An article written by Rodney Goedhart
Strange question, isn’t it? But that’s not the entire story. As a matter of fact, when it comes to technology and the age of intelligence, you should hesitate about everything you do and ask yourself, “Aren’t there thousands of businesses profiting and growing thanks to their newest adopted IT oriented procedures? How can I do something that keeps me running with the trend and enables me to use that stream in favor of my own practice and patients?”
These days, everyone is thinking about social media and what it can do for their business? Dentists and physicians in general have every right to scratch their heads twice about this. But as long as you keep in this stage of hassling and wrestling with your thoughts and temptations, you miss the main question: Why? Why should I spend time and energy for this? Even as a digital marketing expert, I wish I could promise and ensure you that two posts a week equates to 800 followers, meaning eight new patients a month. But I have to admit I do not enjoy such a gift.
The other bitter truth is that social media marketing takes time, a leap of faith, discipline, and efforts to recreate the ideal office environment online. But we often focus only on how our online efforts convert to views, hits, and ultimately, a return on investment. We really need to think beyond that. As they say, you reap what you saw.
Gauging the value of a phone call made to a patient after a tough procedure is impossible. However, we know it builds trust, loyalty, and respect. Think of using social media in the same way. Just like a care call, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ cannot be quantified.
Social media may not change your practice. It may, however, change how you practice. The few that embrace it fully will experience a bump in those coveted internal referrals. Internal referrals drive a practice to success. Patients who tell their friends and family about you tend to have greater trust and are more willing to learn, and they ultimately refer more.
All these open platforms of interaction may not be right for every dentist. So let’s explore why NOT social media for some dentists. People must engage on these new media platforms in a real way. You can’t fake true engagement and connection. Many people just don’t want to be that vulnerable in the public eye. Not everyone can endure a negative review or comment. Therefore, you need some guts. But those who look reality in the eye will be blessed with the fortune of conversion and progress. There is a professional image to uphold. Don’t take it too personally; each critic is a potential compliment when change takes effect.
This is the paradoxical reality. Many patients are already close friends and neighbors, family members, and high school buddies. Typically, they are already the lifeblood of the practice. They know your non-dental secrets and still choose you as their dentist. You need to tell yourself that real engagement, however scary and messy it may be, it can render a win-win for your practice.
This is my friendly advice for every single dentist, clinic or even hospital department. You might think that people keep coming to you per need and urgency. But no one can ignore the fact that a well-kept relationship is more important than just the clientele-vendor affiliation. A patient will forget his or her toothache, that’s for sure. But if “linked-in” or “followed” once, they’ll never forget you and your comments will always be “shared” and “liked”… forever.