First of all, if you are unfamiliar with Facebook, join up for free at www.facebook.com, if for no other reason than to say you did! Facebook is a social networking website where people across the globe post profiles and connect with other folks. Facebook is a form of “social networking” for individuals and businesses. Do dentists do social networking?
I decided to see what turns up on Facebook with a simple search for “dentist.” Here’s what I found (my regional network is Dallas/Fort Worth)…
- First, I found a dentist. Actually, I found one of Dallas’ top cosmetic and implant dentists who has websites and a Facebook account. Alas, the Facebook was empty!
- Next, I found “Cad Cam Dentist,” apparently a doc who signed up over a month ago, posted some D4D pictures, and got busy elsewhere. Not much action going on there.
Then came the groups:
- DENTIST (159 members), a “common interest” group with a silly little old man dentist for an icon.
- Dentist (169 members), a “just for fun – Facebook classics” group. It’s a closed group, so you have to be invited or approved to get in. They must be plotting how to take over the world with teeth?
- From there, it really went downhill – sad, forgotten groups with a handful of members.
So all in all, dentists are not using Facebook in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for social networking. Let me explain how an active, beneficial Facebook account works for a dentist.
- If you want in on social networking, start with claiming a home on the Internet. Start with a website! Contact TNT Dental if you need direction in this area.
- Set up a free Facebook account for business. You might use your logo for the picture, put speaking events on the calendar, and for your profile, use a professional bio.
- Ask your web design/hosting/support provider to add the Facebook logo and link to your website’s homepage.
- On the newly established Facebook account, create photo albums for before and after cases, special events, team pictures, etc. Invite your patients (by email form on Facebook) to “become your friend” on Facebook.
- At least once a week, if not more often, post an update, such as a testimonial video from YouTube, a before-and-after case in your album, information on a particular product or technology, news in dentistry, a cool link that your patients might like, and/or a tip for patients’ oral homecare.
- DO NOT FORGET ABOUT YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT! Many, many dentists start out gung-ho, then get busy with life. If you do not have time to devote to social networking, you have two options: 1) don’t even get started, or 2) teach your admin staff to manage your Facebook account and make it part of his/her job description to keep it up to date.
The benefit? The more presence you have online, the better your Internet marketing. The Yellow Pages is in bankruptcy. People look for dentists online. You want to appear like you’re technologically savvy and genuinely interested in your patients? You want to leverage the web to your advantage? Social networking is the key. It takes time and commitment. There’s just no way around that part.
So you have a website or two, and your practice has an active Facebook account. Take your social networking strategy a step further – start a blog on your website, and when you post to your blog, Twitter it! Sounds Greek, you say? We’ll review Twitter soon, so stay tuned to DentalBlogs for more info on social networking for dentists!