sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Read more: Facebook campaign to fill Bridlington dental places

Dentists Prefer Facebook For Their Dental Marketing

Dentists Prefer Facebook For Their Dental MarketingFacebook has turned into a popular dental marketing tool for dentists to attract more dental patients.

9 out of 10 dentists use Facebook as their preferred place to network online.

While Facebook is facing criticism over their often-disputed privacy policies, most of the dentists using Facebook use it for both professional  and personal networking.

“We are at the beginning stages of our Facebook dental marketing. We are using it as an informational, personable and promotional platform. We are giving our patients useful information, keeping them updated on what is new in our office, and giving away prizes for liking our page. We also give patients $5 off their services when they check in! responded one dentist.

The Wealthy Dentist decided to survey dentists to ask what sort of social networking they do online, and whether it was for personal or business purposes.

Dentist use of social media

Dentists use the following social networking sites professionally –

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Blog
  • Google Plus

And for personal use?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn and blogging were used the least

Here are some dentist comments:

“We have a business Facebook page which does well for us. I update it regularly and have a couple staff that like to write updates on the wall, too.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“I haven’t yet figured out what to make of Twitter.” (General dentist)

“I still prefer word-of-mouth recommendations most of all.” (Arizona dentist)

“I really do not have the time or inclination to follow through with these media platforms.” (Massachusetts dentist)

With Facebook about to make a public of offering, which is estimated to bring in about 10 billion dollars, it is time for just about every dental practice that is serious about dental marketing to get on the Facebook bus!

7 Dental Marketing Vectors and How Dentists Should Use Them

7 Dental Marketing Vectors and How Dentists Should Use ThemMany dentists believe that word-of-mouth referrals are the best way to secure new dental patients while ignoring the dental marketing opportunities presented by engaging in social media.

Dentists still question whether the social media communities, although popular with dental patients, are really necessary to have a successful dental practice.

Dentists are further challenged by where to allocate their limited marketing resources in order to see a quality return on investment –be it for time, money, or both.

But there is great opportunity in the use of social media to attract and engage new dental patients.

Here are 7 possible dental marketing vectors and how dentists could use them —

1. Blogging.
Blogs are great because they can increase traffic to your dental website. A blog gives dentists a way to share their expertise, reach out to the local community, and discuss the latest trends in dentistry.

2. Facebook.
Having a Facebook presence encourages conversation and engagement about your dental practice. Some of the most popular dental practice Facebook pages offer promotions and deals to their online dental community.

3. LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has many of opportunities for dentists: new patient generation, dental marketing, connecting with your peers in dentistry, and the possible hiring of new staff. Think of LinkedIn as a professional networking association and use the site to showcase your education and experience.

4. YouTube.
YouTube offers dentists an opportunity to market their dental practice to thousands of people for a relatively small investment. More and more people are watching videos on their televisions and YouTube is a great way for you to appear in your dental patients’ living rooms.

Can you imagine how much it would cost to do this with regular television advertising? With a small video camera you can film patient testimonials and how-to videos. The most popular YouTube dental videos are those that show actual dental procedures in process, like teeth cleaning and cavity treatments.

5. Pinterest.
Women love Pinterest and they love to ‘pin’ quality images. Before and after teeth whitening images are the most popular dental images on Pinterest. Many women use Pinterest as a visual list of things they want to do or try, so think about posting images that would appeal to these kinds of pursuits.

6. Twitter.
Twitter is great just for the link-building that it can provide your dental practice website. It’s also a good place to keep an eye on your reputation to see if you have any unhappy dental patients tweeting about your dental practice. Twitter offers you the opportunity to reach out to them before they stick a negative online review on Yelp.

7. Google Plus.
Google Plus is a great place to share what you are doing on your other social media channels. Since it’s powered by Google, it only stands to reason that Google includes Google Plus engagement when they deliver search results. Since it’s difficult to tell where Google is going with Google Plus, it’s important to make sure you are there.

In the past, search was what mattered most to finding your dental practice online, but with the advent of social networking sites, “liking,” “pinning,” sharing, following, and commenting is fast becoming the accepted way for people share and gather information.

Search is still important, but social sharing is growing and becoming a big part of the online experience. Find one or two that appeal to your type of dental patients and become a regular user.

What is your favorite dental marketing vector for engaging dental patients?

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