Did 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.
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”.
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