Home Practice ManagementMarketing Why Social Media Is The WORST Way To Get New Patients

Why Social Media Is The WORST Way To Get New Patients

by Graig Presti

“Social Media.” I say the words, and immediately the alarms go off in your head. WOOP! WOOP! “This will save my practice and bring me gobs of new patients!” Right? Truthfully, probably not.

It’s time to realize that social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), for all the glitz, glamour and media-fueled promises, is not the magic bullet for new patients that every “guru” makes it out to be. And there’s a very good reason for that.

By its very nature, social media is just that – a SOCIAL medium. It’s designed to have people talking and interacting…almost like you’re at a party or coffee shop. Picture it: you walk into the living room at a friend’s party. Most people are gabbing about the weather, showing off pictures of their kids’ T-ball game, or if we’re drawing a true parallel to social media, pulling up goofy cat videos on their phones.

So when you start yapping about how great of a dentist you are, how clean and modern your office is, blah blah blah, the person listening is immediately turned off. She is there to have fun and interact…not to be the butt end of a hard sales pitch. Swing and a miss.

So, you lighten the approach. Perhaps you gush about your hygienist’s beautiful new baby boy. Or, how you can’t stay away from that new frozen yogurt joint that opened up next door to your practice. Fun, relatable, chit-chatty topics, but not exactly a convincing nor motivating hard sell.

And, that is precisely why social media is NOT your ideal platform for lead generation. It’s a place that helps round out the picture of you, your team and your practice…not establish a strong first impression. That should be done elsewhere. And there’s no better place to do it than with Google reviews.

I’ve been in this space for over a decade, and I can unequivocally say that no single source is nearly as powerful as Google’s review platform.

Not Yelp. Not Foursquare. Not SquareGrades. There’s just simply nothing like Google reviews.

Why? Because it’s like fishing in the ocean. When you know how to correctly manage your Google presence (not your website!), you have an unlimited source of potential new patients with an honest and transparent method of reaching them…even if you’re in a small town.

After working with thousands of dentists all over the world, I’ve seen way too many take the wrong approach by putting their emphasis on social media first and put their “Google House”, including reviews on the back burner. They have it backwards. And their practice suffers (big time) as a result.

There’s another reason dentists should look at social media as simply a secondary marketing effort…Facebook, the supposed “king” of social, is bleeding.

Among data leaks, privacy concerns, the harvesting and abuse of users’ personal information, and Mark Zuckerberg’s publicly-televised crucifixion during his congressional testimony, this platform that once was king-of-the-hill is losing users left and right (and not replacing them). People no longer trust Facebook, despite its too-little-too-late declaration that it is putting users’ privacy above profits.

And, if we wind the clock back to the mid-2000s, we see a cautionary tale called “MySpace”. Everyone thought this revolutionary platform was going to be around forever. Even without Facebook’s data breaches and negative publicity, MySpace faded from memory. Facebook could be going the same direction in the near future.

So, are you going to waste your (and your staff’s) time, money and effort on a possible sinking ship? Or on Google; the most solid and trusted media outlet on the planet?

Investing your time in social media, without putting time and effort into a platform like Google and their reviews, is like having dessert without eating your vegetables, or building a house without a foundation. It’s an approach that, quite bluntly, won’t work.

Yes, Social Media has its place, and your team should be spending some time and VERY little money on it. It should be a fraction of the time that you spend marketing your practice elsewhere. And, before you spend any time or money on social, get your Google house (NOT YOUR WEBSITE) in order.

You’ll be surprised just how well this channel works in the ongoing quest for new patients.

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