Now that you've been found online, how do you get patients to like you? And why would you want patients to like you -- does it really matter?
Some people might say having likes on your Facebook page, followers on Instagram, or connections on LinkedIn are nothing more than ego-builders or vanity data. In reality, quality likes or follows are valuable because these are either actual patients of yours, people who are interested in becoming patients, or supporters of your practice.
Quality followers are people who have decided they not only like you but also want to subscribe to updates from you. By liking, following, or connecting with you on social media, those patients are agreeing to keep your name and face in front of them on a consistent basis.
For social media-savvy patients, seeing a practice with a healthy number of likes (this number is different for every practice, but let's say 200 as a general number) and an active, engaged community provides social proof that you might be as awesome as you said you were on your website. Social proof of being liked is an invaluable puzzle piece in the patient conversion process. Studies have shown that potential patients often do extensive research when vetting dentists or specialists:
- They visit the practice website.
- They read online reviews.
- They watch videos.
- They check social networks.
Without social proof, you have a roadblock in patient conversion. The most dangerous and vulnerable place to be today is anonymous. In our society, potential patients with smartphones can research anything, anytime, anywhere; people do not want to guess what they can expect when they choose a practice. They want to know as much as possible, and part of reassuring them is showing how well-liked you are.
Make a good first impression
One of the first steps to being liked on social media is to make a good first impression and put your best foot forward. Allow patients who already know you to easily recognize your practice's social media by including your logo and photos of your team as well as the interior and exterior of your practice.
“Social proof of being liked is an invaluable puzzle piece in the patient conversion process.”
If your website's theme and branding colors are primarily blue and grey, make sure you also include blue and grey in your custom graphics or use a similar color scheme. This attention to detail will make for a congruent experience for both current and potential new patients.
When people land on your practice's social media, you have seconds to capture their attention and draw them in (remember, human attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish), and you have a better chance of accomplishing this with pictures of real people. Because photos are often a catalyst for emotional connection on social media, make sure you have plenty of images of you and your team in cover photos, profiles, or posts -- not stock photos, but photos of real people.
This doesn't mean you can't ever use stock photography; however, the majority of photos should be of your practice and team. Ideally, they should be current photos, unless you are posting a "Throwback Thursday" or "Way Back Wednesday." Remember, the best and most effective social media is rooted in authenticity.
What should we post?
This is where people often begin to ask, "What should we post on our social media?" The answer is to let your values guide you. Think about what is most important for you to convey about your brand. What is it that you want people to perceive or think of when they find your practice online? The marketing term for this is brand perception.
Do you want them to think you have a practice focused on excellence, technology, and philanthropy? Maybe you're a pediatric practice, and you want patients to think your practice is friendly, fun, and family-oriented. Perhaps your practice is focused on seeing adults for smile makeovers or for treatments related to overall health. Each focus requires a different set of objectives for your website and social media.
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a practice website that is meticulous and represents a luxury brand, only to visit the practice's social media and find it looks nothing like the website brand, with blurry images or tacky comics.
I tell my clients to choose three different adjectives that describe their ideal practice brand. These adjectives should reflect values that are important to you (the dentist or specialist owner) and reflect what you want people to perceive when they see you and your practice online.
Don't worry, everyone has a brand -- it's just that some people may not recognize it yet. If you think about it, we all have a set of values that drive our personal brand. For doctors, your personal brand will often be similar in your business. If you are someone who appreciates fitness or luxury or environmental awareness personally, chances are you aren't going to turn that part of your life off when you step into your practice.
Rita Zamora and her team provide customized social media marketing services and training for dentists and specialists. Learn more at RitaZamora.com. If you found this excerpt interesting, you can purchase the book for more tips, advice, insight, and special access to practical downloads. Use the code "DrB" and receive free shipping.
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