Check Yourself Before Embarking on Your Social Media Sojourn

This bears repeating…Before you take the plunge into social media for your dental practice, consider what it is you want to achieve. There is no point spending time – lots of it, and money – not so much, interacting online if you don’t have a clear idea what it is you hope accomplish. The whole vision attached to a goal thing, and due diligence combined with proper previous planning prevents p*ss poor performance.

For example, I know everyone one of you would answer – “I want more new patients.” Yes, thank you Captain Obvious!

But think a little deeper. For instance, how will Facebook improve your referral system?

How can Twitter direct people to my blog?

Can I possibly align my practice with other local businesses (or referring specialists) through social media?

Before tweeting your first Tweet, blogging your innermost thoughts, or blitzing the Facebook community with useless info (to them), take some time to construct what it is you are planning to achieve, and how social media will help you get closer to that goal.

For dentists, social media is a complementary marketing component – an inbound thing in all likelihood. Meaning other things need to be in place to achieve maximum benefit from using social media in the dental practice. An effective team that is in board with your clearly defined goals, and a doctor that cares is a great foundation. Websites, SEO, and online video are some ways most of you are probably using already to build off that solid foundation.

Social media is another arrow in your quiver. Use it, but use it wisely. Take a good hard look in the mirror now, so you don’t spend more time and an incredible amount of money later trying to fix something that was broken before you went social with your practice. Social media will digitally amplify your practice word of mouth – if that’s not a good thing, then you have more pressing concerns that Facebook and Twitter.

It will serve your efforts best, any marketing efforts, to take an objective look at the practice. Maybe even do a Google search for your name and practice name.

What’s it like to sit in the chair, or enter the reception area for the first time?

How convenient is the checkout process?

These are just a couple of questions, but the point is taking an objective look at your practice and making sure you develop a plan. Even if it’s just an informal type outline you compile at the next staff meeting, start the conversation and take some time to plan before taking that first step.

Mistake number one most dentists make is jumping into social media with both feet, but without a plan. That and setting up a personal profile rather than a business page for the practice. And then there’s having a dedicated person to handle the updating, linking, optimization, blog posting, patient communications, account management, technical support…

Click here for the proper BUSINESS PAGE setup for Facebook:

You’ll want to complete that registration process for your practice Facebook page, which is totally different than the PERSONAL PROFILE set up.

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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.