Is Google+ really the next big thing for your dental office? Part 1

Jan. 23, 2014
Dental marketing campaigns should include Google+

I bet you’re feeling a bit skeptical right now having another dental marketer/businessperson tell you how Google+ is where it’s at for your dental practice. You might have just recently started to post pictures on Facebook, and you may be wondering when you’re going to see the miraculous results you were promised. Am I right? I’d be skeptical too if I were you.

Whenever you hear the buzz about the next big thing regarding the Internet and social media marketing, I know you must cringe a little. You think to yourself, “What has Facebook done for me? For that matter, what has my website for me? Why should I spend even more time typing stuff in another box? How can this possibly benefit my dental practice? Does the money I spend on marketing my dental practice even make sense?”

These are all valid questions that deserve answers. In this article I want to answer, “Why is Google+ worth my time when I’m not even sure online marketing is worth my time in the first place?”

The dental industry talks a lot about the importance of your online presence or reputation, how popular Google is, and how you need to enhance your SEO, but I find very few dental offices actually embrace the potential of the Internet. Google is the No. 1 search engine (65% of the searches), and YouTube has jumped into the No. 2 search engine spot. YouTube is owned by Google, so that means Google dominates the Internet.

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Let’s just forget about the small guys such as Bing and Yahoo for a while, and just think about Google for a second. Google+ is a social network indexed by Google. Therefore it is probably not startling to find out your Google+ is tied to any Google search made about you or your practice. By using Google+ well, you will improve your website’s chances of being found by existing and prospective patients who are searching for you. You only get one chance for a stellar first impression, and if you don’t use Google+ well, you can probably figure out how it won’t help your cause, and could even hurt you in the long run. Patients don’t find dentists or florists or anything in the physical Yellow Pages anymore – they find these things online by Googling you and your practice.

· 97% of consumers search for local businesses online
· 72% of consumers research companies through social media before making purchases

Though all the big social networks can be successfully used to reel in new patients, as social networks go, Google+ has some benefits when compared to Facebook or Linkedin. Google+ is much more inclusive. What I mean is that if I’m not your “friend” on Facebook, then you have to make special efforts to see what I share on my wall. On LinkedIn you can’t receive updates from me unless we are “connected.”

Google+ and Twitter are similar in that anyone can see your updates without needing to jump through any hoops. Google+ is built around making it easy for people to connect with you and discover you. Also, it makes it simple for you to follow people, and many times you can actually see who that person follows and who follows them. (By “follow” I’m referring to the act of receiving updates from someone inside Google+.)

This can be a tool for you to follow the type of patients you want to bring into your office, and then following the people they are connected to. Remember, social media marketing is all about engaging your existing patients so they don’t leave, and attracting potential patients so they decide you are the best choice for them. You can be proactive in looking for new patients to attract on Google+. You don’t need to already know someone in order to connect with them.

Google+ has already been integrated with YouTube. We discussed how YouTube is the No. 2 largest search engine. You will easily be able to share videos with your Google+ network due to this integration. Let me tell you that Google loves YouTube videos when it comes to SEO. Why? Call it shameless self-promotion, but Google loves YouTube because they are part of the same company. So why not put some patient testimonial videos, educational videos, and before and after videos on YouTube? This will make your Google+ look better, in addition to helping your SEO efforts.

Is your inner voice crying out, “Everyone is on Facebook! Google+ cannot possibly be the next big thing.” Remember in the ‘80s everyone was on AOL? Yes, we all used Aquanet hair spray, loved Molly Ringwald movies, and had AOL email accounts. (If only I could have teased my bangs in the ‘80s to the heights of Madonna’s!) Whenever that inner voice starts, tell it to hush. The Internet is like fashion. There will always be the next big thing.

Still not 100% convinced Google+ is worth your time? Watch for my Part 2 of “Is Google+ Really the Next Big Thing.” It just might get your other leg over the fence.

Lisa Newhouse is a Growth Hacker (first woman GH in the dental profession) and cof ounder of Growth Hacker Central. Growth Hacker Central is the leading provider of dentist SEO, dental web marketing, and growth hacker marketing for dentists. Lisa was a dental pharmaceutical sales professional for 13 years before transitioning into a social media marketing expert for GHC and Practice Doctor Management.