Social Media: How to best utilize it in your practice.

Fun Facts for Facebook

A Social Media Guidebook for Dental Practices

So you’ve decided to engage in social media and have created a Facebook page as well as a Twitter, YouTube channel – and perhaps more.  Now what?

This is the step where most practices fail in properly utilizing social media.  They fail because they don’t know the following:

  1. Who to add as a friend?
  2. What to post?
  3. When to post?
  4. Which site do I post to?

The purpose of this particular blog is not to get into the How’s or Why’s – that’s a different article and a subject well reviewed already.

Who are my Friends?

After creating a new profile the first step on any social media is to add friends. The important thing to remember is that this profile is for your business, not your personal account.  In any marketing effort, rule #1 is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.  In this case, your audience is anyone online who is or may be a potential patient.

In card games and dominos, there’s also a saying – Not all money is good money.  Likewise, not all friends are good friends.  Since Facebook is a great area for referrals, you don’t want to invite a patient who had a potentially bad experience to Join you on Facebook.  If you do, next thing you know you may be doing damage control.

Many practices hand out cards or ask for reviews when a patient who seems to have had a good experience is checking out.  This is the same idea.  If you trust this patient or feel like their experience has been exceptional, hand them a card asking them to like you on Facebook or write a Yelp review for you.

You have the ability to regulate your friend base and in doing so you have the ability help shape and spin your public opinion.

Which Site do I Post to?

So you have your profiles set up and now have a friends base – which social media site do you place your post on?  Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Keep your posts short for Facebook and they will automatically get tweeted for you.  You can kill two birds with one stone this way.
  2. YouTube – this site is purposed for Video sharing.  Here you will post any videos you have of your practice.  Don’t ignore this YouTube, if you don’t have any videos – make some!  You would include videos such as: office tour, patient testimonials, message from the doctor, etc.  Embed these videos on your web site too.
  3. LinkedIn – this site is purposed for professionals and their associations.  This is more for business type posts than personal or fun posts.  It is important to maintain your professional relationships as well.  There are many dental groups you can join.  Yes, many of the members send out incessant marketing spam, but there are genuine dentists only groups where professional research and ideas can be shared.  It is a great place to get doctor referrals.
  4. Digg, Stumble, etc – Each of these sites has a purpose, know the idea and feel of the site and understand the community prior to posting.

How Often do I Post?

Again, it is important to understand the community you will be posting to.  It is recommended to take 1-2 months of watching others post prior to making your own.  You can see what impresses or upsets the community that way.

When you are ready to post, do not post every day.  For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes it is recommended to post at least once per month but no more than once per week.

Social media can become a burden and there is no need to hire someone to monitor your campaigns full time.  I recommend posting every other week and picking one day per week as social media day.  It should take 2-4 hours to research groups, add friends, accept requests, etc.  You do want to check and respond to message at least every other day  (preferable every day) – but this shouldn’t take long at all.

What do I Post?

First of all, you don’t want to be the community bore.  Everyone hates posts that just say – “I’m going to the store now”, or “Check out this pic of my dog in a new sweater”.  If you are not careful in your postings, you can destroy that carefully built friends list.  People will drop you as a friend and you will lose traction in the community.  Your posts will come to be ignored.

Instead, it is important to post items of value.  Posts should do as much of the following as possible:

  1. Humor people.
  2. Interest or intrigue people.
  3. Posts that others would want to share.
  4. Show your community involvement and your local activities.

If you would like information on sharing photos, here is an excellent article on Tips to Enhance Your Facebook Page with Photos.

For text posts, one of the easiest things to post are basic dental related facts.  These are written with a bit of a twist so that they are educational and informative but also humorous or interesting.  Feel free to use these on your page.  Here are 10 of our favorites:

  • Children who receive preventive dental care early in life have lifetime dental costs that are 40% lower than children who do not receive care.
  • A toothpick is one of the objects most often choked on by Americans.
  • Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different.
  • People who drink 3 or more sugary sodas daily have 62% more dental decay, fillings and tooth loss.
  • A Dentist invented ‘Fairy Floss’ or Cotton Candy.
  • A tooth that has been knocked out starts to die within 15 minutes, but if you put it in milk or hold it in your mouth it will survive longer. See your dentist ASAP!
  • In general, girls have more taste buds than boys do.
  • Common oral problems have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, and more.
  • Did you know that 80% of unused brand new toothbrushes are contaminated with bacteria? Always disinfect your new brush.
  • You get two sets of teeth for free in a lifetime, but the third one will cost you

You can review a more complete list here:

Also post to videos of dental related topics or fun pics, here are some ideas:

Feel free to comment on this blog and add your own ideas for everyone to read.

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