16th July 2018
The Real Price of Your Internet Presence
How we’re perceived by people really does matter. This applies increasingly to both the real and virtual worlds, as well as across social media. Don’t incorrectly assume this premise doesn’t apply to the dental industry, because it most certainly does.
We all deeply value the validation and approval of others on a psychological level. This occurs even more so when we’re looking to attract new clients.
Online profiles are often openly embraced by some in the dental profession, with their presence enhanced and constant – either through an “alter ego” persona outside of the practice or within the clinician’s skills. Others take a somewhat more political route to fame by debating or commenting on important healthcare issues and accepting regular media invitations to speak on behalf of the dental industry.
For those lured by the tease of their “15 minutes of fame”, a celebrity-obsessed world may prove entirely too tempting.
Even so, personas that make dentistry seem more accessible and friendlier than what common clichés would lead us to believe present a fantastic opportunity for one to “toot their own horn”.
Dentists who sing, dentists who smile, and dentists in advertisements who generate new and improved smiles on television makeover reality shows share the same result of not only boosting their own individual profiles but also promoting a positive view of the dental profession.
There is, however, a constant need to curb such enthusiasm by maintaining mindful conservatism along with acknowledging regulations established by the governing bodies of the dental profession.
If social media clashes with a clinician’s health care principles, ignoring self-promotion could come at a steep price.
By increasing one’s digital marketing knowledge, dental businesses can more successfully connect with existing patients as well as potential new ones.
Personal recommendations continue to carry significant weight, but in the quest to ensure a dental practice that thrives, your secret weapon is the internet.
The amount of self-publicity needed seems a mystery. Is it just quite enough to generate customer interest in your practice and the various services offered, or does it need to venture beyond that? Do you need to be an expert in your industry, an important opinion leader, or perhaps go the route of celebrity clinician?
The only constant is the desire to promote one’s business and to practise marketing within established regulations and advertising authorities.
Per the Dental Team’s GDC (General Dental Council) Standards, dentists must ensure their promotional material, advertising, and other information produced is not only accurate but also not misleading. Further, it must comply with the ethical advertising guidance established by the GDC.
Additionally, it’s required that advertisement must comply with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Office of Fair Trading (OFT) standards.
You’ve likely already established accounts on social media for your dental practice, which promote you, your team, and the services you provide. When it comes to your personal accounts, however, you would be well-served to give some serious thought to privacy. Like it or not, you and your dental business are the reflection of the lifestyle you present to the public. A judging public just may frown upon your constant selfies or large purchases. Consider separating your personal and professional accounts on social media. Be mindful of the implications of your online posts and the potential for them to be shared by others. A dental marketing expert is a good option to help advise you on your dental seo.
If your practice’s social media is used for the discussion of anonymised cases to communicate best practices, you still must be extremely careful that no patient or patients can be identified. In other words, use discretion and show a fair amount of humility, whether posting on a personal or business account.
Be creative. Channel the film-maker, photographer, or writer within you. Businesses can exchange and create content via the internet-based tools of social media. Blogs, content communities, internet forums, and social networking websites each offer their audiences unique engagement experiences, so take time to understand the content expected on each one. It’s tempting to plaster sites with similar messaging, but this approach will not produce desired results since a static post won’t translate effectively between these sites. Look at your options and see what competitors are posting. Speak to online creative experts with experience in assisting businesses both within and outside the dental profession in raising their online profiles.
By creating a personal or professional brand and sticking with it as well as ensuring your team and your practice are in lockstep with a unison “voice” across social media and inside your practice, customers will associate your messaging with your brand. But be aware they’re generally not receptive to surprises. If your business is family-focused, the information you deliver must be related to the established customer perception if you want to be the leading family dentistry choice. Switching targeted demographics will only serve to dilute your messaging.
Be both reactive and proactive to new dental ideas. Help patients easily understand what’s new in dentistry and meet their needs. Without proper knowledge, patients may turn to unreliable sources outside of the dental profession, which we all wish to avoid.
Consider amplifying the content of your website by finding an expert in search engine optimisation. Patient experiences can be enhanced while still meeting requirements of the regulatory bodies. But remember that being seen is also very important. Your profile and your reputation must be raised to compete in a world where online and offline communication occurs 24/7. By using these enhanced marketing skills, you’re more likely to achieve the results you are seeking.
Simply stated, excellent dentistry requires superior patient communication. Dental chair chats alone no longer suffice. While nothing can replace the solid relationships gained by the hard work of you and the members of your team, there are tremendous opportunities available, thanks to the internet, for you to further engage with people who are not yet your patients.