The Dynamics of Social Media Marketing

By Livvie Matthews

There is a new, rapidly expanding revolution sweeping businesses worldwide. New technology and the economy is forcing major changes in marketing strategies. As a result, businesses are racing to shift gears from their strategies of days gone by, to today’s more competitive strategy of “word of mouth marketing”, also known as relationship marketing.

So what does this have to do with the dental profession? Or maybe you’re thinking, “How does this apply to my practice. We aren’t into “mass marketing”. You might even be saying, “We’re not even a ‘business’.”

Whenever there has been a change in the business world it has always affected the professional world, since both worlds have the same base….people (customers/patients). Without people….there is no business or profession and with today’s economy and accelerating challenges facing doctors and staff members daily, the dental profession has definitely become a “business”….a BIG business.

Dentistry has never experienced such a bombardment of progressive changes as just within the last five years. Cosmetic enhancements…Veneers, Bonding, Bleaching…were almost unheard of a little as ten years ago. Implants, which were rarely mentioned then, are common place today!

Competition in the dental profession has never been stronger and with no end in site. Fee-for-services vs managed care vs patient addition/retention vs practice profitability…. PPO, DMO, PDO, traditional insurance…and the list goes on and on.

Problem -Most critical challenge facing practices today: How do you market new patients, retain patients of record (with all the outside influences), increase treatment enrollment, and decrease expenses, while building a profitable practice?

Solution: Social Media Marketing (word of mouth advertising on steroids!) Social Media is using online communities such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and even your blog, for increasing your practice exposure, building relationships, and ultimately creates an incredible opportunity to be responsive to your market and allow your patients to know how much you care. Because patients don’t care how much you know…until they know how much you care!

Businesses have found out Social Media Marketing is THE way to market and brand their business. Because “word of mouth” advertising (as we’ve preached for years) has always been – and will always be – the best form of advertising.

The primary objective of Social Media Marketing is a bridge that gives you access to people, information, and even companies that in the past, you didn’t have access to. It’s one-on-one contact in the best of forms, but at the same time you have the ability to reach hundreds, (even thousands) of people, and most of it’s….Free.

That’s what social media communities are all about… making contacts, gaining trust, and building relationships ultimately leading to more treatment acceptance and product sales.

It would be a mistake to pretend social media is totally free. Although joining the sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc are free, there is the time involved in maintaining the sites, whether in house or outsourced, especially when maintained well.

However when you consider the massive amount of money spent by practices on traditional advertising and marketing, yellow page ads, direct mail out’s that reach about 3%, at best 5% of the market mailed to (makes you wonder what happened to the other 95% of their investment). and magazine ads, then you factor in how many, or should we say how few, people are actually reached with traditional advertising, the cost of budgeting money for a ongoing social media presence pales in comparison.

Social media can bring your practice exposure and can bring in new patients, however, the real change only comes from within your own practice, implemented by you and your staff through social media and patient interactivity, acting upon the belief that your individual patients are the number one, most important asset your practice has……because they are!

Would you like to learn more about using Social Media to increase your visibility, build profitable relationships, and grow your practice? Do you need a motivational Social Media speaker at your next Event? Livvie Matthews, a Certified Social Media Specialist and Speaker, is passionate about Social Media and what it can do for your business! She is available for Teleseminars, Webinars, and live Events. Email Livvie@writebusiness.net with your questions and – or your requests. Visit http://www.writebusiness.net/blog

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