In part one of this blog, “Using Facebook for the Dental Practice”, we discussed how a Business profile can help your practice. We went through the necessary steps it takes to set up your page as well as what to consider visually and structurally during the process. Now it’s time to get our hands dirty and start using the page to make your practice more marketable and far more accessible to your clients. **interactive**
Building Relationships Through Facebook
The real power of social media is its ability to create, rekindle, and maintain relationships. The phenomenon took the country, and now the world by storm. Online communication and connection has gone from a technological fad, to a piece of everyday life for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Creating your page is the first, toe-wetting, step in being able to connect with those millions. When you begin using your page keep in mind that the goal is to make your patients feel like your office is a comfortable, welcoming place. The most effective way to accomplish this goal is to open up a direct line of two-way communication.
Have Some Fun
As you know, most people don’t associate enjoyment or fun with a visit to the dentist. By connecting with your patients, you have the ability to change that stigma. Post some of your favorite dental cartoons or jokes to bring a quick smile to a patient’s day. Think about it, who can watch “David After Dentist” and not laugh? Did your office dress up on Halloween? What about the birthday party you had for your office manager? Do your patients even know about the fund raiser your office is holding? Show your patients some pictures. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how open people are to starting conversation over photos. All of these things are quick, fun, and will bring a positive association with your practice.
Inform and Educate Patients
Your Facebook page is a great place to educate. Lack of knowledge and fear of the unknown can be a major deterrent of patients. Here, you have the ability to not only educate, but offer entertainment while sharing your knowledge. When school sports are right around the corner, let parents know about the relationship between concussion prevention and mouth guards. When the year is winding down, remind your patients that their insurance benefits are also running out. Educate parents on proper oral health care for an infant or toddler. Many patients have children that visit another dentist, so talk about children’s dental health, even if you don’t have a pediatric practice. Keep in mind that you’re attempting to stimulate the reader and invoke a response. Think about having a day set aside, once a week, to answer patients’ questions. Patients can ask in person, email, or Facebook message any form of dental question in that you will answer. You can reward the person who asked the question with some sort of prize, possibly a new toothbrush. Some commonly asked questions you might see are: Do whitening toothpastes work? What is a dental implant? Are electronic toothbrushes better than manual brushes? What causes dry mouth? and, What is a dental veneer?
Brag a Little!
How’s that back feeling? Looks like it could use a little pat to me. Every now and then you need to show off a bit. Show your patients what amazing things your practice is capable of. Make sure your patient’s know that your office is capable of more than routine maintenance and cleanings. There’s nothing like a few great before-and-after images to spark a patients interest. Facebook lets you post not only images, but short videos as well. You might want to invest in a hand held digital video recorder. They’re actually very affordable now. Imagine how powerful a video recommendation would be from a patient immediately after seeing their brand new smile for the first time. Be sure to let your patients know about any continuing education courses you or your staff may have gone to. Your patients will find it comforting to know that the professionals who take care of them are interested in learning and improving upon their craft.
Facebook As A Marketing Tool
There is nothing quite like being able to engage your customers while simultaneously promoting your business. This is exactly what your beautiful new Facebook page will let you do. It will work side by side with your current website in your online marketing campaign. If you don’t have any form of current web presence, this is the perfect way to get your feet wet and see what it can do for you. While I would never recommend using this as a web site substitute, it’s a great first step for taking your business online. If you currently have them, we recommend that you use your Facebook page as a tool to draw more attention to your current website and blog.
Practices are using Facebook not only as a tool of retention, but also as a means of attracting new customers. People are far more likely to visit a business if they have a referral from a trusted friend or peer. So, let’s use those current fans as a source for new business. Advertising on Facebook is an option many practices are currently taking advantage of. The ability to segment markets by age, occupation, and interests are very attractive options when looking at location based advertising. You can present your business to all 155 million active Facebook users, or only advertise to potential customers living in a specific zip code.
Now that you have a page set up and you know what to do with it, how do you gain fans? Getting people to like your page can be done in a multitude of ways, the most successful is simply to ask. Adding a Facebook icon and link to your web page will let people know that they can find you there, too. Do you have a recorded message your patients listen to while they’re on hold? If you do, you can tell them about your page there. Add the address of your Facebook page to all of your outgoing appointment reminders and mailers. Some people even include the address in their email signature. Make sure you claim your vanity URL to make remembering your address that much easier.
Hopefully you’re feeling more confident in setting up a Facebook business page and how to best use it to create and cultivate relationships with current and future patients. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us here at Bay View Dental Lab. We’re more than happy to assist you in this, or any of your practice marketing needs. And one more thing, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!