If you’re like many dentists, you’ve heard all the hoopla about Twitter,Facebook and other social media being essential to dental marketing.
Most dentists have yet to attempt using Twitter or Facebook to acquire new patients; a few have tried, only to be disappointed with the results.
Let’s examine in more detail the pros and cons of the platforms that “social media experts” claim you must have.
Can You Use Twitter & Facebook To Sell Stuff?
Millions of people are using Twitter & Facebook to hawk products and services. Whether successful or not, these marketers are attracted to the platforms due to their mainstream publicity and the promise of “fast money” online.
If you already have a Twitter profile, it’s a good bet you’ve seen just about every sort of advertisement — from “get rich fast” schemes and pornography, to self-help tutorials and software for gaining 1,000’s of new followers, a.k.a. “friends.” The casual observer might describe Twitter as a madhouse of disjointed opinions and marketing messages where little makes sense.
What Is The Purpose of Facebook & Twitter?
The keyword to understanding the intent of these communication channels is“social”, or the concept of socializing with friends, family and close associates. Thus “social media” is the interaction between like-minded people online.
Facebook is used primarily as a networking tool to locate similar interests for jobs and to find old high school buddies. Another attraction for both Twitter and Facebook users is the potential that maybe someday a well-known Hollywood celebrity or musician will actually answer or acknowledge you.
Social Etiquette for Dentists
Most proponents of Twitter & Facebook (who sell dentists marketing advice) appear to have little regard for socially acceptable behavior. These advocates suggest that you simply watch for mention of “dentist” (hopefully by people in your city), then inject yourself into their conversation — without an invitation.
You are being instructed to “burglarize” other people’s conversations. Imagine trying that in a real-life social setting. Inappropriate and rude, you risk making a nuisance of yourself and even driving patients away from your practice.
The big problem, the elephant in the living room which most fail to see — is that people just do not consider going to the dentist a “social event.” Fact is, people look for every possible reason to justify avoiding a trip to the dentist.
Twitter & Facebook Demographics
As of this writing, the median age of a Twitter user is 31 years old; nearly 20% of them are teenagers. The average age of Facebook users is 26. Over 76% of Twitter users connect with a mobile device. 75% of Facebook members are outside the USA. Current trend for both sites is a steady increase in the ratio of younger members.
For the most part, even though some search engines index “tweets”, unless the person is a member, or takes time to login, the prospective patient seeking a dentist on the Internet will discover that any relevant dialog concerning a dental practice — on either Twitter or Facebook — is inaccessible to them.
According to actual statistics, the dentist would be directing his message to a predominately younger demographic, one that is largely located outside the United States — and to those who use mobile devices for “tweeting.”
Any professional dental marketer can tell you that for best results, marketing should be directed to those demographics most likely to be interested in your offer — and to those people the dentist would prefer having as patients.