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Social Media Marketing in Dentistry – An Extension of Referral Marketing

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It’s all about relationships.  The most successful dentists and teams know that patient relations are paramount when it comes to referrals and good case acceptance.  For years, I’ve touted the fact that referral marketing is the best way to market a practice.  Today, despite all the improvements in technology and all the wonderful social media outlets, referral marketing is still king…RitaZPhotoImage2

So why then would I even recommend social media marketing for dentists, when I know how great word-of-mouth and referral marketing performs?  Social media could simply be seen as an extension of referral marketing.  In other words, if a practice is already exercising excellent patient care, communication and follow up, they are more than likely receiving a great number of referrals. It is just this type of practice that could find social media community a successful extension of their existing relationship-focused marketing philosophy.

To clarify, social media is not a good tool for every practice.  For a practice that is focused on “quantity”, has less than ideal chair-side skills and finds relationship-building an unnecessary toil, social media would not likely be beneficial.  Some things never change… referral and word-of-mouth marketing are still the most important foundation of any successful practice.  Likewise, good relationship skills are a must-have in order for social media tools to be beneficial for a practice.

Good people skills are beneficial in person and online.  Practices who struggle with patient relations in person, may find more problems than they bargain for in online communities… Today, it is more important than ever for teams and practices to assess their patient relation skills- before any type of marketing strategies or tools are implemented.

Again, to clarify, social media is not an end-all marketing solution for everyone.  Begin internally first, assess your client care, communication and case acceptance.  Then determine if it is a natural and authentic extension of yourself, and your practice, to participate in social media.  If you genuinely care, love what you do and it shows, patients will trust and believe in you- whether in person or online.

What are your thoughts?

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