THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Digital Word of Mouth

Ten years ago, people like me were asking people like you to ask for written testimonials from people who liked you. Five years ago, people like me were asking people like you to ask for video testimonials from people who liked you. Now, people like me are asking people like you to ask people who like you to “like you”. And also to “share”. When was the last time you wrote a letter? How easy is it to get those videos (even though at 7connections we still consider them to be critical, especially for Lifecycle Marketing)? How many of your patients carry a smartphone with a camera? SHARING IS THE NEW WORD OF MOUTH A number of our clients are now habitually asking patients for a “selfie” at the end of treatment. Many of our clients have internally appointed a “roving reporter” whose job it is (perhaps at a daily huddle) to spot the potential scoops and stories that will make share-able content for their social channels and newsletters. A lot of my critics and detractors suggest that the obsession with “selfies” on my own Facebook profile is a sign of a psychiatric disorder. The reality is that I’m an obsessive marketer who wants to keep his costs as low as possible. We can and do pay for paid media (traffic to our web site) as that has become a business necessity for us all. But I’ll speak at non-sponsored conferences free of charge, I’ll guest publish articles for no honorarium and I’ll sit around sipping coffee for three days at a dental trade show – all because the visibility brings clients. And, you’ve guessed, every time I take a “selfie” with a dentist client, prospect, supplier, thought leader or friend, it sends a confirmation message that we are in demand and busy. That we are the type of people it might be worth getting to know. The same goes for you in the business of attracting new patients. Every time you share an emotional patient story on social channels it has the potential to be shared. Every time you obtain a patient “selfie”, your network and their network see a happy person whose life you have changed for the better. If you were thinking that Facebook is for students, drunks and drunken students, think again. The latest surveys indicate that around 42% of regular Facebook users are over age 35 – and they are posting and sharing on a daily basis. Positive and negative customer service experiences, retail purchasing tips, disappointments and delights. A major mission in your marketing strategy is to become the subject of a delighted post that people will be compelled to share. Selfie or story – either will suffice.

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