30 Sep More than a Newsletter: How to effectively use social media to retain current patients
Don’t get us wrong, we love a good newsletter. In fact, we produce one just about every month for our current clients with the latest online dental marketing tips and trends. If that’s something you’d also like to receive, just click here. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can move on.
We believe newsletters can be a great way to update your current patients about your practice and connect with them as a marketing piece. As we said in a recent blog post, retaining your current patients is almost always a productive marketing strategy. Why? Happy patients refer their friends and family and according to a recent study by the Wharton School of Business, referrals have a 16% higher lifetime value than someone who chooses to schedule appointments with your practice on their own.
But as you may have noticed, newsletters can be time intensive to create and mailing costs will just continue to go up. What else can you do to effectively market to your current patient base? We say try social media! Social media marketing isn’t just for acquiring new clients. If purposefully used, it can be a great patient retention strategy as well. Here’s how:
We can’t say it enough, a strong social media presence is just so important today, especially for internal marketing. In fact, a recent Forbes article listing the top social media trends that will dominate 2014, says that investment in social media will become a necessity, not a luxury. While you may be thinking, “What in the world could a dentist say to patients on Facebook or Google+ that is exciting and engaging to my current patients?” We say, “A lot, actually!” Our social media team recommends a mix of 80% fun and 20% clinical content and if done right, can be the BEST way to engage with your current patients. Here are some ideas:
- Offer Exclusive Promotions or Contests – 58% of Facebook users expect offers, events or promotions when they become fans of your page. So don’t disappoint them! The key to patient retention is making them feel special and well-taken care of, so offer specials and promotions to ONLY your current patients on your Facebook page. TIP: Want to engage your patients AND help your online marketing SEO? Run the promotion through Facebook and use “likes” as a voting mechanism. You can read more about how to do that here.
- Feature Current Patients – Image-heavy social media pages always fare best for engagement. People like to see photos of people, plain and simple. So, there is NO better way to make a current patient feel special than featuring them as a “star” patient on your Facebook page. Want to take it up a notch? Include the dentist in the photo and make it funny! Silly faces count.
- Social Media Referrals – Your social media fans (which are usually your current patients) are beginning to refer new patients within the confines of the social media space. In fact, recent studies are showing that referral programs with incentives fare better when shared on sites like Facebook, as opposed to more traditional methods like door hangers or postal mail. Additionally, Facebook’s new feature, Graph Search is an internalized Facebook referral source that lets potential patients search for dentists their friends have “liked.” We wrote an article about that here.
The possibilities of social media are endless and as many online marketing experts are predicting, will only become more important to the success of your online marketing, both external and internal. So, before you start planning that patient newsletter, consider a comprehensive social media strategy instead. It may do wonders for your internal patient marketing engagement.
For more information about our social media programs for dentists and dental specialists, click here.