Facebook - Really?
I’m sure you have read or seen articles in all the monthly publications discussing the necessity of social networking. In order for you to make an informed decision, the first step is for you to become a user yourself.
They don’t come because you graduated top in your dental class or you have hundreds of hours of CE. They come because their visit is “not unpleasant.” If we can all agree that relationships are important in helping to maintain your patient base, how do you promote the relationships with your patients?
Basic Social Networking
Your assistant “Rose” calls “Paul”, the patient from the reception area, and as she is escorting him to the treatment room, she is also engaging him in conversation. When Paul is seated, Rose sits down beside him at eye level to review his medical history and asks other dental related questions. You enter the room, maybe shake hands with the patient if appropriate and comfortable, sit down “eye to eye” and carry on a brief (note brief) conversation about how Paul is doing before you get to business.
The patient is dismissed to the business coordinator, the treatment performed for the day and instructions on what needs to be scheduled next are relayed verbally to the coordinator, the assistant or hygienist bids the patient good-bye and the coordinator takes over from here. She asks how he is, did they get along okay today, and acts like she really cares. The financial arrangements are discussed and completed, and the coordinator bids Paul good-bye and thanks him for spending time with you and the team. This is basic social networking in a dental office, and it would be my hope that each and every practice does this each and every day with every patient that is seen.
There are still many dentists that don’t even have effective websites. Do you have a video welcoming patients to the office, as well as something fun being performed by your team? If you expect potential new patients to find you, you must have a presence on the web.
Do you have a Facebook page? First, I would suggest that if you don’t have a personal Facebook account, you get one for the sole purpose of seeing and understanding the value of being internet “social.” Please don’t expect your Facebook page to bring in new patients. It is for the purpose of being “social” with your existing patients. If you happen to get a few new patients as a result, then that is simply a bonus. Facebook is how you communicate with your patients when they are not in the office. It is how you remind them that you and your team are wonderful, and how much you care about your patients as people as well as patients.
Make it FUN! Viewing dental practice Facebook pages, some are interesting and some are simply boring. Maybe you don’t know it’s boring because you, as a dentist, are interested in reading about dental “stuff.” Your patients want to read and see interesting things that you and your team are doing, too. Post photos of the staff (assuming you have their permission). When you participate in a community event, take photos and post them. Run contests that are fun and offer cool gifts if you get 300 likes (as an example).
Let social media work for you, your patients and the practice.
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