Dentists don’t learn much about marketing in dental school. You may even feel overwhelmed by all the things that have to be done when opening a scratch practice or transitioning into practice ownership.
There’s a hierarchy to online marketing. You need to:
- Choose a practice name and tagline; make sure it’s not being used by another dentist in your area
- Get a logo designed; makes sure it doesn’t resemble another dentist’s logo in your area
- Design and launch a search engine optimized website*
- Create a Google Business profile
The PRIMARY GOAL of all this work is to GET MORE PATIENTS.
The SUPPORTING GOALS to meet the PRIMARY GOAL are:
- Rank on page one for researched keywords
- Rank in google snippets, cards
- Hook up and review Google Analytics and Search Console data monthly
- Develop a content marketing plan and calendar for SEO
- Determine how to improve your site to rank higher and for more keywords
- Blog weekly or more often (1200+ original words of original content is ideal)
- Strategically update webpages and blogs to improve their ranking
- Set up, manage, and participate in social media accounts
- Post weekly or more often to social media accounts
- Make videos and use them on your site and social media
- Ask patients for online reviews at Google and Facebook
- Implement email funnels on your website
- Submit original articles to third-party sites for backlinks
- Acquire good reviews on Google Business (put a plan in place, run a contest for employees)
- Set up and engage in social media
- Create a posting calendar
- Post blogs to platforms
FAQs About Social Media Marketing for Dentists
Is social media worth it?
Social media won’t directly get you a ton of new patients. However, it can help your overall Google credits and keep you in front of current patients between visits, so they’ll be less likely to try a new dentist for a six-month checkup and cleaning.
What’s meant by “Google credits”?
Your website is just one part, granted it’s the main part, of your online presence. Google Reviews, backlinks from other websites, and pretty much anywhere you’re mentioned online factor into your overall authority on Google.
With the EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) and YMYL (your money, your life) updates, Google became even more invested in making sure businesses and individuals who market or sell goods online are who they say they are, and that they have a good reputation.
Businesses and individuals who don’t stand up to the new guidelines should rank lower than those in good standing. However, in traditional Google fashion, there’s no measuring stick. So, when a marketer talks about “Google credits,” we’re referring to your authority and reputation with Google.
Which social media platforms are best for dentists?
In my opinion, Facebook is the first and most basic level of social media marketing for dental offices. You need a Facebook business page, which has to be developed by a Facebook account holder. This means the person who sets up the business account will be the owner of the account.
However, just because you have access to your business account through logging in with your personal account, doesn’t mean that people who like your business page will see all of your personal posts. On the contrary, only posts you make in the business name, on the business account will be seen by those who like your page – unless you share those posts to your personal newsfeed.
All dentists who advertise online need a Facebook account. The business name and address should be identical on the Facebook business page with what’s listed on both your Google Business page and your website. It’s important to streamline the way your name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear in listings so that Google can connect the properties to your authority and reputation.
Do dentists really need Twitter?
No. The only way Twitter works well for dentists is if they post multiple times per day and interact with others regularly. Most dentists will not do this. Even if they do, I personally don’t think it’s a big help to the primary goal: GET MORE PATIENTS.
Do dentists really need LinkedIn?
LinkedIn can actually be a great marketing opportunity for dentists if, that’s IF, they get a lot of business from referrals. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, LinkedIn is a professional (not personal) networking platform. An oral surgeon would do well on LinkedIn if she followed and was followed by a number of referring dentists and physicians.
Making an article post on LinkedIn and sharing it to some of LI’s professional groups can boost visibility within the platform. You may also want to watch your news feed and comment on or engage with posts by others.
Do dentists really need Instagram?
So here’s the deal: Facebook bought Instagram. The way the two platforms are connected is still to be determined. All the kids at Facebook seem to be working on a dashboard from which one can manage posts on both platforms. It hasn’t rolled out yet.
Instagram, like Pinterest, is an image-based social platform. However, people tend to share videos on Instagram more so than on Pinterest. I’ve not seen a dentist gain much ground of Instagram, but it can’t hurt to have an account and post to it, if you have time or your social media marketing firm offers Instagram posts at no additional fee.
Do dentists really need Pinterest?
Like Instagram, no. The audience on Pinterest, mainly women ages 25-55, is ideal for dentists. However, information about dentistry in itself isn’t something that people want to share and refer to.
On Pinterest, people share ideas – about fashion, home décor, crafts, sports, and other topics. A user pins the posts she likes to categorized boards (think bulletin boards). No one I know would have a dentistry board and go back to learn how to floss properly or read tips on what to expect after root canal therapy. Sure, you can post these things, but you won’t get much engagement.
On the other hand, businesses that sell products can do quite well on Pinterest, as can business consultants and advisers.
Do dentists really need YouTube?
Yes. Google owns YouTube. It’s the foundation for online videos. If you want to add a video to your WordPress website, the best approach is uploading to YouTube and inserting the video URL into the website. It’ll show up on the site, but the video will be hosted on YouTube, at no cost to you.
Do dentists really need to make videos?
Video is an untapped resource for dentists, mainly because most dentists don’t want to make a video. They don’t like their voice or how they look on screen, so they shy away. Don’t do it.
Make videos! There should be one on every page of your website, with you or a team member explaining what’s on the page.
What should dentists make videos about?
A tour of your office, patient testimonials, and meet-the-team bios are excellent ways to use video for marketing your practice. Once uploaded to your YouTube business page, each video needs a transcript and keywords, so Google will rank it in search.
You Cannot Do This Alone
Whether you’re choosing a name for your dental office, building a website, or stepping into social media circles, a working dentist cannot do all the online marketing alone. There are simply not enough hours in the day. However, you need someone you can reach at any time, and someone who has the authority and knowledge to answer your questions quickly – so you can focus on patient care and running your office(s).
I’m Shauna Duty, the owner of Identiwrite Creative. My company is a dental marketing and SEO firm that focuses on copywriting and content management. We also build and manage WordPress websites for dentists across the US and abroad.
Best of all, you have my cell phone number: 940-395-5115. I own the company, and I answer my phone. If you’d like to discuss how Identiwrite Creative can support your online marketing efforts or take the reins for you, give me a call.
*Dentist Website Design and Development
I strongly urge dentists to use a customizable WordPress template when designing a website. Choose an experienced web designer who listens to what you like and dislike about various websites. During a phone interview, the designer or consultant should ask a series of questions about the colors, layout, and functionality you prefer.
WordPress has a WYSIWYG, pronounced wizzy wig, dashboard. The acronym stands for “what you see is what you get.” This means, virtually anyone can quickly learn how to use the admin panel of a site to alter text, images, plugins, and more.
By choosing a WordPress theme, your website design and backend admin panel will belong to you, not the web development company. In some cases, dental marketing companies sell the use of proprietary templates, which means that you, the customer, won’t be able to take the website with you when you leave the marketing company.
Similarly, the content, or text, needs to be original. Some companies upload a proprietary library of articles for service pages. Not only are the articles found on many websites, which Google does not appreciate or reward, but they belong to the development company, not the purchaser (you). So, when you go, you can’t take the copy with you.
Best idea? A customized WordPress template and original, optimized content. This way, you’ll truly own your website and its contents. You’ll be able to sell the website as a valuable asset should you ever sell your practice!