In today’s world, periodontists and other oral-health professionals not only need to be good at their job, they also need skills in branding and social media to attract and retain patients.
For some professionals, this can be a daunting task. So, they may find the latest EFP Perio Talks podcast a useful starting point or a source of ideas to help them improve their branding and marketing activities.
In conversation with Perio Talks host Bruno de Carvalho, ideas on branding and social media are presented by Filippo Graziani (former EFP president, chair of the European projects committee, professor of periodontology at Pisa University, and founder of a start-up to help dentists develop communications and marketing), and Reena Wadia (a periodontal specialist in the UK who set up her own blog and teaching academy and who has worked for the EFP’s communications committee).
They discuss the importance of having a clear and authentic identity, knowing who your target audience is, what makes a good website, and the different roles played by digital marketing and traditional “word of mouth”.
For Reena Wadia, “to stand out, you really need to understand what you are about and be able to communicate that to the world.” Based on her own experience, she cautions, “the initial steps of drawing out what you want your brand to be about is not as easy as you might think.”
Filippo Graziani recalls that his first website, more than a decade ago, was created to be “as cool and elegant” as the site of a top architect, with black-and-white images of the clinical facilities. However, he later realised that he had adopted this approach “to make my colleagues jealous, not to talk to patients.”
Prof. Graziani and Dr Wadia agreed that authenticity and consistency are fundamental, noting that patients increasingly look at the person and not just their professional role and will investigate personal social-media profiles as well as professional ones.
Both speakers agree that the days of putting images of molars into a dental practice’s logo have passed. And “word of mouth” recommendation is not what it used to be, as people increasingly trust the internet more than the opinions of people they know. Indeed, Filippo Graziani notes that people who come to him as a result of digital marketing have much higher rate of acceptance than those who come through conventional word of mouth.
On social media, ideas discussed in the podcast include designing an editorial plan, creating three key words that express a brand, the differences between social-media platforms, and how best to place ads to reach potential patients. One thing they were both sceptical about was the idea of using “influencers” to attract new patients.
Perio Talks podcasts can now be accessed directly from the EFP website, which has a new page dedicated to them, as well as on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor.fm.