What is the main reason you got on board with social media? Social media has mainly been seen as a marketing tool – a way to attract new patients. However, social media plays a much more important role for practices.
Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, said, “The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years.” That statement may have seemed extreme a few years ago, yet new research is beginning to support it. Consider this:
• 70% of Americans now say they look at reviews before making a purchase.
• 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
• 92% of respondents said they had more confidence in information they seek out online than anything coming from a salesclerk or other source.
• The average number of resources consumers reference before making a purchase continues to grow; in fact it doubled from 2010 (5.2) to 2011 (10.4).
• Beyond websites, people vet businesses on Facebook, Google, various review sites, YouTube and via their online personal network.
Studies show that people are increasing the amount of research they do before making buying decisions – for all types of products and services, dentistry and healthcare included.
Social media plays a critical role in allowing your practice to appear “believable” during this research process. Does your practice live up to the pristine image your website portrays?
Social media tells the truth. Without a social media presence, you are leaving the door to speculation wide open. Speculation is scary and time consuming for patients – and dangerous for your practice. People want to know everything they possibly can before making an appointment or accepting your treatment plan.
We need to stop questioning the ROI of social media and its ability to bring in new patients. Rather, start embracing the fact that social media is helping your practice to remain a viable (believable) practice that will still be in practice in 5 years.