The McGill Advisory: How To Increase Your Reach On Social Media To Convert More New Patients

The McGill Advisory recently published our article in their monthly newsletter about how to use social media to increase your practice’s reach and convert more patients. You can read the full article below or log into your McGill account and read it on their website here.

One of the biggest growth opportunities for your practice is through active social media pages that engage current and potential patients with content that is current, creative, and shareable. Social media is proven to have a positive, measurable effect on new patient conversions. Researchers have found that people spend up to an hour every day on Facebook (an average of 53 minutes on Instagram) — influencing everything from how they vote to what local businesses they support.

To boost your exposure on social media and to reach more of the people you want to convert into new patients, you must implement strategies that will encourage current patients, as well as visitors, to share your content with their own network of friends and family who might be looking to join your practice. The big question is how do you get them to engage? Below, Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA*, founders of People & Practice, LLC outline a few simple strategies you can employ right now to increase your reach on social to convert more new patients.

Encourage Selfies

People love to post selfies. Almost every experience or milestone today is captured with a selfie to mark the occasion. Your practice should be encouraging selfies so patients can show off their beautiful smiles inside your office. Encourage patients to tag your practice when taking photos and make sure there are key locations around your office that strategically encourage selfie-taking, especially on big days like when braces go on or come off. When possible, an excellent location choice is one that shows your practice name or logo in the background. This way, the friends and family of the selfie-taker will see their improved smiles and know exactly where they got them. A picture on social media can be worth a thousand likes!

Create Shareable Content

Your social media content doesn’t have to be boring, nor should it be. Instead, make it fun. Use original content when possible, and spice up your posts with humor, history, or interesting educational or trivia items that patients will want to share with their friends and family. Always add an image to every post and keep them short and to the point. People tend to skim online when reading, so we recommend no more than 500 words per post—or, break up your posts into lists or small sections. The idea is to make everything bite sized so people can get to the point fast, “like” it, then share it on their own social media pages.

Provide a Call-to-Action

McGill Advisory Articles | Marketing: Internet/Website | November 2018

Patients should be directed to share after viewing your online content. Include a specific call to action at the end encouraging them to share. Use a service like ShareThis or AddThis on your Facebook, Instagram, and website posts. When you post on social media, always ask for likes and shares!

Engage with Active Patients

After you‘ve taken the steps above, you should start seeing patients come back more often to see what’s new. Make sure you engage with your most active users and tag them in posts. Empower a staff member to be your social media coordinator. Have them monitor your accounts for activity so when anyone comments on your page they can respond in a timely manner.

When a patient takes the time to tag your practice in a post (like a selfie), make sure you share it on your page, comment on it, and thank them. Social media is a two-way street. To be successful with social, you need to do much more than just post an occasional announcement. For the best results—make it interactive and make it fun!

* Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA are founders of People & Practice, LLC, a digital marketing firm exclusively for the dental profession. For more information and a free marketing analysis, contact them at 888.866.DOCS or email hello@pplpractice.com.

The McGill Advisory is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal or accounting advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Copyright © 2018 John K. McGill & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The above article was reprinted with permission from The McGill Advisory, a monthly newsletter with online resources devoted to tax, financial planning, investments, and practice management matters exclusively for dentists and specialists, published by John K. McGill & Company, Inc. (a member of The McGill & Hill Group, LLC). Visit www.mcgillhillgroup.com/newsletter or call 888.249.7537 for further information.

John K. McGill Publisher-The McGill Advisory

READ: Meet the New Disruptors: Millennials!

The New York State Dental Journal, the flagship publication of the New York State Dental Association published our article on marketing to Millennials. The article titled “Meet the New Disruptors: Millennials!” talks about how the dental profession needs to learn to market to a new generation of decision-makers.

There is a new generation of parents out there who are not as easily swayed by the traditional marketing mix. Millennials are fast becoming the most important demographic for your practice, and you need to know how they make decisions and where they can be reached. They’re technological natives, meaning they came of age with the Internet at their fingertips and have always owned some sort of computerized device. And they are not only very comfortable with the latest in computer science, they also expect everyone else to be just as up-to-date as they are, even more so. To understand how to attract millennials as patients, we need to know who they are and what pushes their buttons, so to speak.

You can read the full article on page 11 of the magazine here (PDF).

READ McGill Advisory Article: Digital Marketing Strategies To Build Patient Trust

Effective digital marketing requires more than just a website and Facebook page. To build trust and increase new patient flow, you must also actively engage consumers online. Below we discuss how you can use digital media to convince potential patients that you’re the right practice for them.

Building trust with potential patients you’ve never met isn’t easy, but it can be done. Potential new patients are savvier than ever, researching practices on and offline before making a decision. Several factors contribute to their decision-making process including your website, online reviews, social media, positive comments, testimonials, a doctor’s referral, etc. All of these sources must convince them your practice is trustworthy and worth investing their time and money.

Where to Start: Building Your Online Reputation

Surveys show 90% of people read reviews before choosing a business. And most consumers read an average of 7 positive reviews before trusting that business—even with a strong star rating. Thus, your first priority should be garnering as many 5-star reviews as possible on Google and Facebook.

Since reviews of your practice carry so much weight, it’s vital to have some control over that information flow. One way to accomplish this is to capture authentic positive reviews in the office. A review capturing service will help boost positive reviews, and limit negative comments—“catching” them before the patient airs their grievances publicly. If a negative comment is posted on the web, you can defend it proactively by buffering it with positive feedback, making a single negative comment look like an outlier.

Next, add video testimonials from patients and/or referring doctors to your website. While written testimonials can be effective, video is much more powerful in building trust. Post these on your homepage and social media so they can be easily accessible with just one click.

Underscore Your Practice’s Unique Value

Authenticity translates into trust—a powerful motivator when making a purchase decision. So, always be authentic. Communicate your unique value to potential patients online with strong educational and interesting content.

Your content should educate them by answering their most frequently asked questions, show you’re an expert and clearly communicate your value over the competition. By using a blog and/or news section, you can organically attract patients to your website who are searching topics of interest. If they like what they read, they’ll follow you on social media and sign up for your email newsletter. Fun posts showing the personal side of your staff and patients, your community and charitable involvement, cool contests and informational content, all build confidence with potential new patients. So, when it’s time choose to a practice, you’re the one they’ll already know and trust!

Ensuring That If You Build It, They Will Come

Unfortunately, potential patients don’t always find you on their own and sometimes need a push. Facebook is arguably the most effective direct distribution channel for online content in the world. Their ads are highly targeted, allowing you to focus on a particular geographic area, age group, or interest category, so they reach the potential patients most likely to respond.

Carefully crafted original educational content is easily converted into ads that will move potential patients from Facebook or Instagram to your website with just one click. This strategy captures attention and creates awareness.

When writing online content, use a natural, friendly tone, as if you are speaking to the patient chairside. Also, make sure that photos and captions are posted by someone familiar with your practice culture to maintain authenticity. Otherwise, potential patients may unfollow you on social media if the posts don’t feel authentic.

Making Social Media Work for You

The primary benefit of social media is its social aspect—the sharing of information and content between your practice, patients, and potential new patients. Social media invites conversation. Everyone becomes part of the marketing process when engaging on Facebook and Instagram, thus exposing your practice to their entire network of online friends and family.

Social media is an integral part of digital marketing and building patient trust. Never let your online presence go stale. Rather, keep it fresh and authentic. Have a key staffer regularly update your website, Facebook and Instagram pages, and your Google Business listing. Remember, active engagement is key.

Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, MBA are founders of People & Practice, LLC, a digital marketing firm exclusively for the dental profession. For more information and a free marketing analysis, contact them at 888.866.DOCS or email hello@pplpractice.com.

 

The above article was reprinted with permission from The McGill Advisory, a monthly newsletter with online
resources devoted to tax, financial planning, investments, and practice management matters exclusively for
dentists and specialists, published by John K. McGill & Company, Inc. (a member of The McGill & Hill Group,
LLC). Visit www.mcgillhillgroup.com/newsletter or call 888.249.7537 for further information.

John K. McGill
Publisher-The McGill Advisory

The McGill Advisory is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal or accounting advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Copyright © 2018 John K. McGill & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Marketing Strategies for a Successful Orthodontic Practice

The right mix can create a marketing masterpiece for your orthodontic practice.

We speak with orthodontists all the time who bemoan the loss of their tried and true referral sources and feel like they are facing the abyss when thinking that the only way to survive is by slashing fees. This is simply not the case. People and Practice has proven that, with the right mix of marketing online, a practice can not only survive it can thrive. You do not have to give up on the high value of service you have been providing to your patients. Your reputation does not have to take a hit in order to bring in new clients. What you need to do is make sure you are communicating why you are worth paying more for and connecting that message to the right customers. That’s where People and Practice excels. We know how to put together a marketing plan that will produce more patient conversions.

Social media leads to patient starts

It’s not just “nice” to have a social media page it’s essential. Studies have found that in the orthodontic industry one of the biggest opportunities for growth has been through social media. It has become one of the most common marketing strategies among practices and reports have shown that social media had a positive effect on new patient starts.

In a survey conducted by the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, 94% of respondents say that they have established a company page on Facebook to support their practice. Among the types of advertising orthodontic practice owners say that they have stopped using are Yellow page advertising, newspaper ads and direct mail – no surprise there. The question is, do you know how to replace these older forms of advertising with a more dynamic and interactive marketing channel like Facebook?

At People and Practice we work with each individual office and optimize a Facebook page to hit the right audience through interactive and shareable content. We support that effort with advertising that is targeted to reach a specific audience in your geographic region – people who are within driving distance of your practice.

Reviews are essential to converting customers

A potential patient won’t even think about calling your office unless they see positive reviews on Google, Facebook or other review sites and they want to see a lot of them. More than half of consumers that were surveyed said that a businesses rating was the most important factor in deciding where to go. The number of reviews was the second biggest factor in decision-making. Not only that, the number of consumers who want to see business responding to reviews is on the rise. And guess what? You cannot rest on your laurels because only 4% of consumers said that they pay any attention to reviews that had been submitted over a year ago.

People and Practice has a proprietary system to consistently capture positive, starred reviews and encourage patients to post them on Google Business and other social media websites. On the flip-side, we are able to head off negative reviews and address concerns before they are posted online.

Content is key to building trust

Trust is has always been an integral part of the transaction. That used to come from personal referrals and trusted centers of influence (dental offices) sending their patients your way. As the business of orthodontics changes we need to adapt to survive. Dentist are offering orthodontic services in-house, Dental Service Organizations are pounding potential clients by advertising low fees and quick turnaround, and mail order orthodontics – it’s a thing now. A practice has to cut through the clutter to communicate its value and build trust in a patient before they even walk in the door. The way to do that is by crafting educational content that positions you as an expert in the field of orthodontics and posts that show the value you and your staff bring to a patient’s experience in your office.

All good things deserve a boost

The greatest content in the world means nothing if no one sees it. Facebook and Google allow targeted advertising to show up in front of the specific audience you want to convert. We these powerful marketing tools to create and audience segment that is centered geographically in your office’s neighborhood and who are primed and ready to interact with the content we help create for you. Before they even walk in the door they have build up trust in your practice because we have served up useful, educational content the is relevant to them, giving them the tools to decide on their own if yours is the practice they want to bring their kids to.

If we build it they will click

People and Practice takes a multi-channel approach to marketing for orthodontic practices. Each strategy will work on its own but we believe that our marketing program is much more than the sum of its parts. By encouraging current patients to share posts about your practice on social media, making sure positive, starred reviews show up online about your office, crafting educational content, and making sure the right people are seeing that content when they need the information the most, we help you put more patients into chairs at your practice.

Want to learn more about putting the power of our marketing program in place for your orthodontist practice? Get a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Social Media: Your Orthodontic Office’s Digital Welcome Mat

If you don’t think you need a social media page for your orthodontic practice, think again!

Many young parents will research a company on social media before they go anywhere else. They will not search on Google or ever visit your website. They go right to their favorite social media page and start looking to see if you show up doing as much research as possible to find out what kind of practice you run.

If you do not have a vibrant presence on social media then you might as well not exist to an up-and-coming demographic of parents looking for braces for their kids. That’s why you need to roll out the welcome mat on social media and ensure that you list all of your vital information like business hours, contact info, and a button to click if they want to get in touch with you directly. Your Facebook page will allow you to put all this information onto your business page so you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of it and keep the info up to date. (There’s nothing worse than calling a business during its published hours of operation and finding out they’re not open.)

Social media page has gone from superfluous to a super important. Even serving as your first point of contact with your next generation of patients. A social media presence is just as important as having a website and can contribute just as much to patient conversion.

Of course, starting a social media account alone isn’t enough. You must maintain it with a constant flow of engaging content that encourages patients to share with their friends who might be potential clients.

Without a social media page that is enhanced and engaging, you might as well be hanging up a “No Trespassing” sign on your door. You want to dress up your page so that people want to hang around and find out more about your practice.

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.

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.

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.

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.