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VIDEO - DUwHF #939 - Rita Zamora
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AUDIO - AUwHF #939 - Rita Zamora
Rita Zamora is an international speaker and published author on social media and online reputation management. She and her team have been helping dentists and specialists across the country with social media training and custom monthly management programs since 2007.
Rita served as a Contributing Faculty Member on the topic of marketing for the American Dental Association Center for Success Certificate Program. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. With over 20 years experience in the business of dentistry, working with general and specialty practices, she also brings a solid understanding of the dental world to the table.
Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Rita Zamora who is an international speaker and published author on social media and online reputation management. She and her team have been helping dentists and specialists across the country with social media training and custom monthly management programs since 2007. Rita served as a Contributing Faculty Member on the topic of marketing for the American Dental Association's Center for Success Certificate Program. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. With over twenty years' experience in the business of dentistry, working with general and specialty practices, she brings a solid understanding of the dental world to the table. And I want to show you, I just re-tweeted, you can follow her on Twitter @RitaZamora. An amazing dentist, Theodore J. Borris, I learned he attended her class at Chicago Midwinter and he wrote, "I learned more about the need for a social media plan in an hour than at any time previous. I hope you realize what a professional image you project on the stage. Compliments, compliments." So, I just re-tweeted that. And they invited you to come back again in 2019. So, Rita, when I got out of school, it was the Yellow Pages, and in 1987 I took out a full page out in the Yellow Pages and it got me a free dinner from the executive director of the Arizona State Dental Association to take me to lunch and tell me how that was ruining the image of dentistry, and if I needed a bypass would I pick someone out of the Yellow Pages, and this is a bad thing, and now Yellow Pages have kind of been replaced by social media. Is there even a place left for Yellow Pages in rural farming areas or is it all dead everywhere?
Rita: Oh, gosh, you know what I've learned, Howard, is to never say never, because then people get in touch with me and they're like, "But, what about ...", you know, and so, there is still a place I'm sure somewhere, you know. We've got little teeny, tiny mountain towns here in Colorado where I'm based, and they may not have access to Wi-Fi, they might be old-school and just still using like their local, you know, Yellow Page book or whatever. But, for the most part, for mainstream for the most part, not really. Yellow Pages are done for the most part.
Howard: So, what's got you most excited about social media? What did you tell Theodore in an hour, that he learned more than in his entire previous education? If someone said to you, "What social media?", because, at the end of the day, dentists don't want social media, they want new patients. How does social media translate to me getting another patient through the door to do my craft?
Rita: Most importantly, it's that people can actually get to know you and vet you and feel like, "Hey, this is really who Howard is. I trust you and I like you and I'm connecting with you in some way. I think, you know, this is going to be the best fit for me." That's the Number 1 reason to be using social media.
Howard: But, yeah, Rita, one of the problems we have is when you go to the store and buy Folgers coffee or you go buy an iPhone, you know what it is, but when you go to a mechanic or a dentist and he tells you, you need to change your transmission or you have four cavities, the consumer ... it's all based on trust. I mean, how do I know? I mean, I grew up with five sisters and played Barbie dolls till I was twelve. I don't know what a transmission is. I don't know any of that stuff. So, when that guy tells me I have to have a new transmission, it's just blind, naked trust, and I'm sitting there thinking, that's what all my patients must feel like when I tell them they've got four cavities.
Rita: Right. Yeah. I mean anybody who uses a smartphone knows that they can research anything, anytime, anywhere, and get all sorts of information, you know. And, so, why wouldn't they want to know as much as possible about who it is that's going to be this close to them and looking in their mouth and have them in this, you know, vulnerable position in their dental chairs, so, people might be intimidated or they might be scared or nervous or whatever, and that just helps them to feel like they get to know you and connect with you in some way. So, it's super, super important, and especially with the Millennial, you know, generation growing up. They're ... it's a non-negotiable. Like, they want to know they're working with someone or paying someone for their dentistry that is authentic and hopefully, you know, would also be working towards a cause that they believe in, have something in common with them, and if you don't have that trust factor, it's going to be, you know, very difficult to attract new patients.
Howard: So, how do you build trust? You're saying that social media should be building trust. How does a young dentist establish trust? What are the keys to establishing trust? Now, I know you've spent years working in a dental office, presenting very big perio implant cases, so, you've been in the trenches for a long time. How can a dentist be more trustworthy?
Rita: Yeah, I learned a lot about trust and, yeah, I mean, being in the trenches, a lot of people don't know that I'm a dental person at heart still. I mean, one of my favorite jobs ever was doing case presentation for big perio and implant cases. And when you're looking at a patient face-to-face and telling them, you know, "You need to have all of your teeth removed, or some teeth removed, and here's the treatment plan, you know, to have the dental implant treatment done." And this was back, you know, probably, gosh, ten, twelve years ago, and we were doing big dental implant cases, patients were afraid and nervous and, you know, had all sorts of questions and if they don't have a trust level with your practice, they're going to go somewhere else or they're not going to do it. So, I really loved talking with patients about their treatment and working with them in that way, and that's really all social media is too. It's showing people who you are through photos or video or through the written word - if you're into writing, you know, blogs or whatever - but letting people see who you are, who your team is, in different formats that you're comfortable with, and letting them see what you're all about; not just the type of dentistry that you offer and what you're really good at clinically, but also who you are as a person. And there's lots of different ways to do that, even if you're a really private person.
Howard: Rita, when you say, 'social media', what does that really mean? I mean, g*d, there is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest. What do you recommend a dentist ... should they be doing them all? Or what is the most effective to the least effective? Like, if you could put those in order of getting new patients to come through the door, how would you line up that list?
Rita: Gosh, I almost think of that as, not really a trick question, but there's so many different right answers, so, I'll give you the main, the biggies are, of course, Facebook, Instagram, and then, I would say those are the top, the big ones. And then the least effective I would say are Twitter, you know, unless you're some kind of a Twitter, you know, fanatic, genius person that really loves it, because that's a component - if you don't like the social media that you're using and you're the dentist or the social media manager for the practice, it's probably not going to do well for you. But, for sure, the big ones are Facebook and Instagram, and then, you know, when you look at Twitter it's not really going to benefit you. LinkedIn is something that you could set up a platform, a piece of online real estate I call it, so, set up a place card for yourself there, and you're probably going to get a lot of invitations from sales people, but it's one more place to set up an online piece of real estate for yourself. And Snapchat's another one that, you know, we could talk about to you. There's some doctors who love that and that might be beneficial for them, but for the mainstream it's Facebook and Instagram.
Howard: Well, I've noticed the stock in Twitter and Snapchat has lost over half of its value, and do you think that's why, because it's not as effective a marketing tool?
Rita: Well, we use Twitter and, you know, even back in the day, like, you know, when there weren't that many people using Twitter and you could use it to follow local people and see if they would reciprocate and that sort of thing, I mean, it just never really took off, and you can't leave reviews there. Only until recently is Twitter really accommodating photos and videos, so, you never really had that aspect available there. Maybe that's part of why it didn't take off. And then Snapchat's really losing out to Instagram now that they're replicating a lot of their features, and people, I think, are seeing, from what I've read, just a lot of ads on Snapchat and not feeling that same momentum, at least with the population that we're looking to attract into dental practices. You know, teenagers and younger kids, that might be a different story.
Howard: Well, so, you're basically saying concentrate on Facebook and Instagram?
Rita: For the most part, yes.
Howard: And we like that because Mark Zuckerberg's dad is a dentist, Ed Zuckerberg.
Howard: So, we have a soft spot for Facebook and Instagram. Instagram, they say it was probably Mark's best investment idea ever. I mean, he bought that thing for a billion and they said if they spun it off on its own today, it'd have a higher valuation than Snapchat. But, so, what should a dentist do on Facebook and Instagram? What would you advise them to do?
Rita: Well, looping back around to what Dr. Ted Borris of the Chicago Dental Society, the Chicago Dental Midwinter meetings, said about the social media plan, was to think about, you know, what your goals are, what is it that you're trying to accomplish, and dentists are all trying to accomplish different things by using social media. They may not know it, but we get to see that. In fact, I just wrote an article about what kind of social media dog are you, using dogs as an analogy for the different ways to use social media, and, you know, you have practices that are just getting established and trying to understand how they can leverage the tool - what they should be posting, how often - and then you have, you know, some superstar practices that are really into some high level marketing and advertising strategies and tactics and they're using social media differently, so, we'll look at what is it they're trying to achieve. And then we look at, you know, who's going to manage social media for them? Are they going to manage it internally, or do they need some external help? And then we look at a content strategy for them, because some people don't necessarily even understand why content matters and how that's going to impact your brand and how that impacts the trust level that you can build with patients. So, we'll look at those main components.
Howard: So, what are my homies going to find on your website, ritazamora.com? If they went there, what are they going to find?
Rita: They're going to find a blog that goes on and on for years. I've been blogging for many, many years, so, they'll get to see what's inside of my head through the blogs that I've written over the years. I think that's really important. It's just like dentists showing patients who they're going to see. I think it's important for people, before they engage a consultant or a service, to understand where their perspective comes from, you know, is this the right type of person to help me and my practice. And they'll also get to see where they might be able to find me at speaking engagements and get some ideas on resources for other things that might benefit their practice.
Howard: Well, you know, dentists, one of their biggest, biggest, biggest problems, my dad solved for me on Day One, you know, when I got a dental surgery, he said, "Congratulations, son, you're a doctor of dentistry, but you don't know sh*t about anything else." And so many of these dentists, you know, I've known them for thirty years and they sit there, and they say, "I can't believe I never realized my lease said this, so now I'm forced to move, and the grocery store is expanding." I'm like, "Well, dude, you should sue your attorney! Who the hell read that for you?" "Oh, I run it by an attorney." I mean, they really know everything. It's like, "Really, you signed to a five year lease and you didn't have an attorney look at it?" So, they do everything themselves because they're a doctor of everything. I'm a DDS, I'm a Doctor of Dental Surgery. But most of them are DOEs, they're doctors of everything. So, they do all their own social media, and they were trained eight years in math and physics and chemistry, and they just think, "Well, anybody can do social media!", but you have social media management services. How much better do you think a specialist like you is than a doctor of everything?
Rita: Generally, we're going to be a lot better at it, because we've worked with many practices all over the country. I can tell you there is no cookie cutter answer to everything, because we've run the same ads and had the same program for different practices in different parts of the country, and what works for one, may not work for the other. So, there is some strategic noodle-throwing to some of this, but for the most part, we're going to save doctors a ton of time and help them to get a lot further, a lot faster, than them doing it themselves. It's just a much better use of their time. As you know, their profit margin per hour is best spent doing what they're trained in.
Howard: I know. I wish every dental office that, as soon as the dentist stepped off the rheostat, that red flashing lights would start blinking and everybody would run to the office and tell him to get back on the rheostat. How much is your service, and what does that include? What do you actually do?
Rita: It starts at five ninety-five per month, and that includes Facebook services, that includes a conservative Facebook ad budget - and I say 'conservative' because, as you know, some dentists can spend thousands of Dollars a month on Facebook ads and they can do very well with it. So, it depends on where the doctor is again in a practice on social media and whether or not, you know, that particular package at five ninety-five is going to be a good fit for them or not. So, we have to talk with them, make sure that what we have to offer is in line with their goals, and make sure we're the right fit for them first.
Howard: So, for five ninety-five a month, does that include ... does any of that five ninety-five go towards buying Facebook ads?
Rita: It does, yes. We'll boost or sponsor post Facebook ads. Correct.
Howard: But some dentists would say, "Okay, I'll give you the five ninety-five, but I really want a lot of Facebook boosts and sponsored posts", so, some of your clients give you a lot more money than that, right?
Rita: They may, yes. And they may actually be beyond what our agency is really offering. So, if they're looking to do something that's in the thousands per month and they have a funnel system set up and they've got strategic landing pages, they may be of a different type of social media dog, if you will, and if you read this article you'll understand how knowing which type of social media dog you are, knowing which type of needs that you have, may or may not be a good fit for our agency.
Howard: So, who is the most likely to want your services? Would it be orthodontists, because their average new patient is worth $6,500, whereas a general dentist, if you look at insurance data the average American spent last year - I think it was, four ... I think it was three eighty-five - which, so, do orthodontists more likely to be more aggressive on the social media marketing because their revenue per new patients are much higher?
Rita: They do. And actually, the orthodontists that I've visited with through my speaking engagements over the years, a lot of them have hired someone internally that can really work as a P.R. person, a social media person that might handle some other marketing, so, many oral surgeons are so progressive that they've actually got it dialed in internally. So, we mainly work with general practices. We work with quite a few oral surgeons, actually.
Rita: And, yeah, and also, we work with some dental corporate clients, as well. We have different ... we work with a magazine, with DEW - Dental Entrepreneur Woman's magazine - I'm sure you know Anne Duffy. So, we work with other, more corporate type of clients as well.
Howard: Nice. And when you meet these clients, when you meet general dentists, what would you say is that, when you meet them, what do you think they're struggling with the most in social media?
Rita: Gosh, I would say that they all have different challenges, depending on where they're at in social media, and some of them are just getting started, some of them are just trying to understand what social media is and how it can benefit their practice. You're obviously very familiar and, I would say, at expert level with social media. But there are a lot of doctors out there, even Millennial doctors, who may not necessarily understand what they need to do to attract patients that are of a different age than them, that might be more mature or spending time with tools, like Facebook, that they may not be as familiar with. So, they're all struggling with different things.
Howard: When oral surgeons come to you, are they looking for young Millennials to pull their wisdom teeth, or are they looking for Grandma and Grandpa to place implants? Because some people wonder. I mean, I get it. My four boys are on social media, but I know my mom isn't, and I don't know many Grandmas and Grandpas on Facebook. Is that changing because, if you're really an oral surgeon and you want a bunch fixed removable implants, I mean, you need Grandma and Grandpa. Is that really an effective medium to get senior citizens?
Rita: Well, yeah, in fact I thought you might ask that, so I have my statistic here: 62 percent of online adults ages sixty-five and older use Facebook, which is a double digit increase from 2015 to 2016. So, that's ...
Howard: So, it doubled to what from ...?
Rita: 62 percent. 62 percent of all online adults.
Howard: So, it went from 31 to 62 since 2015?
Rita: That's according to Pew Research.
Howard: Nice! Wow! So, that's really going to run all the kids off Facebook. Who would want to be on Facebook if your grandma was watching your posts?
Rita: Well, yeah, that's why they've gone somewhere else, because they're like, "Grandma and Grandpa are there. The principal's there. You know, teachers are there", so, they've definitely gone somewhere else, and even a lot of younger dentists that I've spoken to and dental students, in fact, I just wrote an article about it, saying how they say, you know, the F word, Facebook. You know, that's just something that they don't necessarily care for or, if they have a profile, they don't want anybody to know. But I've had quite a few dental students and younger dentists at my talks lately, because they want to see how we would recommend that people use Facebook to attract Baby Boomer patients. So, that's uncharted territory for them. So, for the first time ever, we've got, you know, older dentists that might be there, or more mature dentists, or dentists that are late adopters that are saying, "We don't really know how to use social media." But then, now we've got also dental students or Millennial dentists saying, "We don't know necessarily how we should use Facebook to attract Baby Boomer patients to our practice, because we're using Snapchat and Instagram." So, it's kind of an interesting time right now.
Howard: What percent of the marketing budget do you think should be social media, as opposed to say, you know, direct mail or a billboard or whatever? I mean, and am I too old school? My dad had Sonic Drive-In franchises and he just beat into my brain: location, location, location. When I was a little boy, you know, and he was expanding his Sonics, a lot of times Saturday morning, he'd give me up at like, gosh, you know, real early in the morning, he'd drop me off at an intersection where there was a lot of land for sale, and he'd say, "Here's a piece of chalk. When it's a red light, I want you to make a hash mark where the last car was, because I want to know if the cars coming the other direction can turn in, blah, blah." But, I mean, it was just all location, location, location. So, when I set up my office, I bought the land, built the building, a four thousand square foot building on a four-lane intersection with my big sign, Today's Dental, lit on two sides of the building, monument side. Do you still think location, location, location, or do you think that, if you were talking to a twenty five year old kid that just walked out of school, would you say, with social media it wouldn't even matter if you're in a medical dental building and had no visibility from the street, or do you still think visibility from the street is imperative? Talk about location, location, location versus social media, besides all the other stuff like direct mail. I would have to have a billboard because my intersection has like 30,000 cars go through it a day.
Howard: That's everybody in Ahwatukee. I'll never meet anyone in Ahwatukee where I'll say, "Well, do you know where Safeway is?" "Yeah." "You know where Chase is on the corner?" "Yeah." "That building there, right next to that? Have you ever seen that building?" "Yeah." "What is that?" "Isn't it a dental office?" And they don't even know I'm a dentist. So, talk about. That was a lot of ranting.
Rita: Right. Yeah, no, it's good. I mean, I like them both. So, I think, ideally you could have both. You'd want to have that great location and good social media. I mean, you can have awesome visibility and have a great location, and the marketing person in me loves that because you're going to spend that money once on your location, right. Maybe you own the building or whatever, and then that's your asset forever and you're in a great location. So, that's great for a number of reasons. But, if you're in that great location and you don't have a good presence on social media, people can't actually see who you are and they're not seeing things that they can connect with or you're not using social media well, then that good location is not going to benefit you as well as it would have back in the day when that was the only thing that people would use to decide if you're going to be a good choice for them anymore. So, you still have to have social media. It still is something - and it's going to become increasingly important for people to see who you are and what they can expect when they come into your practice - and so many dentists don't get that yet, they don't understand how important having even current photos. I tell people, when you come to my program, the most important thing is to have current photos, like, if you have that Olan Mills background and those poses, I mean, you probably know what I'm talking about, you know, I mean, get rid of those, because that immediately dates you. And that's an advantage that again, some of the dental students that come to my program lately are saying, "We're already getting online reviews from patients". I guess there's a portion of your practice that allows you to start getting ... or a portion of your education near the latter years where you can start treating patients and they're getting those reviews, so, they're entering the workplace with a great reputation, and that's going to impact more mature dentists when they're competing with younger dentists that have a better online reputation, because they've been more comfortable and more aggressive about it.
Howard: And speaking of online reputation, I just went on Dentaltown before the show and I did a search for Rita Zamora, and you ... several, several threads pop up and you have raving, raving fans on Dentaltown. But, when I go to ... but when I watch dentists on Dentaltown - and download the app today, it's free in the iTunes Store, or from Google Play - but you can do a search for anything. But when you watch them talk about social media, I swear to g*d, they have a brain explosion when they get a bad review. I mean, they want to get a lawyer, they want to go nuclear, they're just beside themselves. Whereas I am the other side of the deal where I realize there are seven and a half billion wild monkeys trapped on the surface of the earth and I think at least 20 percent of all humans on earth are completely batshit crazy, and I just say, if you stir poop, it makes it stink. I don't care, and it's ... but what would ... how would you talk a dentist back from the ledge when he gets a bad review? What do you do when there's a bad review? Do you answer in reply, or do you just let it go?
Rita: Well, the whole answer it in reply thing, I mean, we could spend like a whole show or two on that and, you know, and some ... I've even had debates in some of my talks where dentists are like, we've hired an attorney and here's what our attorney says, and then someone else will say, this is what our attorney says, and then they both kind of go at it, and I'm like, at the end of the day there might even be different attorneys with different opinions and you have to find one that you're comfortable with. So, you know, you do have to put this into perspective, and if you get a poor review about, you know, I tried to call you over the lunch hour and it took twelve rings or whatever versus I recently dealt with a practice that had a drug seeker that was harassing the practice and he left all kinds, like seventeen different reviews on Google and started leaving them on Facebook, and that's the thing I love about Facebook too, is they really put the kibosh on this account because it was a fake, you know, obviously a fake profile that was out to do damage and they just removed the reviews like overnight, which was great. And, so, you know, it just depends on what is the situation and I can never say, like, you know, don't get angry and don't get upset about this because everybody is a different person. So, you just have to look at each individual situation and my overall advice with people I've been talking about at my presentations, is to put together a social media crisis plan. You may never have to use it. Nine times out of ten you're probably not going to have to use it, but it helps you to at least feel confident you would know what to do if that situation ever comes up, and it's as basic as, you know, who is responsible in the practice for responding to the negative review. If it's really major, do you have an attorney or a risk management expert or a dental consultant that you can call? If it's popped up on Saturday at midnight and you're freaking out, who are you going to call? And then, understanding how you can respond to these negative reviews, keeping in mind HIPAA is most important, and planning out your response. I mean, this is what banks and airlines and cable companies do. They spend thousands of Dollars on these war room situations or scenarios, where they say give it to me, like give me the worst that you've got. I want to hear it. And they plan what their responses are going to be based on their legal guidelines and blah, blah, blah. So, anyhow, knowing what to do in that situation helps everybody to sleep better at night.
Howard: Sometimes, when we get in the morning huddle, someone will say, "By the way, someone yesterday wrote a review, blah, blah, blah, blah", and usually someone in the office goes, "Oh, my g*d, I know exactly who that was. That was Frank. I'll go call him right now." And, so, usually the guy just will take them down and come in. That's all we do.
Rita: Of course.
Howard: And if it's a complaint ... what I hate about the bad review is when someone comes in and they just want to talk to the doctor and I'll sit there, and I'll look at ... I'll be in the operatory and I'll talk to them for an hour and then it turns they, you know, they don't want to pay money, they don't have insurance, they just want me to do all this and then they don't want to pay me for, you know, thirty days, and I'll waste an hour and a half with them and I'll just say, "No", and then they'll leave and write a bad review. It's like, my g*d, you just came in and took an hour and a half my life, and then you're insane, and then you left a bad review. I want to ask you another controversial question. When you talk about social media on Dentaltown, my g*d, every thread regarding Yelp is ... dentists have ... I mean, really, no-one's ever ... I've never heard anything controversial about reviews on Facebook or Google, but, by g*d, when you start reading those threads on Yelp, it's extremely ... why is that? Do you agree with that or disagree?
Rita: Yeah, well, I'm just seeing the emoji right now, that's like, "Aaahhh!", you know. And I can tell you again, the fortunate position that I'm in is that I get to hear from dentists when I do my presentations all over the country, and generally there's a love/hate relationship with Yelp. I mean, there are pockets of areas in the country where Yelp is really popular, and it obviously shows up high on a Google search and it can benefit doctors who have a good, you know, reputation on Yelp. However, yes, I mean, there's those dentists that say, you know, we feel like they're out to blackmail us, because when you're paying advertising Dollars the bad reviews are filtered, and then you stop advertising and they show up again and blah, blah, blah. So, there's all of that controversy and I usually try and, you know, keep things at bay so we don't have a Yelp witch hunt and, you know, it is what it is. And I think people know that Yelp's business model is the way it is and that's why, again, I think Facebook is so beneficial, because you can scroll over people's profiles and see these are real, you know, individuals, you can see lots of information about who they are and what they do and maybe where they live and where they work, depending on how private or open they are, and that's another big benefit to having a good, solid social media presence is, even if you get a crazy person that sprouts up and writes something negative, people are going to go and look and say, "Oh, this Howard guy, he's a pretty good guy, actually. Look how cool he is", and, you know, it just really can help you to protect your online reputation as well.
Howard: Well, I was really excited to see ... you know, Amazon made a lot of money for a lot of years because they patented that one click shopping deal, so you didn't have to re-enter your credit card and all that stuff. You see it, one click, it's done.
Howard: And now they just patented the one-click video review, and I'm going to like that a lot better because, like, I'm sitting here thinking of, you know, the Farran family Thanksgiving dinner. I mean, if you said something, or Ryan said something, that would mean something totally different than a couple of my crazy aunts saying it. So, on that one-click video, I mean, that review ... if you can see that person saying the review, the context would be totally different.
Howard: I mean, you can spot crazy on a video.
Howard: So, it would be one thing if the person was matter of fact and talking and explaining versus somebody with crazy eyes and going crazy. So, I think the one-click Amazon review, or going to video reviews, I mean, just to me, personally, a video review means a thousand times more than a text review, because with the text review, I don't know who you are. You talked about Facebook ads. What about Google ads and YouTube? That's social media too. Are you all in Facebook ads? Do you do Google ads? And what's the difference in your amazing social media mind between a Facebook ad and a Google ad?
Rita: Yeah, we actually don't touch Google ads. I recommend if people want to do advertising with Google AdWords, that they work with someone who is super-experienced or is a Google AdWords certified specialist, because it's a totally different science, it's a totally different type of advertising, and you can blow a lot of money really quick on Google AdWords if you don't know what you're doing. It can be, you know, very, very bad, so.
Howard: What did you say, Google AdWord what?
Rita: A Google AdWords certified specialist. There's actually a test that you can take to become certified in Google AdWords. I know there's a lot of good agencies out there that aren't necessarily certified, but they're so experienced with Google AdWords that they know what they're doing, that, you know, it's just really important that you work with someone who has a lot of experience with it or is certified, because it's a totally different animal. So, we don't do AdWords.
Howard: So, basically what you're saying is, if you're going to do Google AdWords, you really got to be technically sophisticated, fancy or work for the Google AdWord certified specialists, but you really don't need to be that schmanzy-fancy to do Facebook ads.
Rita: It's just a different ... it's a different science, it's a different tool. So, Facebook changes every day. There's a new enhancement, there's a new option, there's all sorts of new things to take advantage of, and I think the thing that really drew me to Facebook initially, and that continues to intrigue me about Facebook, is that it's really all modeled off of social norms. And at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is really put the dentist or the specialist in their best light and put them in front of the patients that are going to be their ideal patients and leveraging that with Facebook as a way that really makes us feel good about what we're able to do for the dentist or the specialist or other clients. And we don't have that same option to leverage that authenticity and trust-building with, you know, with Google AdWords. YouTube ads, it's the same thing, it's a totally different animal, so that's why social media has really become our wheelhouse. We don't do website design and development. We don't do, you know, SEO for the website. It's really all social media.
Howard: So, do you ... but back to [00:36:42] [UNCLEAR], [0.1] you know, I'm a hardcore believer in location, location, location, good signage on intersection, and especially, you know, it's an appreciating asset. You're really big into social media. Do you think there's still any ... we both agree that Yellow Pages is pretty much gone the way of the T-Rex, but do you think there's still any place for direct mail and postcards?
Rita: I think there is, yeah. You know, it's just again, I would say, it just depends on your practice, on your area. I just spoke to a practice recently and they're in a very rural area and they're looking at buying the only billboard space that's available at the main entry in and out of their town. I'm like, "Go for it." I mean, why wouldn't you? Again, it's like, you know, that makes total sense for them. So, I think you have to really look at each individual practice and what's going to make the most sense for them. There are so many different marketing tools and options. I mean, one of the things that I do at my programs is show people just a basic marketing plan in a visual format, and a lot of people take pictures of it because they think they don't even really understand how to get all those pieces they have flying in their head into an orderly, you know, visual that they can see, and it's making sure all your internal marketing is, you know, really dialed in first, even before you start going to town on social media and things. Again, I think that you probably know, Howard, but a lot of other dentists or people that don't have that business savvy, may not really understand that you've got to get that foundation in place first before you start spending money on all these different marketing options.
Howard: Rita, I've been seeing more and more Millennials - I mean, young dentists, twenty-five to thirty - who say, "Skip the website." They say, "Well, you don't need a www, a website. I just have a Facebook page," and I'm like, "Seriously, dude? You're not going to do a website?" And they go, "No!". What would you say to a young kid who's started a practice, who says, "No, I'm just going to a Facebook page. You don't need a website." What are your thoughts on that? And how many times have we met a dentist that have done that on their own?
Off Camera: Especially in the Third World countries.
Howard: Oh, yeah, especially - Ryan is so correct - especially in Asia, Africa and South America. But it's here in the United States and it's rampant in Asia, Africa and South America.
Howard: Would you say that's a good idea or not?
Rita: Well, I think, you know, I think it's really cool if they can be successful without a website, then more power to them. I have been saying for the last few years that I think websites ... I mean, websites, as you know, they can be very costly for a dentist and there are a lot of dentists that have had, you know, not great experiences pouring money into SEO and trying to beat that whole Google game and I think with social media, you can move from a Google economy where people are going to search for things, to a discovery economy where people are discovering you through their use of social media, whether it be Instagram or what have you, and so, right now, I think people still expect legitimate - I shouldn't say legitimate - but they still would expect a dental practice to have a website, but I think that could change. And we've also got things that are in the mix with, you know, Facebook looking to keep people in the walled garden of Facebook as long as possible, so Facebook has added options like services tabs and they've got new options with the Messenger and the chat box, you know, different options that are evolving, so, I think that the need for a website will continue to lessen as time goes on and I don't know if that's going to be two years or five or ten years, but I, for one, would be really happy if I didn't have to maintain an expensive website and pay for SEO and all that jazz, so.
Howard: If someone asked you for a website referral, is there anyone you refer more than others, or do you have your go to on that?
Rita: Yes, and I've actually been very careful about who I refer to over the years, because as you know, Howard, sometimes website companies have, you know, come and gone and people from outside industries come in and are like, "Woo, these dentists have money to spend, and this is a great market", and then they're gone in a few years, so, I've been very careful about who I refer to and, you know, over the years people that I trust and that I refer to - actually my buddy here in Denver, Jeff Gladnick, I think you've interviewed him (his dad's a dentist), of Great Dental Websites, Jeff Gladnick. His dad is a dentist, like many of his family members are dentists. He's got similar value system to my business and he's just a smart, great guy, very ethical, so Great Dental Websites is one. I've also referred, over the years, to Jameson. I'm sure you know Cathy Jameson, Jameson Marketing & Management, Carrie Webber is Cathy Jameson's daughter and she's the face of the company, now one of the faces - her and Jess Webber. They're good people. They do a great job. And we have another company or two that we refer to on occasion, but, for the most part, I really look at referring to people that I know have a similar value system to ours.
Howard: Yeah, and Jeff Gladnick won the Townie Choice Award this year on their deal. And, so, you guys might not know about that, but every year since the beginning - 1998 - we have all the Townies vote on their favorite company in each category, and it's just amazing, you know, because everybody voting is a doctor and, my g*d, it's not like the People's Choice Award where everybody voting could be anybody. I mean, these are all doctors who bought these products and services with their own money. And I remember looking at these lists with Gordon Christensen before and he says, "You know, market data is so significant when your group of people have, you know, eight to twelve years of college." And it's just amazing how they just nail the best of the best. So, if you're not sure on your ... what I would say is this: if you're not have any problem with your composites or ... but you don't have any problem, don't change it. You have so many problems to fix. Never fix anything that ain't broke. But let's just say on your denture reline material, you know, you're just having problems, it's setting up, it's flaking off, go to Dentaltown, go to the Townie Choice Award, and see who did all the dentists vote for their favorite denture reline material. I mean, you know what works and doesn't work if you're doing it all day long, but it's usually those materials and services that you hardly ever use, and your homies took the time to vote and, yeah, Jeff Gladnick did that. So, what else? My big question is this: I think everybody knows what Facebook is, but I guarantee you a lot of people still haven't figured out Instagram or haven't looked at ... like all my drinking buddies, none of them are on Instagram. You know, we're all fifty-five, we've all got grandkids, our kids are raised. There isn't one of them that knows, that's ever seen Instagram or Snapchat, but just go back - if you were talking, if you were drinking with my buddies and they said, "Rita, what is Instagram, and how is it different than Facebook?" What would you say to them?
Rita: Yeah, I would say that Instagram is what Facebook was when Facebook Pages first got released in that it's an easier place to go and get that organic visibility and start to utilize the tool more organically before Facebook, you know, got too crowded. So, I think what really drew a lot of people to Instagram this past year was the politics. You know, the political stuff that was going on. People were just, like, over it on Facebook. So, they, you know, go in on Instagram, it's pictures and short videos and you can see all kinds of, you know, cool things without having all of that riffraff there, so, it was a great escape for people, but dentists, I think, there are a whole population of dentists that are very active on Instagram and they don't touch Facebook, because Instagram is incredibly successful for them. And if people want an example of a more mainstream, a great Instagram account they can check out, they should look at Rolling Oaks Dental. That is my friend, Dr. Larry Dougherty in Texas, does a great job. There's also - have you interviewed Brian Baliwas? Dr. Baliwas in California, in San Francisco?
Howard: [00:46:00] [INDISTINCT.]. [0.2]
Rita: You might wanna ... B-A-L-I-W-A-S. And I think his Instagram handle is @SFDentalNerd - N-E-R-D - which you gotta love. S-F, like San Francisco, Dental Nerd. So, he's got all kinds of ... he motivates me to floss every day!
Howard: And do you think I should podcast him?
Rita: Oh, for sure!
Howard: Well, can you send him an email and CC me?
Rita: Yeah, for sure. He came to one of my talks at the CDA San Francisco meeting last summer and was Instagramming some of my slides and things, and he's doing some cool things with social media. He says he gets a couple of patients a month just with the social media that he's doing. So, you know, there's lots of cool things that you could be doing on Instagram, but most importantly, using your hashtag with your local city or neighborhood that helps people to find you. That's really important. And, again, pictures - people want to see unique, nice pictures of your practice, of your team, or short videos, and just hopping on Instagram and following local people. So, the same things that we used to do with Facebook, but now you have the opportunity to do it on Instagram, and what's going to happen with Instagram moving forward, is that you're also going to see people having to pay for visibility, just like you do on Facebook now, when Instagram gets crowded. So, get on there. Get on board early.
Howard: So, when do you think they're going to do that? I mean, obviously ... I thought Facebook was the ultimate bait-and-switch. I mean, when Facebook started in 2004, you were all motivated to build up your community. And then as soon as your community got real big and Facebook got big, they said, "Oh, wait a minute. We're only going to push out about 6 percent of your posts. You got to boost the posts. Pay to play.".
Howard: So, it was all build your own community, and now it's like, now pay us money to reach your own community. When you think they're going to do that to Instagram? Is that your 2018 prediction, or do you think ...?
Rita: I don't know if it's going to happen in 2018. I think it just depends on how quickly, you know, it continues to get more crowded, but I don't see having to pay Facebook for that visibility as a bad thing, because, you know, people were feeling like they had to post every day on Facebook and now I tell people, you may only post on Facebook a couple of times a month and you can boost it and get far greater visibility than you did, you know, years ago when it was free. So, you know, and it's still relatively inexpensive to boost on Facebook and keep a good presence, when you compare that to what it cost you for your White Page listing years ago. I mean, that was like hundreds of Dollars just so people could find your phone number. So, you know, that's crazy. You know, at least now you're able to show people a little bit about who you are and start to build that trust with them, and you're getting a lot more than just letting them see your phone number.
Howard: So, how does it work with you? Because I know dentists, they always, before they buy, they always want to talk because they always have something special. If someone's listening to you right now and says, "Yeah, but Rita, you don't understand. I'm in the middle of Parsons, Kansas, and I mostly want to do implants on elderly, blah, blah, whatever it is." How do they contact you to see if you guys are a good fit?
Rita: They can reach out to me through a contact form on my website, or they can give us a call. And then what I usually do is send people a link for my acuity scheduling, so they can just look at my calendar online and find a time for us to talk that's convenient for them, and we have a conversation. I can show them some samples of other clients that we work with, so they can have a look at their social media presence and see if they like what they see and decide if it's going to be a good fit for them or not. We have usually a six-month period that we ask people to stay with us and then after that it's month-to-month, so, if they feel like their team can take the baton of the systems that we've set up, then more power to them. I encourage them to do that. We want to do whatever's in the best interest of their practice.
Howard: Just to set expectations, I mean, basically here's how my homies think. They say, "Look, Rita, I already pay my rent, mortgage, equipment bill, computer insurance, malpractice, staff, [00:50:23] [sounds like: FICA]. [0.7] I already pay all my bills. If I had ten more new patients a month, it be nothing but net." When someone calls you up and just says, "Look, Rita, I just want ten more new patients a month. How doable is that?" I mean, how doable? I mean, can someone really just do your program and get ten more new patients a month, or is that just way overly simplified?
Rita: That's way overly simplified, and thank you for saying that, because I can tell you we have worked with a client before that said they got a new patient from one picture that they posted on Facebook that the patient connected with and said, "You know, I like the fact that your practice is a father-daughter practice, and that's why I became a patient", and there are practices that we talk with they get multiple patients every month from social media, and other practices it may take months. I mean, it just really depends. And there's a lot of other factors that come into play, you know. So, certainly someone that's looking for ten new patients a month next month from their social media efforts is probably not going to be our ideal client, because the people that we're working with understand that they need to use social media not just to get new patients as a direct marketing advertising tool, but they're looking to really build trust with patients, expand their visibility, build a strong online reputation. So, there's a lot of other benefits to using social media, rather than thinking, "I'm going to put this one thing out there and then it's going to get me new patients." It just doesn't work like that generally, unless you're doing advertising that's in the direct advertising type of mode, where people can expect to get direct results from their advertising.
Howard: Do you know the best social media strategy of all time, the Number 1 winner of all time? What to do? This is what I advise my clients.
Rita: Share us.
Howard: Go to Africa and shoot a lion!
Rita: Oh, g*d!
Howard: That guy who shot Cecil, the lion. His website exploded. He got more publicity in a day than all the other dentists in America did in the last year!
Rita: Oh! Yeah.
Howard: Do you think since the lion's already been shot, that this time we should do, like, a giraffe or a penguin or go to Antarctica?
Rita: Howard, you do know, like, I'm a major animal lover?!
Howard: I know, I know.
Rita: That's just like, ughhhh!
Howard: I know, I'm just razzing you!
Rita: And, again ...
Howard: But, you know, what I'd like ...
Rita: ... as I've mentioned ...
Howard: Go ahead. Sorry.
Rita: No, I do want to say with that said, there are lots of different ways to do social media well. So, just because, you know, some people are opposed to hunting, I have to say, there are pockets of areas where being a hunter is cool, and for a practice to be able to do that and show that off, whether it be any kind of belief that they have or a lifestyle or whatever, it can be okay. You just have to be okay knowing that you're going to isolate a bunch of people potentially and it might be potentially very controversial. On the other hand, you might end up attracting your ideal client, and that's really what we have to do with social media. And when people look at my social media, they may feel like, "Oh, she's, you know, having a margarita on the deck. It's three o'clock in the afternoon. I'm not into that", or if they don't like animals or dogs, they maybe are not going to be that attracted to my social media, because I have my dog in a lot of pictures. I mean, you know, that's kind of my thing. So, I think ... I used to tell people, like, don't post bloody pictures of, like, surgeries and stuff like that on Facebook, but the plastic surgeons are doing live surgeries on Snapchat and Instagram and posting it on Facebook and they're getting patients from it.
Rita: So, there's also an oral surgeon at The Face Doc in Florida, and he's doing live surgeries on social media, and some people are into that. So, I would say, you know, I never say never and never say, you know, don't do that ever, because there is a place for almost everything, knowing that you're going to have some risks involved with that.
Howard: My prediction with Instagram is they're going to leave that completely alone until Snapchat stock goes to zero. I mean, I think they're going to wait till Snapchat dies. I mean Twitter and Snapchat are dying on the New York Stock Exchange ... or the Nasdaq. I think as soon as those guys die, it'll be over. But I was wondering, you know, everybody talks about FANG. They talk about Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google. But the other one is Microsoft, and what I like about Microsoft is the last bubble - because I think all these stocks are in bubble territory - but the last bubble that popped was March of 2000 and who was those companies? It was Microsoft back then, along with Intel and Cisco and Dell, and then, when I was little, when I was in school, a freshman in college in 1980, it was the Nifty 50 and it was Kodak and Xerox and all those. But Microsoft has been in the top of the last two bubbles and Microsoft just bought LinkedIn. So, do you think now that Microsoft bought LinkedIn that that might be a different animal a year from now?
Rita: Oh, my gosh, I think, you know, I don't know about how Microsoft is going to influence LinkedIn, but LinkedIn is also, from a B2B standpoint, as you know, Howard, I mean it's a great opportunity for you, for Dentaltown, for me, for other more corporate B2B businesses is a huge opportunity, because they are just starting to add some of those features, like video company pages have a lot of opportunity. So, there's tons of opportunity there and I think LinkedIn's been very careful about the growth that they're making, and I think they have nowhere to go but up from here, so, I'm very hopeful about LinkedIn. I love it, it's a great tool, not necessarily so much for dentists potentially, but I think, you know, so many people want to get on and sell and connect to dentists - that's the downside for them - but very hopeful about LinkedIn too.
Howard: Man, I can't believe we already went over an hour. We're already in overtime. They're sitting in their parking lot saying, "Would you two shut up so I can turn off my car and go to work?" But can I ask you an overtime question?
Howard: They're still asking about Angie's List. Is that relevant? What goes through your mind when someone says, “Angie's List”?
Rita: The first thing that went into my mind was, oh, my gosh, I haven't heard about Angie's List in a long time. So, there may be pockets of Angie's List lovers out there. I don't know but I personally am not that familiar with it. I see where Angie's List was a place where people could go and get local recommendations and things, but we get a lot of that on Facebook now. Like, do you belong to, like, your ZIP code's Facebook group? Like, my neighborhood has our own Facebook group. We police our neighborhood there. We get recommendations for different vendors, when someone needs a tile person or, you know, who had a good tree trimmer or whatever. And so that's kind of, I think, a free, easy way for you to get that type of recommendation. You know, also whether you need a new dentist and who they would recommend. I see that a lot in that Facebook group too. And I think that's free and people trust their neighbors. They can see who they're interacting with, where they're already spending their time on Facebook anyway. So, that's my two cents.
Howard: My personal favorite of Facebook marketing I think is this, I mean, most research I see ... well, what percent of Americans do you think currently don't have a dentist? What would you guess, Rita?
Rita: Oh, my gosh, I don't know. I don't even know where to start.
Howard: I mean, I routinely see numbers that are between 40 and 50 percent of Americans don't have a dentist. And so, the average person probably has a hundred plus friends on Facebook, and when you don't have a dentist, and you see your smart friend checking in at Today's Dental and you're like, "Oh, my g*d, Rita just checked in at ABC Dental", then she's going to text you and say, "Hey, is she a good dentist?" And I think that, you know, like these hygienists will just give the patient a free $1 toothbrush for nothing. I say, "Don't give them a damn free toothbrush until they check in on Facebook!".
Rita: Or Instagram.
Howard: Yeah, and you keep saying Instagram. Yeah. That's a ... and I've seen lot of research articles from Professor Galloway at NYU Stern and the Stanford School of Management and the Harvard School of Management, saying that a lot of data shows that Instagram is more effective than Facebook.
Rita: Well, it's just a different tool and I think, like I said, it's kind of like Facebook was back in the day when you could get all that great organic visibility. It's still fun. There's not a lot of politics and negativity there, so, we'll see. You know, Gary Vaynerchuk, who I'm sure you've heard of, said back in the day, that the marketers are going to ruin every social media. You know, we're the cause of pre-scheduling on Facebook, and now people have to pay, and when that rolls out on Instagram, the same thing will happen there, I'm sure, but ...
Howard: What I think is the funniest, so if you're listening to this and you're in dental school, I always tell my homies, email me - email@example.com - tell me your name, what country you're from, how old you are. Probably 25 percent are still in dental school and the rest are all in their thirties. I only get one e-mail a month, some guy says, "Dude, I'm as old as you." They're all young, but the one thing I want to leave your note on is, when I walked out of dental school, I had never seen a computer, I had never seen a cell phone. It's so exciting to live decade after decade and be fifty-five, because you never saw any of this coming. I remember, I can still remember walking into National West Bank of Wichita Bank with my old man and they had just installed an ATM machine, and we walked up and we were watching this guy with this and my dad and I looked at each other like, "Who the hell would use an ATM machine when you could walk in there and Lorraine will do it?" And we walked in there and we know Lorraine, "Hi, Lorraine!" and she did all our banking. We come out. That man was still trying to do this ATM machine. My dad and I looked each other and laughed and said, "That'll never take off!" I remember when I saw the first cell phone. It was a brick attached to a briefcase. And I said, "Yeah, you know, why wouldn't you just take a dime and go to the payphone at every gas station in America?" But, so, what I always wonder is - I'm fifty-five - g*d only knows what will be here at sixty-five. I mean, we might not even ... we might ... because we've lived through Friendster. I mean, there's going to be some next big thing, and you'll never see it coming, and it'll just come out of nowhere. It always does.
Rita: Yeah, but I do think, you know, authenticity and trust, moving forward, is the way. As we get more and more things available to us, it's harder and harder to make decisions. We live in an abundant world and having that trust and being able to, you know, connect with someone is what's going to help us make, you know, make those important connections in this busy world that we have, so.
Howard: Last and final question, has nothing to do with dentistry. You should never talk about religion, sex, politics or violence, especially on social media, but your State is famous for legalizing marijuana. My State, Arizona, is famous as the only State in the last election that did not legalize it. A lot of people in Arizona are very ... you've lived through the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, was it an issue, non-issue, you know, what would you tell the great people of Arizona?
Rita: I would say that it's been great for our economy. It's been awesome for our economy. There have been some downsides to it as well. We definitely have noticed an influx of, you know, wanderers, if you will, in the nicer weather months. They kind of come through and kind of camp out and hang out. However, because we were one of the first States to legalize, I think we may have had that bigger advantage to our economy and might have had that bigger influx of wanderers, so other States now, as they come on board with that, might start to ... might have less of a boom in their economy than Colorado did because we were first, you know, but hopefully they will take some of our wanderers out of our State.
Howard: So, you're in Boulder, Colorado, right?
Rita: We're just outside of Boulder actually, in Lewisville, which a lot of people haven't heard about, but.
Howard: What's the big football stadium in Boulders? Is it CU?
Howard: University of Colorado.
Rita: Yes, the Buffalos, the Buffs.
Howard: That is the most romantic city for me ever, Ryan. I don't know if I ever told you the story, but it was freshman year. My two roommates are now dentists. It was Gary Esoldi, who practices in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and Randy Kirwan, who practices in rural Kansas. And we were studying and trying to make As and all that, but the Rolling Stones went on tour and the closest they got to us was Boulder, and Heart opened up for them, and we packed in the car. We finished classes, jumped in the car and drove all through the night, all the way from Creighton University to Omaha, Nebraska, to Boulder, Colorado, and back then, in that stadium, it was three young eighteen year old guys. So, we just, kind of, bullied and pushed, probably got to within ten feet of the front of stage and watched Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, and I swear to g*d, that had to be one of the top ten greatest days of my life. And, my gosh, that was so fun. But, Rita, this show is only a success because I'm able to get on amazing people like you. Thank you so much for giving me an hour of your life to come on my show and talk to my homies. I'm sure they all enjoyed it. Thank you so much.
Rita: Thanks, Howard, appreciate you.
Howard: Have a rockin' hot day.