Online Reviews: Five Things You Need to Know For Your Ortho Practice

Consumers say that they want to see ratings on review sites before they even think about going to a practice. A survey by BrightLocal.com showed that half need at least a 4-star rating before they choose a business and 73% said that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Reviews are a serious business.

Are you getting the maximum star rating on Google and Yelp? Are your reviews positive or negative? Do you even know? People and Practice is the expert on reputation management for orthodontist practices. We have put our SmartReview™ system in place at offices across the country to boost positive, 5-star reviews on Google and minimize negative ones.

Below we have outlined five things to know that will help with your online reputation. Want to learn more? Click here to contact us today!

Spot Fake Reviews

Are there fake reviews about your business online? Most consumers admit they can’t always tell a fake review from a real one. You need to be vigilant about monitoring your online reputation. Bad reviews and fake reviews have a negative impact on patient conversion from the web.

Encourage Positive Reviews

Happy patients aren’t clamoring to sing your praises on review sites like Google or on social media. That’s why we designed our SmartReview™ system to get you authentic positive reviews, fast. Most consumers report leaving a review when asked by a business for their feedback. Take advantage of that and increase your online cred.

Head Off Negative Comments

Capturing reviews at point of contact can help head off most negative reviews before they hit the net. Our system helps to avoid bad reviews being posted. You can address the patient’s concerns directly, offline.

Update Your Info

There’s nothing worse than an out-of-date phone number or email address on a review site. It’s your job to make sure this data doesn’t lapse. Regularly go to every website you can find where your contact information is listed to keep it up to date. Don’t only rely on your website. Most people say they look for contact info in places other than a business website including Facebook and Google Business listings.

Increase Number of Reviews

Last year the average number of reviews that people read before they trusted a business was six. This year it’s seven. It’s getting harder for a practice to gain trust online. With reviews on the right mix of websites you can get ahead of your competition. Speaking of that we have a bonus fact for you…

The Right Sites

According to the BrightLocal.com survey the top three most trusted review sites are Yelp, Google and Facebook. You need to make sure you put most of your attention on the big three.

Want to learn more about reputation management for your orthodontist practice? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

WATCH: AAO Webinar on Ortho Marketing

Why isn’t your digital marketing converting new patients? What’s missing from your plan that other practices are doing to get results? Watch our latest American Association of Orthodontists webinar to find out. 

With the growing prevalence of retail dentistry, solo practitioners and small group practices are at risk of becoming commoditized in the eyes of the patient. If the perception is that the standard of care and experience is the same everywhere why wouldn’t you choose the practice with the most flexible hours and lowest prices? To avoid being commoditized and forced to compete solely on convenience or affordability you must communicate why you’re worth paying a little extra for. That means differentiating your practice from low-fee and other local competition to attract more private-pay patients and patients who understand the value you provide. This webinar will demonstrate how to accomplish this by solidifying your online reputation, connecting with your current and prospective patients on the media they use, and educating your target audience using the most effective online marketing tools available today.

After this lecture you will be able to:

  1. Discuss how digital marketing can be used to introduce, educate and build trust with a practice’s target audience members
  2. Explain how all the digital and analog “touch points,” or ways a prospective new patient interacts with your practice work together
  3. Activate current patients to market for the practice, serving as ambassadors that refer the practice to friends

Click here to learn how to convert more patients with an effective digital marketing plan.

5 Ways Orthodontists Increase Patient Conversion With Social Media

We all know that social media is integral to practice marketing but part of the trick is getting patients to engage with our posts. If you want to make your Facebook page more exciting (and help convert more patients) then we suggest trying a few of these strategies:

Give a little of everything

Surprisingly, a lot of people aren’t just going to your website to find out about your practice, especially Millennials. Many say that they start researching a business on social media first. So as they say in show business, give ‘em what they want. Put all the pertinent information about your practice right on your Facebook page, including contact information. Make it easy for someone to go right from social media to their first appointment. Facebook offers plenty of fields to fill out on your profile so make sure you are using them all, including the option to add a free Call-To-Action button that encourages people to contact you.

Read more about how Millennials use social media to research your practice.

Surprise them

Do something a little different on your page. If you are posting a constant stream of photos then slip in a fun survey or a contest. Give them something they did not expect.

Just make sure to stay away from anything too tricky or contrived. Read our blog post on what not to do on Facebook.

Teach them

A great post has a good takeaway. Dig up an interesting orthodontist fact or even some history. Make a short list of true and little-known facts related to teeth or orthodontics. People love to share these lists with friends and family. While you are educating and entertaining potential patients you are also building trust before you even meet them for an initial consultation.

For more on building trust with online content, click here.

Video

Live video is becoming one of the best ways to increase engagement on social. The best social media marketers know how to maximize live video by directly engaging with viewers. Set specific times you will be going live with an announcement, some educational facts or just a fun feed from the office around the holidays. Then when you get viewers – whether it’s one or a hundred – start chatting with them right on video.

Read some of the things that will change with Facebook’s new algorithm and how live video fits in.

Encourage reviews

Almost a quarter of people surveyed said that they use online reviews as a first step when seeking out a medical provider. Good reviews actually don’t just happen on their own. You need to ask patients to post reviews for you if they feel your practice deserves it. Google and Yelp aren’t  the only places to get reviewed. Your social media page has a review section and it’s important to make sure you are managing that space as well. People & Practice has a SmartReview™ system that’s designed to capture authentic positive reviews at the point of contact in your office.

Read more about how online reviews help a practice succeed.

Want to learn more about how to use social media to convert more people into patients? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

READ: Go High or Go Low Just Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle

The Progressive Orthodontist magazine just published our feature story about how to survive as an independent practice without getting squeezed in the middle from above by large corporate Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) and from below by low-cost, so-called DIY orthodontics. Written by our co-founders, Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA, the main idea is to teach orthodontists how to break from the pack with a marketing program that differentiates a practice and attracts more qualified patients.

“As the orthodontic business model becomes increasingly competitive, prospective patients have many lower fee options. Traditional private fee for service practices are finding themselves squeezed in the middle, steadily losing market share. Large, corporate, DSOs and insurance companies are pushing down fees while overhead costs keep going up. Computer generated tooth straightening applications in the form of so-called do-it yourself orthodontics are commoditizing services into a point-and-click shopping experience. Adding to the burden is a surplus of competition and mounting debt that orthodontists need to carry in order to remain technologically competitive. Orthodontists are definitely feeling the pressure from every side.”

Read the full article on Progressive Orthodontist website here.

When you are finished reading the article, come back and read more marketing advice on our blogFor a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Update: Don’t Panic!

Facebook recently unveiled that it was going to change its news feed, a change designed to head off criticism directed at the powerful social media platform about polarizing media and interruptive business posts. Their strategy? Prioritizing content from friends and family over posts from companies to encourage “meaningful social interactions,” according to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg. Translation: more photos of friends skiing and fewer articles about congressional investigations.

We think that’s just fine. If it enhances the patient and/or parent experience, it keeps them engaged on Facebook’s platform. That’s what we want, because it’s primarily where patients and parents choose to be social online!

All of that said, some subtle shifts to accommodate the changes can ensure that practices like yours are relatively unaffected by the algorithm adjustment.

Boost more posts

Prioritize boosted posts and advertisements in a marketing plan and post fewer without ad dollars backing them (a.k.a. organic posts). Facebook is telling agencies they won’t see any major changes for paid posts, although ad rates might increase in the long run. (Digiday). People & Practice strategy for its clients already includes posts that are nominally boosted or take the form of educational or promotional advertisements. Read more about boosted Facebook posts here.

Focus on engagement

Posts from practices that don’t get any meaningful engagement won’t appear as prominently in users’ news feeds compared to posts from friends/connections. But posts that people actually comment and share could be favored more highly. (CNBC)

People & Practice crafts posts for orthodontists that are designed to encourage engagement (comments, tags, shares with friends). Our social strategy involves reaching your friends-of-patients group via social media, often by patients sharing your posts on their network. This is an approach that will be rewarded by the new algorithm adjustment. Check out our five social media ideas for orthodontists here.

Go live with video

Shoot live video instead of pre-recorded. Zuckerberg also said his team has found that users interact more with live videos as opposed to produced ones (you can like and comment in real-time when live). The interpretation is that businesses should focus more on live of content going forward. People & Practice advises practices on ways to incorporate Facebook Live into posts, particularly for contest winner announcements and at events. Read our blog post on five social media marketing predictions for 2018 where we talk about how live video is going to be hot this year.

The more things change…

Always keep in mind that technology changes. Often. That’s why we don’t throw our tried and true strategies out the window as soon as social media giants introduce a change, but rather methodically and measuredly make tweaks that will ensure your practice remains visible to the people that matter most to you: patients and prospective new patients.

Want to learn more about how your practice can not only survive but thrive on Facebook, Google and other online media? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Good Reviews on Google?

Nothing happens. And that’s bad.

Bad reviews can be bad for business. Despite a recent research report finding that online physician ratings are not a good predictor of the quality of a doctor, people continue to rely on feedback they find on Google, Yelp and social media to make choices about which businesses to patronize and which doctors to visit. In fact, a survey by Bright Local found that a whopping 97% of consumers read online reviews about local businesses, with 12% looking for a local business online every single day, almost a third of them doing their research via mobile apps.

Chances are that most of those people didn’t get around to reading the research paper.

There’s an old adage in the ad game that asks what happens if a business doesn’t advertise? Nothing. Same goes for online reviews. What happens if you don’t get any good reviews on Google? You guessed it! Nothing.

People will not call. They will not come back to you after an initial consult or they will cancel appointments. Many consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – that is up from 6 last year! More people are using online reviews more often and basing where they take their family for orthodontic treatment on what they read.

If you aren’t doing anything about your online reputation then don’t wonder why people aren’t calling for consultations. Almost a quarter of people surveyed said that they use online reviews as a first step when seeking out a medical provider. Good reviews actually don’t just happen on their own. You need to ask patients to post reviews for you if they feel your practice deserves it. People & Practice has a SmartReview™ system that’s designed to capture authentic positive reviews at the point of contact in your office.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your social media? Our work builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information, or a free marketing analysis, you can contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

How To Use Hashtags

If you’re confused about the use of the hashtag then sit back for our quick primer.

Hashtags can be fun but the original purpose was very practical. The hashtag symbol–originally known to anyone who is not a digital native as the pound or number sign–found new life on social media organizing conversations into subjects and themes. If you want a deeper dive into the history of hashtags, this article on AdWeek has a good infographic. And if you want to see the first suggested use for hashtags on Twitter click here.

A random comment on social media has a better chance of being found online if accompanied by a relevant hashtag. Hashtags are also used for scheduled chats on Twitter and other social platforms. Below are a few examples of how to use a hashtag and a few things we thought you should know about this small but powerful symbol.

Hashtag as revolution

Let’s start on a serious note. Hashtags have been used to organize activists and revolts. Remember the Arab Spring and Occupy Movement? Both heavily used social media to organize and relied on hashtags to keep people informed. It’s not hyperbole to say that hashtags helped to keep both these movements going and connected people from all over the world to popularize and bring attention to their causes.

Hashtag hijacking

When a hashtag becomes popular (or when an organization decides to launch its own hashtag) the results can be mixed. People can hijack the hashtag either for fun or profit.  This means that they populate their own promotional posts with a trending hashtag to help the message get in front of a larger audience. They could be selling something and want to piggyback their pitch onto viral content or a person could use a hashtag to make a sarcastic (or inappropriate) comment about the hashtag’s subject matter.

Don’t do this. The backlash online can be damaging and it’s not worth it. Unless you are part of the conversation or what you are saying is directly involved in the subject avoid hijacking a hashtag just because it’s trending.

Fun and original

Hashtags aren’t all business. People like to add hashtags to a post to be fun and even invent their own silly hashtags. Comedians have used hashtags to invite people to contribute to their skits. Jimmy Fallon is famous for reading funny Tweets on his show that he picks out from a custom hashtag. You can take a page from the professionals to invite patients to post about a specific topic using a hashtag that you can then share in a blog post. Consider #BracesOff to ask what the first forbidden food patients imagine they will eat once they are done with treatment.

Overstuffing

On thing to remember: You might find that some people load their Tweets and Facebook posts with irreverent hashtag keywords but most businesses can’t get away with it, at least not very often. So try not to stuff a ton of them at the end of every post.

Join the conversation

Do your research. Find out what hashtags others are using and see if you can contribute posts to the conversation. It’s also perfectly acceptable to use hashtags to call out your specific town, a holiday or some industry related topic. In our industry #ortho #teeth and #smile are all fun or very specific hashtags you can probably use often. Just remember there is a fine line between joining in a conversation and hijacking a hashtag.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your social media with hashtags? Our work builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information, or a free marketing analysis, you can contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Get Your Staff on Board With Social

We talk a lot about what makes for a successful social media marketing program in terms of patients it puts in chairs or the trust that it builds in future clients. But, behind the scenes of every great Facebook business account, is a dedicated staff who cares. The truth is that no one can do it all. To help jump start a new campaign, a social media manager must rely on co-workers to help out. It’s not as easy as it seems. Rallying the troops to post, repost, comment and like can become a daily grind so here are three tips on how to get your staff onboard with social media.

Pick a good leader

If you’re an orthodontist who has just launched a social media account or wants to ramp up the action on an existing account, the secret is to pick an enthusiastic person who can lead by example. You probably don’t have the time to do it yourself, so anointing a staff member as your social media manager is an important decision. Look for personality traits that go along with success on social. Find a staff member who is a good organizer, possibly has been bitten by the writing bug and isn’t afraid to ask others to chip in when needed. You also need to have this person be computer savvy with the ability to do some light photo editing like cropping pictures. They should have access to a computer at work and at home too (although a lot of social media can be done on a smartphone.) Once you empower the right person with the keys to your office’s social media accounts, make sure they know how important the job is. If you’ve hired a marketing company like People & Practice, that person also has to manage that relationship. Lastly, the doctor has to lead by example. Make sure you show your support so the rest of the office knows how important social media is to the success of your practice.

Offer to help

Not everyone in the office is “good” at social media so help them succeed by giving regular tips. Make it a part of the work week to explain any campaigns or big post ideas that are coming up. Then offer ways they can help promote the posts even if it’s as simple as saying, “please like this post and share it with your network.” Make social media marketing more interesting by offering facts like best times and days of the week to post. This will help boost engagement with their own accounts as well (who doesn’t like getting 50 likes on a pic they post?) While you don’t want an office full of people staring at their phones all day, it helps to give the OK for staff to post during business hours once in awhile. Making people feel like they are a part of the success goes a long way to increasing participation. Make it a point to report on the effectiveness of a campaign or post, what it means to the practice and how their involvement has helped contribute to that success.

Make it fun

There are plenty of ways to make it fun to get staff involved in social media. Encourage them to come up with ideas and then involve them with making it happen. Include staff members in posts and highlight their accomplishments on the job and outside of work. If someone in your office has an interest like fundraising for a charity or running marathons, make sure you share that too. Remember your office is about more than just braces. It’s also about the people who interact every single day with patients. Shine a spotlight on them. You can also encourage participation with regular contests to reward your most active social media stars.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge your social media? Our work builds trust in your practice online to help you get new patients in a digital era by convincing them (before even meeting you) that you’re the practice to choose. For more information, or a free marketing analysis, you can contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Five Predictions For Ortho Marketing in 2018

It’s that time of year when prognosticators read the tea leaves to make their predictions for 2018. Since we’ve been following the trends in dental marketing all year, we think we have a good grasp on where things will go over the next 12 months. Keep reading for our take on what you need to put into action to make your practice successful in 2018.

1) Content Marketing

Creating useful, relevant, informative content will never go out of style. The way it is delivered might change (anyone still subscribing to Poor Richard’s Almanac?) but the old adage that content is king still rules. Content is a win/win/win. It’s an SEO strategy that benefits all parties: the producer, the consumer and the search engine (primarily Google). People love searching for free stuff to read online when they should be working. If it delivers value and helps instill trust in your practice, then all the better. But there’s a new reason to double down on content in 2018: ad zappers. Ad zappers are software that seeks out and removes ads from the websites you visit so you don’t get deluged with annoying banners while you read your nifty content. It’s debatable if these ad zappers are good or bad for business but the bottom line is that in lieu of throwing money at local advertising that might never get seen, you will want to divert some marketing funds toward creating content to attract visitors organically. Read more about ad zappers and how content can help fill the void here.

2) Social Media Marketing

Again, nothing new here. We’ve been promoting social media marketing for orthodontists for years now. What we predict for 2018 is the growing importance of social media as a first stop in finding your practice online. That’s because Millennials aren’t necessarily going to your website to research your business. In a recent survey, 45% of Millennials say they begin researching a company on social media first. So if you’ve let your social media presence go stale it’s time for a refresh. Fill your page with useful info about your practice, links to your blog posts, and pictures of happy patients. You need to engage your audience in new ways to encourage sharing so when they ask, potential patients have a place to go on Facebook to do their research. Read more on this social media marketing and Millennials here.

3) Micro-moments

The future of marketing is the acceleration of what we already have in place now. That’s right things are moving even faster in 2018. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be a speed demon to keep up, you just have to be there with useful information when your next patient is looking for a dental practice in her hometown. Google defined micro-moments as the extension of an already empowered consumer now armed with the web at her fingertips on a mobile device. You get your info wherever, whenever.  “Waiting has become a thing of the past. That translates into today’s pervasive micro-moment behavior—immediately turning to a device to know, go, do, and buy… In short, marketers have had to start being a lot more assistive.” Producing good content, having a dynamic social media presence, and making sure your practice shows up in Google results with lots of positive reviews are three strategies to capturing the mico-moment. Will your practice be the one a parent picks when she Googles “orthodontists near me”? Find out more about micro-moments and how they will affect your marketing here.

4) Engagement

You can’t just sit idly by waiting for the calls to come in. In 2018 you will need to be fully engaged with your current customers so they can evangelize your practice on social media and review sites like Google Business and Yelp. Being present on social so that you can respond to questions and comments goes a long way to humanizing your practice. It also lets potential clients know there is a real doctor behind the page who is knowledgeable and friendly. Social media is a powerful tool to communicate the value of your practice if done right. We have some ideas about how to engage patients on social media on our blog here.

5) Live Video

When Facebook first unveiled its live video feature, it didn’t make much of a splash as it was limited to celebrities and people with verified accounts. Media companies and marketers tried to figure out how to use it. Fast forward to today and live video streaming is available to everyone on the platform and it’s become a hot way to communicate on social. And it’s only going to get hotter in 2018.

It’s not just Facebook that has realized live video’s potential on social media. Now, SnapChat, Marco Polo and other many apps have come to develop their own versions of shared video on social networks. (For those keeping score, even before Facebook Live there was a live video service called Periscope that integrated with Twitter.) Videos on Facebook don’t have to be watched live either. When you’re done filming they’re archived on your page for later viewing just like any other post.

Live video is easy and fun thanks to integration right in the Facebook mobile app. Just go to your page and start filming your patients with their new smiles, having fun in your office around the holidays, or finding out they just won a prize in one of your contests. Click here for a simple and easy intro on how to jump into the live video frenzy from Facebook.

Are you ready to take your marketing into the future? Contact People & Practice today!

Presentation: Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working

You can view our presentation from our December 7th AAO webinar, “Why Your Digital Marketing Isn’t Working by clicking below. If you want to take your practice to the next level, schedule a free marketing analysis with Dr. Leon Klempner today by clicking here.