By DentistryIQ Editors

Over 50% of dentists now actively employ social media as a promotional tool

Toronto, ON – June 23, 2016 – 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% of respondents now actively employ social media as a promotional tool, an all-time high, and progressively trending upward from 13% in 2012 when the question was first asked, 25% in 2014, and 33% in 2015. 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%), “E-Newsletters/Newsletters/Direct Mail” (35%), and “Traditional Media Advertising” (33%) were the least popular current tools in 2016.

There is also a large percentage of respondents (35%) were either planning to use (16%) or considering using “Social Networking” (19%) in the future. While only about a third of respondents are currently utilising “Community Service,” 45% are either planning (16%) or considering (29%) its use in the future. Dentists also expect more widespread use of “E-Newsletters/Newsletters/Direct Mail,” with another 41% either planning (15%) or considering (26%) their use.

RELATED: Research report—Social media and practice promotion for US dentists  

This movement to online promotion mirrors where dental patients are telling practitioners they are getting information on dental treatment options. According to the survey, 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 practice operations

Computerisation in the dental operatory continues to trend upward to another record high of 87% (up significantly from 73% last year and 52% in 2010) of dentist respondents having terminals in their operators, while 2/3 (66%) overall have an “Internet/Email connection” on those terminals continuing the steady increase from 54% last year and 49% in 2013. For the first time, all respondents had an “Internet/Email connection” in the office in some way, with 92% having a connection at the “Front Desk” and 82% 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% and all-time high) have used the internet for dental purchases (up from average of 52% over past 5 years and the initial 8% 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%, 19 times out of 20.