YCC Opinion: 6 Steps to the Ultimate Internet Presence
By Ismael Khouly DDS, MS, PhD,
YCC (Young Clinicians Committee) Member
Any successful online presence begins with a website. This is the hub of a business entity’s online operations. As a young dental clinician just entering the field, you may find yourself struggling to make your presence known in order to bring in new patients, build a positive reputation, and grow your practice.
In this day and age, you almost can’t compete without an online presence. More and more consumers seek local services online, and a failure to grow your virtual presence can have a very real impact on your practice. Here are a few essential steps that young dental clinicians must take in order to develop a successful online presence.
1. The Importance of Updates
It’s tempting to build your website, set up social media accounts, and call it a day, but in order to make the most of these tools, you cannot rest on your laurels. You need to make sure your website remains attractive and up-to-date. This includes a modern layout and design, intuitive navigation that reflects current trends, and of course, fresh and relevant content.
The same principle applies to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts, as well. If you want to maintain followers and generate leads, it’s imperative to plan for regular and frequent posts that catch attention and inspire sharing. Don’t forget to update images and pay attention to trending designs to ensure attractive and compelling virtual representations of your dental practice.
The place to begin when it comes to expanding your online presence is with search engine optimization, or SEO. This practice is designed to ensure that your website is not only found and indexed by search engines, but that you are able to raise your ranking for specific searches related to your practice.
When local residents look for a new dentist in the area, you want them to find you first, and a suitable SEO strategy is crucial if you want to compete. SEO is made easier when you have an on-site blog that allows you to update content (and keywords) constantly. You should also integrate your SEO efforts with your overall marketing strategy.
You might not see the point of penning regular newsletters since they don’t necessarily increase your online presence, but it all depends on how you use them. The main purpose of a newsletter for most businesses is to add value for current clientele, as well as encouraging leads to become patients.
In addition to sending newsletters to your email subscribers, however, you can also post them on your blog (for optimization purposes) and post links to your social media accounts for increased readership and easy sharing.
4. Social Media
Anyone working in a healthcare profession must be cautious when using social media – ethical behavior is important. That said, your dental practice stands to gain a lot by mastering social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Facebook, in particular, provides untold opportunities not only to develop your brand image and reach a new audience of potential patients, but also to advertise to very specific groups based on demographic factors like location, age, income, job title, and even interests. The tools provided by Facebook and other social media platforms can only help you to increase your online presence and grow your practice, when used accordingly.
5. Online Reviews
You can post testimonials on your website, but you understand why prospective clients might find them somewhat suspect. Instead, it’s wise to encourage satisfied patients to post online reviews that readers find to be trustworthy. You can make it easy by sending a follow-up email after a visit with a link to your preferred review site or a custom review template.
6. Word of Mouth
Many local businesses rely on the word of satisfied customers to encourage new patients to become patrons. Your dental practice can benefit from both real world and online “word of mouth” referrals. When you have all the aforementioned pieces in place, you can encourage social sharing and utilize positive reviews as virtual word-of-mouth advertising on a peer-to-peer level, which can only help your Internet presence and your practice to grow organically.
More about the Young Clinicians Committee (YCC)
The YCC provides a platform to bring together the knowledge of experienced clinicians and the enthusiasm of young members to help raise awareness of AO and promote research and education. If you are in college, dental school, residency or have been in practice for less than five years, and you want to get involved with the Academy of Osseointegration and organized dentistry – reach out for more information.
About the Academy of Osseointegration
With 6,000 members in 70 countries around the world, the AO is recognized as the premier international association for professionals interested in implant dentistry. AO serves as a nexus where specialists and generalists can come together to evaluate emerging research, technology, and techniques; share the best information; and coordinate optimal patient care using timely, evidence-based science and methods. Follow AO on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.