Canadian dentists continue to increase their use of social media to promote their dental practices, according to results from the DIAC (Dental Industry Association of Canada) Twentieth Annual Future of Dentistry Survey.
Over 50 per cent of respondents now actively employ social media as a promotional tool, an all-time high and progressively trending upward from 33 per cent in 2015, 25 per cent in 2014 and 13 per cent in 2012 when the question was first asked. This year’s large jump in utilisation has moved the social media option from last place to number 3 on the list of preferred promotional options, after the traditional “asking for referrals” (#1) and “promotion of new technologies” (#2), which continue to be the most popular tools. Community Service (36 per cent), e-newsletters/newsletters/direct mail (35 per cent) and traditional media advertising (33 per cent) were the least popular current tools in 2016.
There is also a large percentage of respondents (35 per cent) were either planning to use (16 per cent) or considering using social networking (19 per cent) in the future. While only about a third of respondents are currently utilising community service, 45 per cent are either planning (16 per cent) or considering (29 per cent) its use in the future. Dentists also expect more widespread use of e-newsletters/newsletters/direct mail with another 41 per cent either planning (15 per cent) or considering (26 per cent) their use.
This movement to online promotion mirrors where dental patients are telling practitioners they are getting information on dental treatment options. According to the survey, the internet achieved an all-time high rating and was ranked as the top patient source for the first time. This was followed by the more traditional sources of family members, friends, etc. and dentist/dental team presentations.
Computerisation is also impacting on practice operations
Computerisation in the dental operatory continues to trend upward to another record high of 87 per cent (up significantly from 73 per cent last year and 52 per cent in 2010) of dentist respondents having terminals in their operatories, while 2/3 (66 per cent) overall have an internet/email connection on those terminals continuing the steady increase from 54 per cent last year and 49 per cent in 2013. For the first time, all respondents had an internet/email connection in the office in some way, with 92 per cent having a connection at the front desk and 82 per cent with a connection in the private office. This movement to internet utilisation was confirmed by the 2016 result that well over 3/4 of respondents (84 per cent and all-time high) have used the internet for dental purchases (up from average of 52 per cent over past five years and the initial 8 per cent in 2000).
Over 200 practicing Canadian dentists responded to this year’s survey with a good proportional distribution across all regions of the country. Based on this response rate, overall 2016 survey results have an accuracy of +/- 6.8 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Source: Twentieth Annual Future of Dentistry Survey
Dental Industry Association of Canada / Eric P. Jones & Associates Inc.