Dental Tribune International
Natalie Marinos believes that posting personal, humorous and educational content on dedicated social media pages helps dentists attract new patients and stay connected with the local community. (Image: Natalie Marinos)

Interview: Engaging with local community through dental social media marketing

By Iveta Ramonaite, DTI
June 19, 2020

In today’s digital world, businesses need to have a strong online presence in order to facilitate communication with customers and boost practice growth. In the case of dental professionals, being active on social media contributes to marketing success and helps dentists cultivate relationships with the local community. To find out how dental practices can attract potential patients through social media, Dental Tribune International spoke with Natalie Marinos, a marketing specialist at My Social Practice, a company that provides social media marketing content, strategy and support to dental professionals worldwide.

Ms. Marinos, how has dental marketing changed in the last few years, and what are the top ten dental marketing trends of 2020?
Dental marketing, like all forms of digital media and marketing, exists in an ever-changing world. The digital dental marketing industry is seeing an upturn in practice success when dental practices are focused on serving and giving back to their communities. Giving back builds a more positive culture, fosters local awareness, creates unity and molds your practice into something your patients are proud to share with their friends and family. Sharing personal stories of team members and patients, keeping the team involved in the practice’s online personality, and sharing what practices are doing to keep patients safe is vital to marketing success. Dentists who show their audience that they care about people, not just teeth, experience great success online.

What is the most effective way to reach potential patients through social media, and how can a dental practice measure social media success?
It’s no secret that the best way to attract new patients and retain current patients is through nurturing strong relationships and connections with them. Loyal patients are people who have a strong emotional connection with their dentists and their dental team. Dentists can attract new patients on social media by posting personal, humorous and educational content on their pages.

When searching for a new dentist, patients are looking for a friendly office and trustworthy staff. Dental social media pages are the perfect place to give potential patients a look into your practice while getting them to like and trust you before they even make an appointment. Measuring the success that social media has for your practice is done about the same way as traditional marketing. Ask patients how and where they heard of you in order to get a good grasp of what is working for your practice.

“If your page is littered with generic post after generic post, it ends up looking like spam”

What should and what shouldn’t a dental practice post on social media?
Your social pages are no place for impersonal, autoscheduled graphics. Although this might seem effective on the surface, we have seen practices fail to see any social media success with this approach. If your page is littered with generic post after generic post, it ends up looking like spam.

Your page is also not a medical journal. Your followers are not nearly as interested in the clinical side of your practice as they are in seeing the team’s friendly faces. Your social media pages should be focused on giving your practice an online personality. Post photos of the team, celebrate birthdays, tell jokes and run small giveaways to engage with users in order to illustrate that your practice is helpful and welcoming.

What impact, if any, does social media have on dental education?
When it comes to educating your patients about their dental health, there is no better platform than your social media page. Your social media pages allow you to post videos, infographics and pictures explaining to followers what warning signs to look for, how to prevent dental problems, and more. If you present dental health information in an upbeat, educational way, your online fans are sure to pay attention.

How can a well-optimized website influence dental practice success?
Today, people buy from people and businesses that have gained their trust online. Most new patients go to search engines like Google in order to find a new dentist. If you want your practice to show up in the search results of patients looking for a new dentist in your area, you’d better have a well-optimized website. Since over half of online searches come from mobile devices, you need a dental website that is optimized for both mobile and desktop searches. If your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate and has call-to-action buttons strategically placed to lead potential patients to request an appointment, your practice is much more likely to gain new patients from your website.

“You are more likely to get engagement and interest because your practice is a part of the community”

How can dental professionals use social media in order to enhance the patient experience?
As a local dentist, you can easily cultivate relationships with patients using social media. Social media actually works best for small local businesses. You are more likely to get engagement and interest because your practice is a part of the community. Your social media pages are designed to provide information, education and meaningful content for your local audience. As a dentist, you can enhance a patient’s experience with your practice by staying in touch with them over social media. Stay connected by responding to patients who comment on your photos, and express your gratitude by giving patients a shoutout on your social media pages. You can build a stronger association with your patients in between appointments by staying active online.

Editorial note: More information about My Social Practice can be found here.

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