All dental marketing efforts are built on the bottom line question: “How will this help my practice be more profitable?” In the social media marketing space, new tools and trends allow us to show ROI more accurately than ever.
Social media return on investment is one of the most heavily debated topics in the marketing world. For dental practices, social media marketing deals with many aspects of the business that aren’t easily quantified — goodwill, top-of-mind awareness, patient relationships — and figuring out exactly how much revenue you can attribute to these is a vague science at best.
However, there are other returns that you can absolutely attribute to your social media, especially now that platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made powerful analytics tools available to the average user. With a little team training, you can easily see precisely how your online efforts are contributing to building your online presence and bringing in new patients.
There are two sides to thinking about social media ROI: first, the belief that even if the numbers aren’t definite, building your brand and strengthening patient relationships online will lead to a more profitable practice through higher visibility, word-of-mouth, and better patient retention.
And second, that if your team puts in the effort to track it, you can measure exactly how social media marketing leads to more Likes and shares, more referrals, more positive reviews and more new patients.
And the advertising world believes in spending on social media. In 2016, an eMarketer study reported that U.S. companies’ social media spending (approximately $72 billion) had surpassed television ad spending, with no sign of slowing down.
An online presence is something that potential patients expect you to have, as necessary as a phone number. And it will only become more important as an increasing percentage of people first turn to social media and search engines to research their dental care options.
Take Account of What You CAN Measure
Seeing exactly how your social media contributes to practice growth will take a little effort on the part of your team. Here are the three main things you should be doing to measure social media ROI:
1. Learn the analytics tools. For each social media platform your practice is on, become familiar with how to track the engagement your posts are getting. Start by learning how to use Facebook Insights.
2. Train your team to ask patients how they found you. Make sure Facebook, Instagram, and Google Reviews are available answers for “How did you hear about us?” on your new patient intake form. If someone says an existing patient introduced them, ask them if it was because the patient shared one of your social media posts.
3. Invest in content promotion, and keep track of the costs. Because organic reach for business pages is now so limited (6.5 percent on Facebook according to some studies), most engagement with your posts can be attributed to how much money you put into their promotion. Once you’ve boosted a post, detailed analytics are available on exactly how much it costs to reach your target audience and how many people are clicking through to your pages.
Determining your social media ROI means assessing growth metrics such as Likes and referrals, as well as “intangibles” — things that aren’t easily quantified, but greatly impact new patient acquisition and retention. As you use social media to build your reach, reputation, goodwill and relationships, remember that the greatest return on investment of any dental marketing effort is a lifelong patient who is proud to introduce your practice to family and friends.
About the Author
Jackson Hadley is a marketing strategist with My Social Practice, which provides a complete social media marketing solution for dental, orthodontic and optometric practices. A public relations specialist, Jackson combines the advertising and trust-building aspects of social media to help businesses connect authentically with their communities.