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internet marketing

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Claim your dental practice’s online identity…or someone else might!

by Naomi Cooper March 14, 2016

Claim your dental practice's online identityA dentist client of mine recently decided to join Twitter and made a disturbing discovery when she attempted to create an account: someone had already created a Twitter account using her email address. Who could this imposter be? What lessons can be learned from this experience?

The fact is if dentists don’t take an active role in their social media presence, someone just might do it for them, and unfortunately it’s actually more common that you might first realize.

It is essential for dentists to monitor their personal names as well as their business names across social media platforms. Online trolls and other nefarious characters may make slight changes to your online name and create fake accounts and it is up to you to find and report these imposters.

What can you do to protect yourself? If you find that you are the victim of trolling or impersonation here are a few tips:

  1. Report trolls or impersonators to the appropriate social media company.  Keep vigilant. It may take some time to get resolved, but this is your reputation, it is worth it.
  1. Regularly search popular sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and LinkedIn for your name and your practice name. If something doesn’t look right or if you see a duplicate account, you may be a victim of impersonation.

TIP: If you are active on Twitter, you may want to pay special attention: According to Business Insider, trolling is mostly a Twitter issue.  “A study of 134,000 abusive social media mentions showed that 88% of them occur on Twitter. Only a tiny fraction of online abuse happens on Facebook or other social media.

  1. Build a robust online presence by blogging and collecting patient reviews. Claim profiles on sites like Google and Yelp, and maintain an active presence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  1. Protect your online reputation. This Forbes article suggests some simple ways to keep things positive.

And because you have enough on your to-do list already, there are companies that specialize in helping dentists manage their online reputations, Sesame Communications and My Social Practice to name a few. Outsourcing can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re putting your best digital foot forward.

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Dental Marketing: The Era of Social Proof and Social Search

by Naomi Cooper April 1, 2015

Dental Marketing: The Era of Social Proof and Social SearchDid you know that 61% of patients turn to online review sites before they select a doctor? This stunning statistic reinforces the need for dentists to stay on top of the practice’s online reputation today.

Accumulating positive information about the practice not only on the practice website but also on a variety of third-party websites across the Internet helps create an encouraging first impression when patients look to vet the practice online. This can include favorable online reviews and positive comments on social media profiles.

Social Proof

While having patient testimonials directly on the dental practice website is a good first step, collecting positive reviews on external sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades and AngiesList that come up in a Google search of the practice’s name can offer another layer of credibility and authenticity in the minds of prospective patients. This is why positive online reviews and commendts on third-party websites are sometimes referred to as “social proof”.

Social Search

In 2014 we saw a rise in the influence of social search. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest refined the search functionality within their sites, making it easy for users to search these sites as they would Google or Bing. The big difference between these social searches and the general online searches is that a patient can now see (for example) which dentist each of their friends go to or if there are any dentists their circle of friends specifically recommend – making social searches all the more valuable.

So how can dentists use social proof and social search to their marketing advantage? Encourage patients to share their positive experiences on consumer review sites. Remind patients to check in to the practice on Facebook whenever they come in for an appointment.

To learn more about online marketing strategies, click here to read my recent Inside Dentistry article – Social Media Strategies: What Dentists Need to Know

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New ADA Resource: The Practical Guide to Internet Marketing

by Naomi Cooper January 7, 2015

internet marketingThe American Dental Association has just announced the publication of their new book, The ADA Practical Guide to Internet Marketing. It’s a comprehensive resource filled with valuable information on all things related to online marketing. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to author two chapters in the book, and am excited to share a few excerpts here with you.

I was first asked to share tips on how to build a solid marketing foundation for the dental practice.

If you’ve tried marketing before and it didn’t work, it is well worth it to give it another shot.
 The marketing industry as a whole has gotten much more scientific in recent years. Dentists
 no longer have to cross their fingers and hope for the best. There is an abundance of tracking mechanisms designed to provide real-time data, so that dentists can make educated marketing decisions. If something isn’t effective, you’ll know very quickly and can change gears, saving you time and money. Plus, there are countless numbers of tools available to dentists now that didn’t exist just a few short years ago. If you’ve been hesitant about marketing your practice, now is the time to jump back in

I also was asked to write on the topic of SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is one of the most important online strategies yet many dentists are not completely familiar with the concept.

The one universal truth of SEO is that content is king; to improve your rankings, both website visitors and search engines must perceive that you are a subject matter expert based on the depth, specificity and freshness of your website’s content. In the words of Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.com and a preeminent SEO expert: “Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy.”

With 10 total chapters, the ADA turned to several industry leaders for insights into everything from content creation, social media, blogging and even covering the legal considerations for digital marketing. The book is sure to become a trusted resource for dentists and their teams. Click on the image above to learn more about it and find out how to order a copy for your practice!

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Building Trust Online: 4 Strategic Tips for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper June 11, 2013

Building Trust Online: 4 Strategic Tips for DentistsWhen I am consulting with my dentist clients from across the country, there is always one absolute in every conversation about their dental practice marketing needs – internet marketing. While it was not even an area of interest just a few short years ago, internet marketing is playing an increasingly important role in dental marketing strategies, whether we discuss social media, website design, blogging or search engine optimization.

According to Sesame Communications, 80% of adult Internet users search for healthcare information online. This represents countless opportunities for dentists to reach potential patients online.

An essential component of any internet marketing strategy is something that’s hard-won and easily lost – TRUST. And building trust online is just as hard as it is offline. Maybe even harder. It seems like anyone can have a website, so how do you differentiate your practice website and your practice as a trustworthy dental care provider?

  • The first step is building a cohesive online presence, including your practice website as well as your online profiles (social media and consumer review sites).
  • Your practice website should be updated and contain links to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles.
  • If you have a blog, be sure to feature it on your site. And share your blog posts across your social media profiles.
  • Likewise, on any website where your practice has a profile (such as a consumer review site such as Yelp or Google+ Local), be sure to have all current contact information clearly visible and provide links to your website and blog.

The strategy is having a strong online presence to create a momentum for your dental practice. The above various online platforms (blogs, social media, websites, and consumer review sites) should all work together so that when patients are searching for a dentist online, they come across multiple channels broadcasting your message and validating your practice as the one they need to call.

For more ideas on cultivating online trust, check out my Sesame Communications article here.

How do you manage your online reputation? What strategies have worked well for you?

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Quality, Not Quantity, Is the Key To Success in Social Media

by Naomi Cooper May 27, 2013

Quality, Not Quantity, Is the Key To Success in Social MediaThere are endless ways to participate in social media: various sites, videos, comments, sharing, blogging…the list goes on and on. For dentists, and business owners in general, who are looking to get started in social media, the sheer volume of the opportunities to engage can be overwhelming.

There is no need to get frustrated before even starting. Participating in social media is all about connecting with your patients, friends and colleagues. For example, it is better to regularly engage on Facebook (for instance) a few times every week, than to sporadically post random information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Find one or two sites that are most comfortable for you, and that you know your patients are also engaged in, and start there. As your comfort level increases, you can start to branch out to more sites.

Varying your content will also help to increase the quality of your activity. This will help to keep your content fresh and engaging. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Sharing links to trade-related articles
  • Posting a thoughtful comment on others’ posts
  • Uploading a video to YouTube the brief video could offer a tour around your office, or an update on the latest technology in the office
  • Commenting every blog that you read
  • Posting photos
  • Responding to patients’ feedback when shared online

And one more aspect of Quality as it relates to social media would be Consistency. Posting one article every few weeks is not going to build your audience. Create a social media calendar for your office, and continually engage on a regular basis. Your audience will start to know when to expect to see your information, and you will be building credibility along the way.

Getting started in social media can seem daunting at first. By putting a little thought into your strategy, and creating a plan of action, you will be on your way in no time at all.

Have you integrated a social media marketing plan for your practice? What were some of your initial successes? Do you have any advice for those looking to get started? Please share your ideas below.

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The Shift to Mobile Marketing: Is Your Practice Prepared?

by Naomi Cooper January 7, 2013

The Shift to Mobile Marketing: Is Your Practice Prepared?The world of marketing is ever-changing. It can be difficult to stay on top of the newest trends and gadgets. In looking ahead to 2013, many predict the biggest game-changer of the year will be the rise in popularity and the shift to mobile marketing. Is your dental practice prepared?

What is mobile marketing?

Simply put, mobile marketing is marketing via a mobile device, most commonly, a smartphone but also including the increasingly popular tablet devices. People go online to find information on and research healthcare providers now more than ever. And increasing numbers of users are doing so from their smartphones.

What does this shift mean to you and your dental practice?

Mobile marketing is a very broad term that encompasses multiple strategies including text message notifications, digital advertising and website optimization. And website optimization is the greatest takeaway for dental practice owners. You already have a website for your practice, and perhaps you work with an SEO company to be sure your website appears at the top of search results. Take your website to the next level, and convert your website into one that is also mobile-friendly (e.g., easily accessed via a smartphone or tablet with full functionality).

If your website is not able to properly function from a smartphone, what happens? The user leaves your site and finds one that is compatible. Speak with your trusted website designer or work with a mobile marketing company to get your practice website converted and onboard with the mobile marketing trend.