Social Media’s Impact on Internet Trends

Your practice’s website isn’t BuzzFeed or Huffington Post and it never will be, nor should it.

But you can learn from what these Internet giants are doing and apply it to your own online strategy.

Consider an interesting fact about Buzzfeed, the “click bait” king of online content:

It draws a healthy 200 million unique visitors to its site every month. Not too shabby!

But it gets over 18 billion impressions to its content via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

To put those numbers in context, Buzzfeed gets 90 times more impressions from social media than it gets to its main site. And Buzzfeed doesn’t seem to mind.

What does it mean in the context of dental practices?

When the world’s biggest online content websites are more than happy to meet their viewers where they already are (on social media) it means everyone with an online presence should consider following suit, and start focusing on social media as well.

Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter and Pinterest, account for the lion’s share of our truly valuable attention and time spent online.

And there is a difference between “valuable” time, and “worthless” time when it comes to internet use.

Unlike with traditional media, (where users always have a passive relationship – they watch TV, read a newspaper, listen to the radio) there are both active AND passive types of media online.

Passive types are like Youtube, Pandora and Netflix, which have very highly engaged users for long stretches of time – but they’re not active participants.  Youtube famously boasts having the most engaged users – but that engagement isn’t good for much, because it results in almost zero interaction or action taken.

It makes sense: you can’t expect people to be active in a passive medium.

The active segment of internet use is where people interact with other people and businesses. Most of this traffic is on social media. That traffic is much more important for businesses – including dental practices – precisely because it’s interactive.

People do take action based on what they do and see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And it’s a significant amount of action.

According to market research firm Shareaholic, social media drove 31% of site traffic in Q4 of 2014.

Much of that traffic is at the expense of traditional search engine traffic. And it’s a trend that’s on the upward slope: more people are interacting with businesses via social media than ever, and it’s projected to continue in that vein.

In other words, having a social media presence is a strategy that complements search engine optimization and website strategy. It all fits together.

According to a study in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, over half of all practices do have a social media presence.

If you don’t, then by the numbers, your practice misses out on about 3 out of 10 potential patients and referrals.

Big websites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post have already conceded to social media – and decided to put themselves where they know their audience interacts.

Dental practices should take note and follow suit.

For more information on how to grow your practice via social media, take a look at our new and improved Social Media Management service – which takes care of some of the more time consuming aspects of social media for you.