It seems like just a few weeks ago we were penning our New Year’s resolutions and vowing to eat less processed food, but here we are soaking up the last of summer – hot dog in hand. Before year-end lists dominate the headlines, we thought we would take a moment to dust off our Magic 8 Ball and check-in to see how some of the Top Trends and Recommendations for Dentistry & Marketing in 2017 are tracking.
1. Trust of authority and experts is decreasing. When we asked our Magic 8 Ball if this was still a thing, “Signs point to yes” quickly appeared in its foggy little window. While the prevalence of unsubstantiated news stories is disturbing on its own, it also results in a decrease in general trust of authority and experts which has a different set of ramifications. A great example of this is how the Associated Press article titled, Medical Benefits of Dental Floss Unproven quickly transformed into an anti-floss movement promulgated by headlines such as, Dentists Forgot to Study Flossing For a Century, Recommended It Anyway (published by website, Ars Technica). Now, if that were actually true, we would be all for a full-on dental floss boycott. Of course, that’s not exactly accurate but in the frenzy of Shares and Likes who can be bothered to fact check?
What does this mean for you? While we don’t recommend burning your dental school letters to show the masses you’re not one of those out-of-touch experts, we do suggest demonstrating that you care what patients think. Aside from requesting feedback through satisfaction surveys, try social listening on your practice’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Once you understand what’s on patients’ minds you’ll be able to address concerns and focus on topics of interest – both of which will help to carve out your niche as an expert who can be trusted.
2. Belief in crowds and social networking is increasing. Is this trend still going strong? The Magic 8 Ball says “Without a doubt”. Despite the influx of documented “fake news,” we just can’t stop ourselves from passing along salacious headlines. After all, who has the time to read an entire article? It’s much easier to take your Facebook friend’s word for it – besides, they probably verified it anyway.
What does this mean to you? As belief in crowds and social networking continues to increase, it’s more important than ever for dental practices to find a way to insert themselves into the conversation. This means that having a social media presence isn’t enough; you need to participate. Don’t worry, this isn’t as daunting as it might sound. Simply responding to comments on your practice’s social media pages helps to set you apart and makes users feel like you’re one of their social network friends, and not just another dental clinic.
A great way to expand your social footprint is to provide incentives for your patients to share information online about your practice. Depending on your patient base, this might include raffles or giveaways for Liking your page or referring a friend. Whichever method you choose, the first step is to make sure patients know you’re there. Use your patient newsletter, waiting room signage, and website to announce your social media presence and encourage patients to connect online.
3. Everything is going mobile. Do we even need to consult our trusty Magic 8 Ball for this one? The fact that a Magic 8 Ball app exists should be a good indicator (insert winking emoji here). This trend is one that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, 80% of adult Internet users own a smartphone, and 25% of them can’t remember the last time it wasn’t next to them.
What does this mean for you? This is one trend that’s pretty cut and dry. You need a mobile website – full stop. Without it, you run the risk of alienating over 50% of the prospective patients that visit your website from a mobile device. We don’t think you need to consult the Magic 8 Ball to see if that’s a risk you should take.
4. Video content is becoming necessary to engage your audience. The Magic 8 Ball’s take on this trend? Outlook good. The move towards video content is indisputable; we’ll let you decide if our insatiable appetite for the screen (4x as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it) is rooted in Netflix or the Disney Junior app.
What does this mean for you? Just as having a Facebook page is no longer enough (remember, participation is key), having a website alone doesn’t guarantee visitor engagement. Video is a great way to raise the bar. Try creating a library of how-to videos that address common concerns (i.e. the fruit of your social listening labor), such as “How to help my child manage braces”. Plus, video has been shown to keep visitors on your site longer, with the average time spent on a website jumping from 42 seconds to 350 seconds when video was present.
Even though Labor Day is on the horizon, you still have time to catch-up with these trends. For help on how to get started, contact ProSites at (888) 932-3644 because before you know it you’ll be revising those New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
Have you read about the other top trends that we predicted? Download the whitepaper using the form below.