Social Media Myths Exploded: 10 Beliefs That Are Costing You Referrals and Hurting Patient Retention
Much of what you’ve been told and believe about social media marketing is wrong. They are myths. I crushed them originally a few weeks ago on a webinar for the Dental Marketing Assistant University and I’ll do the same in this article:
Myth 1: My patients are not utilizing social media
2013 data from the Pew Internet project finds 72% of American adults who are online use social networking sites. (Note: 85% of American adults are online). Even among Americans 65 years old and better, 43.7% of them use social media.
If we put this statistic into context we’ll see that about 70.3% of American households had satellite or cable television, circa 2012. So, is it possible that YOUR existing patients (and the prospective new patients you’re targeting in a variety of niches) aren’t using social medial?
While the answer to that conceivably is yes, as they may not be using social for business. The likelihood is, however, that rapidly growing percentage of them are using social media in some capacity. The evidence is clear that your patients are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and platforms like Google+
Myth 2: The effectiveness of Social Media is not measurable
Social media can absolutely be measured (to the Nth degree), but first you have to do something that can be measured. There are numerous analytics that can answer that “are we generating new patient traffic and making money with this?” question but because of all the Dental Marketing “hype” that has been floating around the last several years, Dentists expect there to be a magic “social media measurement” button, even though there is no such button for radio, TV, email, direct mail, billboards, or fancy business cards. Analytics will give you a clear picture of the Dynamic Patient Journey – that is – “The complex cycle that your patients go through in order to make a decision” (A process that you MUST understand and manage along each “touch point” if you’re going to stay ahead of your competition.)
Myth 3: Social Media is Best-Used to generate new patient traffic
Most of the people who you communicate with in social media are your current patients. Research from DDB found that 84% of the fans of company Facebook pages are – on average – current or former customers of the brand.
Of course they are. We “like” what we actually like. Recognize that in social media you are primarily preaching to the choir. And to me, that makes social a strong patient loyalty and retention platform (which can and does generate quality referral traffic); but social media is not going to function as a platform for straight new patient acquisition apart from those who follow you. By combining social media with content marketing and other dental marketing strategies, however, it is possible to double your new patient traffic in 60-days.
Myth 4: You should ignore negative feedback on Social Media
Social media has undoubtedly become a huge spectator sport. It’s not about making the upset patient happy (although that would be nice) – it’s about making sure your practice is on record as listening and caring, because thousands of other prospective new patients are paying close attention. Answer every comment – positive or negative – and do it FAST.
Myth 5: If we use Social Media it will kill email campaigns
Given that anyone and everyone who uses a social media platform (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) must provide an email address in order to sign up, it’s tough to see a scenario by which email vanishes. In addition, when you consider that social media is functions primarily as a loyalty platform… that puts it (SM) in the same strategic camp as email. Both are used to keep your practice top-of-mind among patients who have given you permission to do so. Email and social media are complementary tactics, not oppositional ones.
Myth 6: Your business pages are your most important Social Media assets
Utter nonsense. Social media success is about people, not your practice. Do this: Add up the number of social media connections that your employees have and they will (almost always) exceed (by multiples) the connections for your official practice accounts. Activating your employees, decentralizing social media and implementing successful Facebook contests is the next phase in this process. There are numerous tools available that can help you manage this process.
Myth 8: Content Marketing and Social Media are separate initiatives
Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Use social to drive awareness of your content more so than awareness of your company. Like social and email, content marketing initiatives like blogging and social should be working VERY closely together.
Myth 9: Your content marketing should be about your practice, your services and products
Are your expensive brochures “content marketing?” If you’re like the majority of Dentists I get as new clients, your content marketing ends up being little more than a bunch of repackaged brochures. I believe that if your content isn’t delivering value to your patients and the prospective patients you’re trying to attract… if it can’t stand alone as something people actually WANT, you’re not thinking hard enough. For your content marketing to become a reliable source of quality new patient traffic, the “content” you put out has to be related to your practice, but isn’t 100% ABOUT your practice. This is where Growth Hacking Your Dental Practice can provide huge gains in your dental marketing ROI.
Myth 10: Too much content will give away your secrets
A beautiful office and expensive equipment doesn’t make someone a great Dentist.
What are your myths?
Be sure to visit the Dental Marketing Assistant University Page on our website where you’ll find the download link giving you FREE access to Module #1: Social Media Marketing Success
What did I miss? Drop a comment, and the ones I really like will get a copy of my Hiring System “Eliminate time wasted with unqualified applicants… And find, attract and hire the best, most-qualified employees for your Dental practice… every time” ($997.00 in our web store)