The ROI of Social Media Marketing in Dentistry

There are a lot of ways that social media marketing for dentistry differs from other industries, but one of the central ideas that remains the same is that you always have to be looking for the best ways to track the effectiveness your marketing efforts. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when I often get the question, how do you measure the ROI of social media marketing in dentistry?

First, there are a lot of resources out there to help with measuring the effectiveness of your social efforts. The ROI of Social Media in Your Dental Practice is a free on-demand webinar I offer that takes an in-depth dive on this topic. You can also check out this webinar from my partner Adrian Lefler that outlines four key marketing goals for a dental practice and how you can measure social media’s influence on them.

1. Greater Retention
2. Increased Case Acceptance
3. New Patients
4. Added Practice Equity

In addition to the four ROI benefits listed above, since 2012–13 a remarkably important fifth ROI of social media marketing in dentistry has emerged. Prior to 2014, Google and other search engines paid little attention to social media activity as a factor in search algorithms. However, over the last couple of years that has dramatically changed. Search engines today greatly value social media activity in determining the relevance and appropriateness of search results. “Social Signals”, as they have come to be called, can greatly affect the SEO efforts of dental and dental specialty practices. More and more often, practices and doctors are seeing their Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, etc., showing up high on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Beyond the resources that My Social Practice provides, there are also a number of other resources on the web to help you define the ROI of social media marketing in dentistry. I spend a great deal of my time researching this topic for my MBA students that I teach. Over the last couple of years, two of the most helpful posts I’ve found have been: 5 Tools to Measure Social Media ROI from Social Media Examiner and The Delightfully Short Guide to Social Media ROI by Buffer Social. These posts help explain the ROI of social media marketing in general. There are also a lot of very sophisticated tools that can help with this objective. Some make sense for a small business, and some don’t.  I think the information in these two posts is also useful for dental practices, but the tools may be overkill.

Next, I think that one of the best ways to learn about the ROI of social media marketing in dentistry is to listen to practices that have been successful in achieving that. Sometimes that means a lot more than having us talk about the theory. Every month, we highlight a practice that is doing a great job being effective with their social media marketing in growing their practice. You can read about those practices here.

And finally, I think there is a “right brain / left brain” component to this whole discussion. Unfortunately, some people in the dental consultive arena cleve to the notion, “If I can’t show direct ROI, I can’t recommend the strategy.” Well… hello… this is marketing, baby! There are often no sure “best practices” or golden rules. I have yet, in all my experience consulting with both large and small businesses (including thousands of dental practices), to run into a business that would disagree with the statement: “Better relationships with customers (patients) inevitably leads to greater ROI.” With that in mind, it is important to take BOTH a right-brain and left-brain approach to social media ROI in a dental practice. People like doing business with people they know and like. Period. It has always been that way, and it will always be that way. Those who are too focused on left-brain thinking (i.e. “If I can’t prove that a Facebook post puts a patient in a chair then we aren’t doing it…”), will miss out on the tremendous value of becoming a “social business”.

Now, I don’t mean to sound cheeky… I recognize the importance of justifying where you spend your time and money. I am a small business owner too. But the bottom line is, if you don’t recognize the importance of stronger relationships with your patients, you don’t understand business—especially small business.

Social media is the core today of ALL digital marketing and to ignore it is shortsighted. One can hold out forever, demanding “proof” of the ROI of social media marketing in dentistry. Yet, those who understand how important it is in today’s marketing mix will quietly slip by them in building their relationships with both existing, and potential new, patients.