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4 Social Media Myths

Social Networking Icons
Social media is the buzz word in marketing. You can be watching TV, eating in a restaurant, or on your computer and you will see or hear some mention of a social networking site. It may be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogs, or another of the many social platforms.

Whether you are on the social networks or not, you’ve even come to recognize their logos. Social media has become a way of life and a powerful marketing avenue for businesses.

But as powerful a source as social media presents, there are some business owners who still aren’t utilizing this incredible opportunity to grow their business sighting one or more of these 4 myths:

Myth #1: It’s Just A Fad

Social media is still in its infant stages, however, it’s already proven its value and is definitely here to stay! Facebook just announced they have over 500 million active viewers who spend over 500 million minutes per day on Facebook alone.

Traditional advertising, newspaper ads, telephone ads, and direct mailers are static in nature. They are usually advertisements about your services. Once the printed piece is presented there is no opportunity for connecting with and engaging the viewer and answering their concerns.

Social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs allow you to connect and engage your viewers with one on one conversation or group conversations.
What does this mean for you: More potential new patients and more treatment acceptance.

Do you know anyone who likes…really likes…going to the dentists? I don’t and I’ve been in it for almost 30 years. But one of the most amazing facets of social media is the ability to become real, not just an advertisement or a picture in a telephone ad…you become real!

Your viewers get to see their dentist as a real person, your personality, your hobbies, your likes and dislikes, even your ups and your downs… you’re real…you’re human. You also have become their “go to” person in your field of expertise.

Viewers are reading your posts, learning more about dentistry, finding out why they should visit a dentist and have their treatment done, seeing there can be medical complications when treatment goes undone. All because you are presenting valuable information in your posts previously unavailable to patients due to limited time and access for information while visiting your office.

All of this combines into establishing credibility, gaining trust, and building relationships and hopefully take some of the fear away associated with “going to the dentists”…and if a patient or potential new patient knows someone with a dental problem, who do you think they are going to refer them to….you!

Myth #2: Social Media Platforms Are Only For Teenagers

Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are no longer sites just for teenagers. Businesses have found these networking sites to present an incredible opportunity for connecting with and engaging their audience.

According to Inside Facebook, a Facebook tracking source ,the fastest growing demographic, is Women over 55. Women also comprised over 56.2% of Facebooks audience, and 45% of Facebook’s US audience is women over age 26.

What does this mean for you: Women make around 80% of the decisions concerning purchases for themselves and their family.

What percentage of women are in your practice and what’s their average age…bet they fall into one of these two ranges above. Women are extremely active on the Internet and social media networks. When your phone rings at the office, well over the majority of the calls are from women scheduling appointments or getting information.

Myth #3: Too Time Consuming and Overwhelming

The number of social media platforms available and all the information about social media can be overwhelming, IF you try to use all the networks starting out.

One of the best pieces of advice is to start with just one, possibly two, of the social networks and become comfortable with how to use it. It’s better to be active and consistent on just a couple of sites than to be semi-active and inconsistent on a bunch of sites.

Time is always a big factor in managing social media, but once past the learning curve, much of the work can (and should) be put on “auto-pilot”.

If you determine you want to be active on the other sites but may not feel confident enough or may not have the time to manage the sites, you can always choose to outsource some or all your social media activities.

What does this mean for you: Choose where you want to start and jump in…take action!

Realize you can assign someone in your practice (person must see the benefit and be social) to manage your social sites, however, this person should never post for you in the 1st person as speaking for you. You will also want to have social media policy in place for “what to and what not to” post.

As you grow you will learn much of your posts and information can be done ahead of time and preset to post in the future. There are a lot of sites that allow you to make one post and then that site will automatically post your information to several other network sites…sort of “one post does all”

Myth #4: It Will Cost Too Much

Your advertising budget is one of the largest expenses associated with your practice. You have your newspaper and telephone book ads, magazine ads, direct mail outs, and possibly printed newsletters.

Two major problems with traditional print ads: 1) They are static as mentioned earlier in this article and once read, there’s no interaction with the viewer. 2) With print ads, especially direct mail outs, at best there is only about a 5% return on the investment…what happened to the other 95% of your investment dollars?

Solution: Social media marketing – interacting with patients and potential new patients.

What does this mean for you: All the social media networking sites are Free to join, come with unlimited use, and are marketing your practice…24 / 7 / 365!

It would be a mistake to pretend social media is totally free because there is the time involved with maintaining your sites, especially when maintained well whether maintained in-house or outsourced to a third party.

When you factor in how many, or should I say how few, people are actually reached with traditional advertising, the cost of budgeting money for an ongoing social media presence pales in comparison.

Add to that the fact only about 15% of the population still uses telephone books and print ads with the other 85% using online sources, you can see why creating and maintaining your online presence is critical to your practice.

Bottom line: When done correctly, social media marketing has the ability to cut your advertising budget by as much as 90%! This translates to more money into your children’s college fund, more money to travel and enjoy life, and …last but not least, more time on the golf course (or your favorite hobby)!!

The primary objective of social media marketing is a bridge that gives you access to people, information, and even companies that in the past, you didn’t have access to. Its one-on-one contact and its word of mouth advertising in the best of forms and…most of its ….Free.

Through your social media communities and patient inactivity you establish your practice’s online visibility, make contacts, gain their trust, and build profitable relationships ultimately leading to more new patients, more treatment acceptance, and more product and services sales.
Isn’t that what you’ve wanted to do since you opened your practice? With social media…you can!
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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals, who want to keep it simple and easy to understand. Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie: Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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7 Marketing Strategies: Then and Now

In the late ’60s, Virginia Slim cigarette ads used the saying: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” I don’t think there’s a more targeted saying that could be used to describe marketing as we know it today….from even just a few years ago.

Traditional marketing meant direct mailers, print ads in magazines and telephone books, radio and TV ads, even billboards to reach viewers and potential new patients. But the problem with traditional marketing is as people have become better at blocking these traditional messages, traditional marketing has become less effective.
Let’s take a walk back in time a few years ago to get a better picture of Then and Now:

1. Then: An employer could purchase a “targeted” e-mail list of names for sending newsletters and special offers.

Now: Spam filters are used extensively plus marketer’s are limited by the National Canned Spam Act from sending “unsolicited messages”

2. Then: Sending out direct mailers to large lists of purchased names for a specific area

Now: Peoples mail boxes are full of junk mail and the mailers rarely make it past the trash can

3. Then: Specific trade publications had a large subscriber readership for reading your ad

Now: Publications are losing subscribers, laying off staff , and in some cases have stopped publication or scaled back their issues

4. Then: Businesses hired telemarketing firms for business solicitation

Now: Caller ID has become a standard feature on home, work, and even cell phones plus more and more people are adding their numbers to the national Do Not Call Registry making it more and more difficult for even the best of trained telesales reps.

5. Then: Radio and TV advertisements in cars and homes were almost guaranteed to generate results

Now: Commercial free channels and programs like Sirius radio, DVR’s and TiVo, DVD’s, MP3, iPods and iTunes has dramatically limited radio and TV effectiveness in advertising.

6. Then: Trade Shows were great for reaching the business audience and came with high “booth” rental fees

Now: Trade shows today have seen a huge decline in their attendees due to airline and hotel fees and lost production if the practice or business had to close while attending the trade show, causing many shows to scale back or to go out of business.

7. Then: The effectiveness of your marketing for the most part was measured by the amount of money you were able to afford to spend on your advertising budget. But even the “big guys” ads were static in nature, meaning no contact, no engaging, no information exchanged, and no relationship formed. Once placed they just sat there until they expired or they were renewed.

Now: Today people are tired of the barrage of marketing messages and are very good at deleting, trashing, and blocking traditional marketing, which is also changing. However, with social media marketing you no longer have to spend vast amounts of money for advertising to reach your target market. With social media, you build your online communities, you build relationships with your followers, and there IS contact and engaging conversation, information IS exchanged, and relationships ARE formed and the good part is….it’s working for you and your business 24/7 – 365! You really have come a long way, baby!

Consumer shopping has totally changed from Then! Is your marketing ready for social media Now?
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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals who want to keep it simple and easy to understand. Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie: Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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Your Secret Weapon…Obnoxiously Detailed Narratives

You’ve experienced it before…the dreaded letter from a patient’s insurance company: We need more information, there is not enough evidence of need, please send us a diagnostic film (after you have initially sent one!). Several things are critical when submitting dental claims on behalf of your patient:

  • Most patients are unaware that employers set the boundaries and limitations on their employee’s dental benefit plan
  • Initially writing a good “obnoxiously detailed” narrative is imperative to resolving your patient’s claim early
  • Diagnostic films are two-dimensional and don’t necessarily tell the whole story. A detailed narrative and/or attaching a photo should always accompany the claim

This article will deal with the challenges dental practices face when attempting to gain dental benefit payment on behalf of their patients. Whether you accept assignment of payment or are completely “insurance free”, it is important to supply enough information for the patient to receive benefits on their claims.

First and foremost, fill out the claim form correctly. Just because you supplied the insurance company with a diagnostic film doesn’t guarantee they will acknowledge receiving the attachment unless you mark the box on the claim form that you supplied the film. The same thing applies for the diagnostic photo. The most recent ADA claim form has a place to check notifying the insurance company that this information has been sent. When a narrative is attached to the claim form, mark directly on the form that you included a detailed narrative. Draw attention to your claim by highlighting any pertinent information. Most often, when a claim has a narrative attached, it must be referred to a live person for review therefore reducing the risk of requesting more information.

There is a wonderful tool available to dental practices now that allows the financial coordinator to send supporting information electronically. An electronic claims attachment service can allow you to send your attachments electronically. Note, not all insurance companies are accepting electronic attachments. However, there are enough insurance companies that will accept electronic attachments which can help to de-stress your environment greatly. Just remember to make full use of the tools available to you and you will have greater success!

Below is a sample narrative which can be uniquely detailed to each patient’s dental condition warranting the need for treatment.

Narrative Sample for insurance claim

Date___________________________
Patient_________________________
Insurance Co.___________________
Group #________________________
ID#___________________________

Dear Dental Consultant:

A ___________________ has been prescribed for restoration of tooth #____ because:

_____1. The _______________________________cusp(s) has/have been destroyed by caries or fracture and require restoration.
_____2. The _______________________________cusp(s) has/have been undermined by caries and/or previous restorations.
_____3. The tooth has a symptomatic crack or fracture on the ________________________________surface(s).
_____4. The tooth has had endodontic treatment.
_____5. There is recurrent decay under the present___________________.
_____6. Other: __________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________

Note: Prosthesis/or restoration is/is not an initial placement.
Date of prior placement ____________________________.
Extraction date ___________________________________.
A Bitewing ______ , or periapical(s) _______ x-ray(s) is /are enclosed.

Sincerely,
_______________________________________________________
Attending Dentist

One stumbling block which dental practices face is creating a narrative claim form that is too generic. The insurance industry calls this “not patient specific”. So, a word of caution…always be sure to design your narrative form in a way which allows the patient’s unique condition to be conveyed on the form.

Make sure that the treatment rendered matches what is listed on the claim form. If a dental benefit plan has an “alternate benefit” clause on the contract, there can be an opportunity to ask for an alternate benefit. For example; a fixed bridge is recommended but, the dental benefit plan has a “missing tooth clause”, which means if the tooth was missing prior to the effective date of coverage then the fixed bridge would not be a covered benefit. An alternate benefit equal to individual crowns on the abutment teeth can be requested. Please remember, it is imperative to bill for the procedure(s) that were actually performed. Therefore, bill for a fixed bridge utilizing the fixed bridge codes and in the detailed narrative, request an alternate benefit for individual crowns on the abutment teeth. A benefit for the pontic will most likely not be available if the tooth was missing prior to the effective date of coverage regardless of the available benefit for individual crown. Never promise the patient that their insurance company will cover an alternate benefit. Let your patient know that you will give it your “best attempt”. Patients want to know you cared enough to try.

Always be prepared to involve your patient in the process. They are your “squeaky wheel” and can always go to their employer to have the decision on their claim reversed and considered for benefit. Have your patient use the information available to them to make them your best weapon in resolving claims issues.

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Lois Banta is CEO, President and Founder of Banta Consulting, Inc., a company that specializes in all aspects of dental practice management. Lois has over 35 years of dental experience and consults and speaks nationally and internationally. She is also the owner of The Speaking Consulting Network. To contact Lois for a personal consultation or to invite Lois to speak to your organization; Office-816/847-2055, Address: 33010 NE Pink Hill Rd, Grain Valley, MO 64029, Email: lois@bantaconsulting.com or check out her website: www.bantaconsulting.com.

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How To Use Dentogen

DentoGen is indicated for use as a bone graft by itself, in combination with other bone graft materials, and as a barrier membrane. It is bioresorbable & osteoconductive, acts as a soft tissue barrier & improves implant osseointegration. It is easy to handle & place and is cost-effective. Can be used in a wide range of clinical indications including post-extraction, intra-osseous defects, apicoectomies, root perforations & open apices, dehiscences & fenestrations, and sinus lifts.

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