Roughly 90% of employers review the social media profiles of job candidates before making a hiring decision, and 79% of employers have rejected a candidate based on their overall first impression of a candidate’s online presence. 

Potential patients tend to do the same when searching for a local dental practice. They review a practice’s online presence. Based on their first impression, they quickly decide whether to contact a practice, and in a fiercely competitive U.S. dental market, you only have seconds to make a good first impression. 

If you suspect your practice’s online presence doesn’t quite stack up to competitors, here are 3 key things to check—and change to attract and retain more patients for your dental practice: 

Your Social Media Strategy: Are You Creating Meaningful Posts That Encourage Conversation? 

With nearly 3 billion active monthly users worldwide, Facebook remains a key social media platform to put your dental practice in front of current and prospective clients. Yet to make the most of the platform and your online presence, your social media strategy must now involve specific considerations toward the Facebook algorithm, which prioritizes posts that are meaningful and informative for users.  

  • Meaningful posts—content that users will want to talk about with friends, family, and other followers. 
  • Informative content—content that users will find new and interesting. 

To identify meaningful and informative posts, the Facebook algorithm considers many different factors, including: 

  • Who made a post 
  • When a post was made 
  • The speed of a user’s internet connection 

Lastly and most importantly to your online presence, the algorithm prioritizes posts that users share or to which they react. “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on,” writes Facebook, “could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” 

To help reach more current and prospective clients on Facebook: 

  • Reply to post comments: “Bumping up your reply game is key,” writes Hootsuite. “If a person takes the time to comment on your post, don’t waste the opportunity.” Letting people know they’ve been heard increases the likelihood they’ll comment on future posts by your dental practice. “This, of course,” adds Hootsuite, “sends more of those juicy engagement signals to the algorithm. Ignore them and they’ll likely go silent.” 
  • Write clear headlines: Make sure your headline clearly describes what users will find in your post or on your practice website if you’re posting a link. You can certainly get creative, but don’t use misleading or clickbait headlines (a.k.a. engagement bait). Though clickbait posts still appear on user feeds, Facebook is now “demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.” 
  • Post daily: To maintain engagement on Facebook, post 1-2 times per day but no more. Overuse of Facebook can lead to a drop in engagement. 

To simplify the above, our social media management—developed specifically for dental practices—builds and manages your entire social media presence so you can focus on your practice. 

Your Dental Practice Website: Some Key Questions to Ask 

Though social media is a starting point to connect with people and increase your online presence, you ultimately want to direct people to your dental practice website, which must be ready for visitors. 

  • Is your website content up to date? Research shows website users will quickly abandon a website if the content is outdated. Moreover, 50% of website visitors will permanently leave a website if the content is irrelevant. Inversely as discovered by Relevant Insights, “People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.” Content created by your dental practice or supplied by your website provider helps ensure visitors find content that’s current and relevant, with the latter naturally affording practices more time to focus on patients. 
  • What does your website look like? Your website color scheme, fonts, and page layouts all play a big role in how appealing your practice website is to visitors. Indeed, according to web credibility research by Stanford University, the overall look of a website is the #1 factor related to any company’s perceived trust and credibility. So, it’s extremely important to your dental practice and online presence to make a good first impression. To evaluate your website, here are examples of dental practice websites that accomplish this. 
  • Is your website easy to navigate? Can people easily find what they’re looking for? The answer must be yes. People don’t want to hunt around to learn about your dental practice and the services you offer. If they can’t quickly and easily find the information they want with simple, intuitive navigation, they’ll quickly leave. 

Online Reviews: Social Proof Attracts New Clients 

Dental marketing isn’t just about what you say about your practice, it also involves what clients say. Managing client reviews and featuring them on your practice website is important as social proof to convert prospective clients. 

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. 

You also need more than a few reviews. The average person reads 4-6 reviews before deciding whether to trust a business. Plus, you need to keep reviews current. More than 70% of people disregard reviews more than 90 days old. 

Why a Strong Online Presence is Important for Your Practice 

If you’re not getting the engagement and traffic you want from your online presence, look at what you could improve in your dental practice marketing, and be honest in your assessment—even if the idea of doing something new feels uncomfortable. As Harvard Business Review recently noted in “Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage,” “companies must be really good at learning how to do new things,” and you’re certainly not in it alone. 

At ProSites, we’re currently helping 7,500+ dental practices reach their goals with social media management, website solutions, and more to strengthen your online presence. 

Our dental marketing experts are here to help. Simply reach out. 

Here’s to your practice’s success.