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Digital Marketing for Dentists, Lesson 10: Patient Generated Content

Digital marketing runs on content. Keeping your dental practice website and social media marketing channels full of great content is a lot of work! Consider cultivating your patient relationships and increasing patient retention and acquisition by starting a User Generated Content campaign! In this post, we’ll introduce User Generate Content and tell you how to use it to help with content production and increase patient interaction.

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What is User Generated Content?

User Generated Content or UGC means any images or text produced by the user of a digital service or platform, rather than the company that owns it. This could mean, for instance, readers of a travel magazine posting photos of their own trips with a hashtag, or restaurant customers posting user photos with their reviews. In the case of a dental practice, User Generated Content is Patient Generated Content. In all cases, it means boosting your online marketing with increased interaction and increasing trust by using content produced by brand loving fellow patients!

How Do UGC Campaigns Work?

UGC campaigns are designed to engage an audience of customers according to how they use a product or service. This happens when a company or brand asks users of social media channels or websites to participate in content creation by contributing a photo or a post with a given hashtag. Some UGC campaigns are actual contests, where, for example, the best photo is selected and shared with the company’s followers publicly. Some UGC campaigns just generate a series of user-generated posts that keep the Twitter channel of the company producing timely, relevant content or can be used on the company website. The structure of these campaigns depends on the product or service a company offers and the needs and desires of its current community. The best part of UGC is that it meets customers where they already are all the time: on social media. There were over 2 billion social media users worldwide in 2015—tap into this audience!

How Can You Use UGC for your Dental Practice?

As dentist, you’ll want to focus your Patient Generated Content campaigns on the way patients interact with your practice and their dental health. For example: you could declare one month “Dr. Brown’s Smiles” month, and invite all of your patients to post images of their smiles with the hashtag #DrBrownSmiles. Increase the interaction rate by turning the campaign into a contest: the best photo is featured on your website and social media channels, and the winner receives a gift basket of dental care supplies or a free cleaning! Create a campaign that focuses on what your business has to offer and positively encourages your relationships with patients. The theme is not your office itself, but the positive results of your quality dental care: good dental health that makes people feel healthy and more attractive and trustworthy dental care and advice. Your patient personas are a good place to look when tailoring your UGC campaigns to your specific patient population. Think about who you want to engage and why. One example would be creating a campaign for mothers of toddlers to share tips on how they get their toddlers to brush. Your audience can help you determine the platform you’ll use, too: for instance, younger patients are more likely to respond to a call for photo postings on Instagram (55% of adults that are online between 18 and 29 use it!).

Don’t forget patient reviews! 64% of patients report using reviews to choose a medical provider. Plus, user photos and reviews on sites like Yelp and Google are great sources of UGC. Ask for reviews and testimonials from your patients to use on your website or Facebook page. Make the reviews relevant and make it easy for your patients to write reviews by asking a series of specific questions: What was your experience of the appointment scheduling process at our office? Did you feel your treatment plans were clearly explained to you? These kinds of reviews can then be used to appeal to current and potential patients with similar concerns or customer “pain points.” A positive review coming from another patient is likely to have more impact that marketing copy written by your staff. 

Tips for Great UGC

  • Always get clear permission to use UGC! This maintains an open, honest relationship with customers and helps to avoid misunderstandings. Develop a comprehensive Terms and Conditions statement for every campaign.
  • Make sure you review all content before it is posted to ensure there are no typos and any images posted are both appropriate and high quality
  • Don’t just use UGC once! Once you have a collection of great photos, posts, or reviews, they can be repackaged for your website, other social media channels, or on printed marketing materials. Post the winner of the content first and then publish content from other participants some weeks or months later. This will show active participation.
  • Be responsive! If patients take the time to post or send UGC, make sure to keep up the conversation with them. This will also lead to more engagement with other existing and potential patients. 

Effective dental brand advocacy in the digital era relies on interaction. Meeting patients where they already get their information and engage with brands and friends socially makes for better patient relationships. Best of all, Patient Generated Content populates your dental practice marketing platforms with relevant, trustworthy, and appealing content to increase patient retention and aid in patient acquisition.

Credit: Mila & ome Jan by Boudewijn Berends CC BY 2.0

Topics: Dentist Marketing