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Everything Dental Blog – July 2013

Confidence Curve

I learned a new phrase from Dr. Gary Severance while attending a continuing education lecture recently. This phrase is now imbedded in my head and will be used frequently as I talk about change. The phrase is ominous and elegant. It describes the transitional period we have when we attempt something big or try to implement a new system or piece of equipment in our business. It is the adjustment period we need to master and get comfortable with our new initiative.  The phrase is “Confidence Curve” and it is the time it takes us (we are all different) to implement, integrate and manage change comfortably!

If you are like me and you’ve adapted to a smart phone or have had to learn new software program or are concerned about your child who’s about to move out on their own, then you are intimately aware of the anxiety you can experience during these transformational moments. Fortunately, the confidence curve and the anxiety dissipate with time and you are left with the new and it is generally a good thing. The phone allows you to conduct business on the go. The software program saves time and creates a more efficient environment and your child becomes autonomous and independent.

So, here’s to the doctors that took a leap of faith and contracted a practice management consultant or hired a marketing firm to help them grow their relevance. Congratulations to all the Drs. who acquired CadCam or bought a multi-purpose laser or invested in 3D imaging. In time, you will all benefit from these developments and you will improve your income as well! Your forward thinking and willingness to adapt to today’s standard of care will be rewarded over time. You will be seen as progressive to your peers and cutting edge to the community you serve.

Are you Social?

Several clients have asked me if it was necessary to have a dedicated staff member manage their social media and marketing efforts for the office. They all have a story about a friend that made a valiant, progressive marketing effort but fell short of their expectations and withdrew.

This is a good question but not so easy to answer. Before I give an honest answer I need to know some things about you (the leader) and the practice. How web savvy is your team? What is the culture and character of your office when it comes to delegation and trust? Do you currently use e-mail and text to confirm appointments? Do you have a FaceBook page and do you use Facebook personally? Are you an avid user of mobile technology? Do you use your phone to Google, search the web and text friends and family members?

O.K. my answer is yes you need a dedicated team member (can be part time) to manage your Facebook page, Demand Force account, to mine your demographic/perfect patient data, produce your ad copy and perform your media buys. The R.O.I. will cover the cost and the added revenue (new patient numbers) can make this a huge win for the practice. There are several social media service organizations that can help you get started or that can maintain your social media footprint but in my opinion, you or team member should be engaged and involved in this very important activity.

Now that I gave you my two cents I wanted to get the opinion of the #1 authority on the subject.

JULY_001Rita Zamora is arguably the best healthcare authority on social media. She is known both nationally and internationally for social media and relationship marketing.

So Rita – what’s the answer?

Question: How much time does my team member need to handle social media?

The answer depends on your individual practice situation.  Every practice is different and each practice has its own goals and marketing needs. The social media tools that may be ideal for one practice may not be well suited for another.

Consider for example, a general dentistry practice who is only involved with Facebook. In that case, one hour per week would probably be sufficient to maintain their Facebook business page.

On the other hand let’s say you are a large orthodontic practice and you have a presence on the following platforms: Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and a variety of online review sites. It wouldn’t be uncommon for this type of practice to also actively take a large number of photos to be used as content. Planning, shooting, and handling the photos alone can be time consuming. This type of practice scenario could require a part-time to full time position. Keep in mind that often internal social media marketers may also work as treatment coordinators or handle other marketing or patient relations types of responsibilities as well.

Remember that social media is not only for “marketing”, it’s also necessary and expected by many patients today. See Google’s commissioned study, ZeroMomentOfTruth.com (ZMOT) to learn how people’s research needs have evolved. ZMOT research shows consumers prefer a variety of information, much more than a website—information from online reviews and social media as well.

It’s important to consider the management of social media an important role in your practice. To determine how much time your team member needs to manage social media, think about what social media tools you are currently using—are those tools sufficiently meeting your needs? Once you know what your needs are and make a decision on which social media tools you will utilize, then you can best estimate how much time your team member will require.

Bio: Rita Zamora is an authority in social media marketing and training for dental professionals.  She and her team specialize in training clients for independence so they can manage social media themselves. Rita is a highly sought after speaker and is published frequently here in the US and Internationally. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing and is educational chair for the Academy of Dental Management Consultants.

In Closing

The book “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk taught me a great deal about social media and how businesses need to be responsible entities. It is not enough to perform a service or sell goods anymore, you must do more and it should be part of your culture.

Here is what I know to be true; likeability, believability and flexibility inspire trust and these attributes trump clinical expertise unless the patient sought you out for your skills. Most patients lack the dental clinical IQ to evaluate you on your clinical excellence and they assume that all dentists perform similar work and have similar skills!

By in large, most dental patients evaluate your practice by how they are treated not their treatment. They will grade you on factors like: waiting room appearance, the friendliness of your staff, the location/convenience of your office, the cleanliness of the waiting room and treatment rooms, if you run on schedule, the way the office answers the phone, if you have a knowledgeable and friendly insurance coordinator and what hours (nights and weekends) you offer.

Mid-Year Already!

As we enter the summer months, we are also mid-way through 2013. Have you given thought to your 2013 tax avoidance strategy? What capital equipment will you acquire before year end? Wouldn’t it be nice to integrate and use the technology this year?

Please speak to your accountant and determine your section 179 strategy now.

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Quote is the property of overshyness.com

I hope you find the Everything Dental Blog interesting and motivational. Our goal is simple. We want to help our friends and clients achieve their personal and professional goals.  Have a great summer!

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