MGE’s weekly webletter, Issue 52.
Social Media and Dental Marketing
By William Tucker, CEO, Flowline L.L.C.
We have all heard about Social Media and how it’s changing the world of marketing. But is this really true?
To say that marketing has completely changed is actually misleading. Marketing principles on the use of surveys, buttons, marketing message, etc., have not changed a single bit. Only the method used to reach one’s public has changed. It is now possible to reach large numbers of public at only a fraction of the cost, providing you use the right tools and the right strategy.
The effectiveness of a promotional piece – whether in print, paper, postcard or digital format – is still going to depend on whether or not you apply basic marketing principles. More information on basic marketing principles can be found on the MGE New Patient Workshop – a truly essential course for any doctor who wishes to expand their patient base. (If you have not already done this course, call (727) 530-4277 or click here to learn more.)
In this webletter I will analyze the usefulness of Social Media and cover some vital information that, if correctly applied, has the potential to vastly increase your reach to your target demographic.
As a business owner, you are probably bombarded with emails from marketing agencies about the latest way to “Leverage Social Media,” “Rank Number 1 in Google,” “Get a Twitter Account,” etc. I know I certainly do; every week I get at least three emails informing me I can be “number one on Google” (and I do internet marketing for a living!).
Getting hit with these promises from every angle, it’s hard to know what to believe or where to start. So I’ll go over some essential concepts you need to know to get started in Social Media marketing:
Facebook is Google’s Biggest Competitor!
Yes, you read it right: Facebook is Google’s biggest competitor – and their biggest threat. How so? First, a little about Google…
Google is currently the search engine giant. They generally rule the world of search results. Being number one on Google for your local keywords (maybe “Dentist New York,” for example) may get lots of traffic to your website. This can, however, be quite costly, and you are going to run into a fair amount of competition at times. Nonetheless, ranking number one for such a keyword is often worth it.
Facebook, however, gets around search results by reaching people through their friends and contacts, and this is what social media is all about–reaching people through friends and contacts. Facebook is the absolute king of Social Media.
In case there was any doubt about that fact, here are some statistics about Facebook that you may find interesting:
- Facebook is the largest and fastest growing social network on the planet.
- The biggest demographic on Facebook is not teenagers, but men and women between the ages of 35 and 50.
- Men and women between the ages of 35 and 50 is also still the fastest growing demographic.
- As of this writing, Facebook has over 800 million active users.
- Out of the 800 million active users, at least 400 million log onto Facebook once a day.
- More than 350 million Facebook users use Facebook on their mobile device.
- The average Facebook user spends 46 minutes per day on Facebook.
- The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
As you can see, Facebook’s user base is huge! And, out of its user base, the average target demographic of GPs (men and women between the ages of 35 and 50) is its largest group of users.
How to Tap into Facebook
Contrary to what many people think, the way to tap into Facebook as a resource is not through the use of your personal profile. You want to keep your personal profile separate from that of your business. Marketing should not be mixed in with your personal life. Your family and close friends can, of course, “Like” your business on Facebook, but let’s face it, not every client is a close enough “friend” that you’ll want to share your personal updates and information with him.
The correct way to promote your business or dental office is through a “Fan Page.”
Why a Facebook Fan Page?
For business purposes, Fan Pages have several advantages over personal Facebook profiles.
One of the major advantages is that it is extremely easy for a person to become a fan. All they have to do is to “Like” your page. Another reason is that a fan page can have an unlimited amount of fans, whereas a personal Facebook profile is limited to 5000 friends.
When a person “Likes” your fan page, his own Facebook connections will be able to see that he or she did so.
Since the average Facebook user has 130 friends, we get the following formula: “Number of Likes” X 130 = Potential Reach.
This means that 10 Likes gives you a potential exposure to 1300 people, 100 Likes gives you a potential reach to 13,000 people, 1000 Likes…well, that’s a lot!
Facebook makes it easy to get a fan page started off with “Likes” by allowing you to import up to 5000 email addresses and send to them invites to “Like your Fan Page.” This is an ideal way to jumpstart your Facebook presence, since many of their friends will be local people, as well, and part of your target market.
Once a person has “Liked” your page, they will be notified whenever you post an update on your Fan Page wall. If they “Like” or comment on your update, all of their friends are notified that they did so. So, let’s say you post a “special offer” on your Fan Page and 10 people like it; you have now potentially reached 1300 people. It costs you nothing.
Of course, you have to build your Fan Page and get people to “Like” it, and there is some work involved in this. But once you have it going, you have a marketing machine. At this point, we are back to standard marketing basics, and we are using Facebook as the medium to get your message out. These messages should consist of helpful and interesting information (the subject of which depends on your surveys) that will attract people to read more, warm and friendly communication, updates and news about your office, and great special offers.
A few more benefits of Facebook:
- Low cost setup
a) You do not need to pay for a website.
b) You do not need software.
- Due to the social set up of Facebook, such shared information as photos, videos, links, websites, or any content added to Facebook can very easily “go viral” (which means to become extremely popular by people sharing it with each other via the internet), if well thought-out and correctly used.
- A good Facebook campaign will get your fans or clients to promote your business for you. It almost seems like it was designed to facilitate referrals.
- You can add audio, video, and all sorts of links into your fan page to get your message across in interesting and convenient ways. It’s the ideal way to start a viral campaign for your business.
- Fan Pages have additional features that your personal Facebook profile do not have. As an example, you or your web designer can have control over the function and look of the page. You can add anything you could publish on a website – right there on your Facebook Page. In other words, it is possible for a coder to create a Facebook Page with a unique design and all the functionality of your existing website. You are not limited to Facebook’s features.
As you are probably starting to realize by now, Facebook is more than just a social network. It is a powerful marketing platform from which you can rapidly increase your client base.
William Tucker provides this general dental practice management advice to furnish you with suggestions of actions that have been shown to have potential to help you improve your practice. Neither MGE nor William Tucker may be held liable for adverse actions resulting from your implementation of these suggestions, which are provided only as examples of topics covered by the MGE program.