How Dentists Can Get New Patients While Re-Engaging Old Ones: Effective Social Media Marketing as the New Word Of Mouth

November 8, 2017

The best performing dental practices acquire a new patient flow of 18 patients per month, per dentist.  But in the last three years, a majority of practitioners (52%) have a split answer of yes and no when asked whether they have increased patient numbers in the last 6 months.

Not only is new patient acquisition running stagnant, but most dentists are also severely underestimating the number of lapsed patients, which run up to 345 per dentist according to research by Software of Excellence.

With these alarming figures hurting dental practice’s potential for growth, more and more dentists are realizing the need to proactively attract and retain patients.

Current Dental Marketing Practices Are No Longer Making The Cut

Currently, most dental practices rely on 1) word of mouth to acquire new patients, 2) phone calls to follow up on patients and 3) social media to promote visibility online.

The only problems with these strategies respectively, is that word of mouth produces too few referrals in the time needed to meet the standards of best practices; phone calls are too costly, time-consuming and takes away from giving quality customer service; lastly, most practices merely use social media as a platform to announce to but not engage with potential and existing patients, thus failing to acquire new patients, and missing the opportunity to re-engage with lapsed patients.

Social Media Marketing As Word Of Mouth Marketing With A Megaphone

Dental practitioners who have seen a substantial increase in new patient numbers employ a mixture of online communication.

This should come as no surprise as 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Because social media is the natural extension of word of mouth referrals, dental practices should pay attention to how they can make noise about their practice and leverage satisfied patients on social media.

After all, a single person who posts about their experience at your dental clinic can reach over 500 of that patient’s friends. Once any of those friends check out your social media presence to learn about you, your page will need to have an active mix of engaging, entertaining, and informative posts to boost your likeability factor leading to that new patient appointment.

Creating Content That Catches Attention Of Potential and Lapsed Patients


1. Entertain

Put yourself in the shoes of a Facebook user, and ask yourself why you go on Facebook. Many people like yourself visit Facebook to be entertained.

This is why humorous posts are often liked, shared, and commented on by many people. Humorous posts are able to cut across the noise and are often thumb stoppers amid posts you continuously scroll over on your news feed.

2. Inform

Dental practitioners are in the best position to share informative dental news as people regard them as the experts and authorities on the field.

This balancing act of posting educational content amid entertainment is important to establish oneself not only as a likeable dentist practitioner but also someone who is serious about their practice and loves to share this knowledge with patients.

Educational videos on laser dental treatments or root canal procedures amazingly fetch around 3M views. This video on new veneers saw a reach of 22 million views.

Informative oral health posts that engage people open many opportunities for upselling services once you have caught their attention.

3. Post more videos

Facebook is currently favoring videos over other types of content like photos. Videos will, therefore, appear at the forefront of patients’ news feed. This means that the less videos you post, the fewer chances you are in reaching both new and old patients.

Dental practitioners will want to learn how to leverage videos in order to increase their visibility to patients.


4. Engage

Engagement doesn’t always begin and end in the digital space. Dental practitioners will benefit from creating an environment and an experience for patients within their clinics that they will want to share online.

Picture perfect social media signs in your clinic can grab the attention of satisfied customers, especially those with whom you have good relationships with, to interact with these signs and share them on their social media platforms. (CTA link to social media signs)

With an active and engaging social media presence, lapsed patients who take notice will proceed to follow your page. This makes it easy to run a re-activation campaign with these patients who are already aware of your practice and know who you are.

You’ll be able to stay in touch with these patients who follow you, and encourage repeat office visits when they see your posts. This active social presence will boost your top-of-mind awareness, and remind your current patients to refer you to potential new patients on their social media pages when the opportunity presents itself.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to joining the best performing dental practitioners in the country!

Have any questions or comments about this article? Let us know in the comments section!

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