Social proof is a concept found in many fields, including dentistry. It’s the idea that people are more likely to behave in accordance with how they see others behaving. This type of patient purchasing behavior has been called “social validation.”
Social validation can be seen as authenticators or even status symbols in all cultures, with respect solely given when others have approved your actions.
What is Dental Social Proof and Validation
Social proof is a concept first introduced in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence. This is also known as informational social influence, and it refers to the notion that individuals adopt the actions of others or try and match behavior themselves if they’re unsure how else to act in unfamiliar types of situations.
For example, it can be difficult for guests to attend their first event at an expensive venue like a gala. A person in this situation will pay very close attention to the way that others are behaving to understand how they can conform their behavior to the event.
Social pressures could lead individuals into conformity even when evidence suggests that there would be more benefit for them if they did otherwise. Because of this, forward-thinking practices use social proof for their benefit.
Dentists who are looking to find new patients need to be aware of this psychological phenomenon. It has a dramatic effect on the performance of all dental marketing campaigns.
Effective Digital Marketing Begins with Patient Reviews
Dentists who take care of their dental reputation by providing excellent service will be rewarded with more online reviews, which translates into more business and referrals.
Your current dental patients are likely to post glowing reviews online if they’ve had a great experience and know-how essential it is for your practice. But, they may need some nudging from you and your dental team before writing one of those all-important “reviews.” To get more positive reviews, you have to ask!
Have you ever wondered how dental websites can pull in your best reviews and show them as social proof? If you don’t currently have this feature within your dental website design, I recommend reaching out to a dental website company that can set this up for you. Being able to feed your 5-star patient reviews into your dentist website is a simple way to spread out the social proof to all of your online assets.
Have you ever seen a dentistry website with patient video testimonials? These can be very effective for showcasing that you care, and the attention patients feel from you and your team while receiving your services. It shows that your patients are happy, which directly impacts how other potential patients feel about you.
Tactic: Online testimonials that are 100% authentic and not filtered carry the highest social proof. Google reviews are genuine, which is why they’re so critical for potential patients. Google reviews are also displayed in the Google Map, which is the most important online internet marketing place to be represented.
Marketing Efforts are Improved Through Dental Case Studies
One great way to showcase satisfied patients is by writing a dental case study about their experience and putting it on your website. To get started, identify one or several people with whom you’ve had significant success and reach out to them. Ask them if they’d be willing to participate in a video interview. You’ll be amazed at how many patients will accept the invitation. Make sure that when you post the case study to your site that the web design makes it easy to navigate and find the study.
Your dental case study should have before and after pictures and a statement from the patient about their experience. If a patient participates, you’ll want to get them to sign a HIPAA authorization allowing you to use their photo and quote in your dental marketing campaign. This is especially true if you offer pediatric dentistry and other custom dental services.
Humanitarian Events Are Great Social Proof
By sharing your dental practice on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, you will increase the reach of all your online marketing and search engine optimization.
There are so many reasons to give; it’s hard not to get every one of your team members on board. Giving fosters team bonding and transforms the routine daily tasks into something your team members can be proud of.
Humanitarian and philanthropic efforts pay big dividends for dentists. It not only helps with morale, but they make for unique marketing content. Don’t be shy to post to your social media accounts, write a blog post, or add photos about your humanitarian efforts to your website.
To get started, reach out within your community where there is a need. In every city and town, there are refugees or homeless shelters where needy people would love to be helped. You can also partner with local organizations set up to support those in need, like the boys and girls club or big brother big sisters.
The strength of social proof is amplified by kindness and compassionate service. If you’re looking for a great cause, take the time today to give back through volunteering or donating money!
Dental Awards & Certificates
When dental patients first meet with their new family dentist, they are often interested in knowing the qualifications of the dentist in order to gauge the quality of their work.
Dental professionals know that listing their qualifications on their website provides peace of mind for patients. This can help to reassure your patients and makes it easier for people to schedule. It’s essential to explain in basic terms what each of your dental qualifications is. If you tell a patient that you’re a DMD, they’ll probably not know what you’re talking about.
Dental professionals commonly list professional qualifications throughout their website to provide dental clinic visitors with total confidence about the quality of their dentistry!
A simple qualification is listing any relevant professional organizations or associations. Still, the best way of demonstrating commitment isn’t just showing these things on your website: It’s explaining why dental care from your office will always be worth choosing over all others.
Personalize Your Dental Website
The “About” page is a big part of any dental practice website. It allows patients to form connections with their dentist, learn about the staff’s education and experience in-depth; they might even find out what it’s like being close friends or family members!
Some of the best “About” pages include several photos and an in-depth walkthrough of the office with the dentist or the office manager. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and what you like to do outside of work. The more you’re able to get personal, the better.
Your mission statement is a great way to personalize your site, ensuring that it has an authentic voice and will resonate with visitors.
If you don’t have a mission statement, then write one today. There are templates online that will help you write one. If you already have a mission statement on your site, I would re-read it and ask yourself, What does this mission statement feel like? What will a patient get out of this statement?
Tactic: The more personalized your website is, the better because it helps potential patients feel comfortable.
Use A Dental Blog For SEO and Email Marketing
Blogs are a great way to announce upcoming events, purchase new hardware or software, and the arrival of a new employee. They can also be used as part of your dental SEO strategy. Blogging is a big part of search engine rankings. If you want to be found online by new patients, you should have a blog on your website and post custom content at least monthly.
Conversations in the comments of blogs are a great way to establish social proof. Craft an engaging blog post and ask the reader to comment. It all starts with posting excellent blog content that will keep readers coming back for more tips on keeping themselves healthy.
Another way to blog is to vlog. Vlogging is simply using video on your blog. Some dentists like to tip of the month and answer curious dental questions simply by shooting a video.
You also don’t have to stick to just dental content with your blog. Let your patients and potential patients know about your professional advancements and continuing education. Being an authority in dentistry holds great sway over a likely patient’s decision-making process.
It’s been said that blogging is one of the best ways to reach prospective patients because you can use the content from your blog post to create a patient email. Any content that is worthy of your blog is excellent for an email. So, think about writing blogs that can be used in both marketing efforts.
Social proof is an essential psychological phenomenon that every dental practice should consider when determining their website marketing strategy. Potential patients are more likely to schedule with dentists they see as engaging, open, and trustworthy.
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About the Author: Matt Cotant is the SEO manager of Local Dental Marketing and has been involved in dental marketing for 13 years. If you’re interested in having Matt or one of the Local Dental Marketing team members speak at your live or virtual event, please request a time on our dental marketing expert page.