The power of Facebook marketing for dentists: An interview with Dr. Anissa Holmes

Facebook Live marketing is a powerful tool for driving new dental patients—just ask Dr. Anissa Holmes of Jamaica Cosmetic Dental Services. Learn more about Facebook marketing for dentists and dental practices in this interview by Adam Smith of Oxford Dental Care.

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I recently had the privilege of sitting down for an epic interview with Dr. Anissa Holmes. I don't think she needs much introduction, but for anyone who is not familiar with Dr. Holmes, you can find out more about her accomplishments at Delivering WOW, or join her Facebook group, Dental Marketing and Profits, for some awesome free information. Without further adieu, let's jump into some value!


Thanks for joining me today, Dr. Holmes. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I am from New Orleans, and I went to Alabama for dental school. I graduated in 1999. While I was there, I met my husband, who is an oral surgeon. He went to Alabama for his training. We worked there for a while, and then we decided to move.

My husband had this vision to move back home. He grew up in Jamaica. He said, "I know the quality of life is great, and I can serve more people."

After we had been here [in Jamaica] for a few years, I said, "OK, we are not moving back, so I am going to do another startup." This was in 2010, and Facebook was kind of just getting started. So, I started to share my story. I shared my story of what was happening in my practice and even behind the scenes in the practice. I shared what we were doing for our patients and what we were doing in the community.

We would have free giveaways of children's dental care. We would do partnerships with schools where people would have their kids come in from the schools, and all of the money we would make that day would be given back to the school for things like playgrounds and computers. That was bringing in patients and visibility. I would post all of this to Facebook.

After about two years, we had so many new patients coming in that we built an office that was more than four times the size of the first.

What is the general strategy you would suggest to someone endeavoring in social media marketing?

Tell your story!

Get yourself out there!

Use Facebook Live and get people to watch your video. You can get people to watch your video for a penny. Start building a following. When people watch your video, you can target that group of people when you put out an offering. Say something like, "If you want to experience our practice, the first 20 people can get this special offer for a cleaning." Those people are more likely to take you up on the offer because they have seen your video.

What is even cooler now is that you can integrate Facebook messenger bots so that when someone says yes, everything is automated. There is so much power there!

Put things on your page that people are going to be interested in.

There are a lot of things to look at on Facebook. What is going to make someone click on something for your practice? Put something up that is going to grab people's attention and get them to your page. Once they are on your page, they will see what you are doing in the community. Post before and after pictures, and so on.

Post live videos from things you are doing in the community to give back. Whether that is free dental work or helping out in other areas in the community, patients connect with that.

The next step is to retarget the people who have interacted with your content. That is the power of Facebook!

Give us some new patient statistics from your practice. How well is this working?

We get between 40 and 50 new patients per month from Facebook. We get about 150 new patients per month total, but typically about 80 of those are coming from existing patients. That means that people find out about us on Facebook, we provide them a great experience, and then they refer their friends

In terms of what I am seeing other doctors doing, because that is what really matters, it is not uncommon for doctors who go through my training to get more than 50 new patients per month from Facebook. Sometimes, they can even get these patients for less than $1 each! I can't see anyone getting that kind of return anywhere! Again, that is not simply putting up an offer that says come to our office. It takes some time and having the knowledge of how to do so.

What advice would you to someone who is just starting a practice?

I recently had someone who I am working with experience some massive success with Facebook even before she opened her practice. Dr. Ashley Joves announced a little while ago to her friends on her personal Facebook page that she was leaving her associateship to open a practice so that she could practice the way that she wanted to. Not too long after that, she stopped by the building she had recently purchased to see how renovations were going. She decided to do a Facebook Live video to show people her new space. She talked about how excited she was to be able to do dentistry the way that she wanted to, and started to get emotional about how she wanted to treat patients and staff members well because she had seen doctors who didn't do that. It was so real that people really connected with it and it started to gain a lot of traction. That video now has over 11,000 views, and she has been able to use that exposure to build a VIP guest list for new patients to sign up to come to her new practice.

Even though her practice is still not open, her VIP list already has a couple hundred people on it. That is the power of Facebook marketing! She is going to be able to hit the ground running, which I love because Ashley is amazing. Check out more of what she has done by watching some of her Facebook Live videos on her Facebook Page.

Share what you are doing to grow your practice. Share what CE courses you are doing. Share what equipment you are purchasing that you are excited about. Those are the kinds of things that people want to see.

If you are doing a smile makeover competition, or if your patients are happy, ask them to do video testimonials. Those are great startup strategies!

What advice would you give to a more mature dentist who is not comfortable with social media?

I have a doctor who I am working with right now who is on the other end of the spectrum. His purpose for being on Facebook is to grow his practice so that he can put his practice in a position where he can retire.

This doctor is not comfortable doing Facebook. He is not going to do it. What he has done [instead] is gotten his team member to take over the Facebook and Facebook Live. She did a Facebook Live about how she empathizes with the community because of the down economy, and how she has felt that, and everyone has felt that, but that their practice is still committed to trying to fit dentistry into anybody's budget.

Doctors who are at that point where they don't want to do this, well, they don't have to. In my Facebook Boot Camp, I work mainly with team members. I tell doctors that it doesn't have to be them doing the Facebook, but that it does need to be done.

What are the "must haves" for a dental practice who wants to run this type of strategy?

I always emphasize the importance of having someone in-house so that they can boost Facebook posts and Facebook Lives when we want to do. Get the team members a little bit of knowledge and this is something that they can easily take care of for the practice.

Where can people find the courses that you teach if they are interested?

I have a Facebook Mastery Course and a three-week Facebook Boot Camp. People can get access to either of those on my website.

Perfect! Thank you so much for taking some time with me today Anissa!


Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.


Adam Smith is co-owner of Oxford Dental Care and has personally consulted with more than 70 dental practices across the United States and Canada. He worked as a consultant and a data analyst with Dental Intel, where he fell in love with the statistics and business aspect of dentistry. Adam has a background in online marketing and website development, and works with a few select practices on their marketing on a referral basis only. He also runs a dental marketing Facebook group where he provides tips to dentists to improve their online marketing. If you have any questions, he can be reached at adam@dentalseoagency.com.

ALSO BY ADAM SMITH:

There's a hole in your hygiene: How reappointment rates dramatically affect dental practice growth

Get ahead through proper planning: Maximizing your dental practice's online presence during a transition

A dentist’s successful marketing strategies: Interview with Dr. Boyd Newsome of Riverpoint Family, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry


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