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social media

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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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Instagram: Use This Powerful Platform to Promote Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper February 15, 2016

Instagram’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past two years and it continues to soar, with online adult usage growing from 13% three years ago to 28% today. With this explosive growth, now is a great time to incorporate Instagram into your mobile marketing strategy.

Initially, Instagram was simply an app that allowed users to share photos with followers, but it has proved to be an effective marketing tool. Below are 3 ways to leverage Instagram to increase engagement and build awareness online for your practice.

  • Contests – Create photo contests. Ask patients to tag their photos with a specific hashtag to be entered into a raffle. Or have staff post photos of themselves in Halloween costumes, for example, and have patients vote for their favorite.
  • Feature Your Followers – Highlight happy patients and personalize your relationships with them by taking their pictures and featuring them in your posts. *Always be sure to get written consent before posting photos of patients online*
  • Promotions – By including promo codes in your posts you can keep your patients engaged and excited about their next visit.

The above methods are only a few of the ways to use Instagram to market your practice. As Instagram grows in popularity, you’ll be able to create an even more personal experience with your patients that’s engaging and accessible.

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1 Can’t Miss Tip for Managing Your Facebook Feed

by Naomi Cooper November 4, 2015

1 Can't Miss Tip for Managing Your Facebook FeedIt’s no secret that Facebook helps you stay connected to your patients, colleagues and community. It is an invaluable marketing tool for your dental practice, providing a universal platform to connect to anyone, anywhere, anytime. You can use Facebook to share so much about who you are and what your practice is all about, and communicate unique insights and content that your website and other online profiles can’t in a more quick and efficient manner.

 

But what if someone in your Facebook community is sharing too much? Do you have a Facebook friend that posts things you just don’t care about or want to see? Are you tired of seeing the irrelevant, the ridiculous and the completely inappropriate? Everyone knows at least one person who continually posts articles, videos and comments that make you squeamish, leaving you to wonder if there’s a way to keep this person as a “friend” but free yourself of the constant barrage of inappropriate and irritating posts.

While some are content to just scroll on, there is a way to remain friends on Facebook without having to see their posts. Mashable has a fantastic blog post that details how to curate your Facebook feed.

The blog details how to easily unfollow someone on Facebook, thereby keeping him/her in your friend network, but keeping their annoying posts out of your feed.   It also provides four additional tips for improving the quality of the time you spend on Facebook. Check it out!

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6 Steps to Dental Marketing Success

by Naomi Cooper May 15, 2015

dental marketing strategyAs the old adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and no truer words have ever been spoken…at least when it comes to dental marketing. Marketing can be fun (patient appreciation activities). It’s trendy (social media engagement). And it’s certainly enticing (“Don’t miss out!”). But it can also be frustrating, time consuming and costly, especially if you don’t have a plan in place. 

Instead of having a scattershot approach to dental marketing, it can pay off big time to take the time to put a plan in place. Here are 5 steps to get you headed towards marketing success:

  1. Plan for the long term: When developing a strategy, keep in mind that it should be regularly monitored and needs to have the ability to change depending on factors like time of year, the economy, and your budget.
  2. Brand yourself: Work with a professional logo designer to develop a branding strategy that will be used throughout out all marketing materials, online and in print. 
  3. Build/update your website: A great website serves as the foundation for the marketing plan, so it’s an incredibly important component. Hire a skilled web designer with experience in the dental field to create a site that attracts new patients and meets the needs of your existing base. 
  4. Train the front desk: The team answering the phones plays a crucial role in the marketing plan. They need to have the communication skills to not only convert new patient calls into appointments, but to also extract the important information from every caller in order to track the results of the marketing efforts.
  5. Create buzz online and off: Social media is a hot buzzword today, and it’s not just for fun. The reason it’s so popular is because it’s grounded in something we all know – good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth remains a powerful driver of new patient flow. Encourage your existing patients to become brand ambassadors for your practice and ask them to share their positive experiences online at social networking sites like Facebook and consumer review sites such as Yelp, Google My Business and Healthgrades.
  6. Just say no!: It’s easy to overspend on marketing when there isn’t a plan in place. Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for a dental practice to receive 20-30 sales calls a week from people selling various marketing packages. Stop the kneejerk reactions and wasteful spending. With a proper marketing plan in place, you can regain control of your practice promotions and feel confident that your hard-earned marketing dollars are being well spent.
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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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Facebook for Dentists – What’s the Point? 

by Naomi Cooper March 18, 2015

Facebook for Dentists – What’s the Point? Likes. Shares. Blogs. Have these terms become more familiar around your dental practice? Social media is a great tool for patient outreach, but it’s even better for ongoing communication with your existing patient base.

To really see the full benefits of social media, we need to go beyond just posting content to our own pages. The true purpose of social media is engagement. Sites like Facebook allow us to create our own online communities and help us to stay connected more easily with patients and colleagues.

Here are some tips for increasing your Facebook engagement:

  • Encourage patients to check in to your practice on Facebook and/or share your posts
  • Post videos and photos to your practice’s business page on Facebook
  • Hold contests asking for input from your audience
  • Last but certainly not least – reciprocate! Like patients’ posts, share their content, and reply to their comments.

The point is to talk with your community, not at them. Social media should be a two-way conversation. With a focus on engagement, you can feel confident that social media can help you strengthen your patient relationships – both online and offline.