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The challenges and opportunity of managing your reputation on social media

Date: June 2021

Author: Natalie Bradley BDS Dip SCD MFDS RCSEd

Social media is a key marketing tool in the 21st century with multiple media platforms proving to be powerful tools in building practice health. You might want to have a social media presence in order to build loyalty with your patients, target new patients, deliver advice to supplement in-person consultations or demonstrate your expertise. However, once something is out there on social media, it is there for the world to see, so there are 'dos and don'ts' if you are considering building a dental profile on social media.

Dos

  1. Choose the platform you use wisely. Think about your target audience - which platform do they use? Younger people are more likely to use platforms such as Instagram or Tik Tok, versus middle-aged and older people using Twitter and Facebook.

  2. Be authentic to you and your practice's brand.

  3. Create original content.

  4. Be transparent about what you do. Explain the steps behind providing a certain treatment, be upfront about time frames and costs.

  5. Bring in team members. More than one person can contribute to a practice's social media presence. Share the load but make sure that you are consistent in your messaging.

  6. Use post-scheduling tools to help manage the timing of the release of content. This means you can bulk create content that can then be drip-fed onto your media feed over time without any additional manpower. Scheduling posts also allows you to release content at the time when you have the most engagement from your audience, for example, traffic often runs higher in the evenings rather than during the day.

  7. Monitor comments and messages so that you can follow up on potential clients and also regulate what is posted on your content.

  8. Use social media tools such as templates to create posts - there are many applications that allow you to do this for free.

  9. Create calls to action such as booking a dental appointment or contacting you so that your audience knows how to engage.

Don'ts

  1. Rush content. Managing social platforms can be a whole job in itself on top of the day-to-day job of being a dental professional! Set enough time aside and be realistic in what you achieve.

  2. Plagiarize content - always credit other sources when you are using content from elsewhere.

  3. Forget to add your professional or practice logo to posts.

  4. Forget to keep on top of recent news and trends. You need to be able to create up to date and must-read content for your followers.

  5. Only use social media for promotion or selling. People want to engage and follow accounts of people they connect with so share other content too, such as something more personal like a birthday or celebration, or a funny quote.

  6. Post too often. Quality over quantity any day!

  7. Forget to use hashtags, especially on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

  8. Post anything unprofessional or controversial.

And finally don't forget to be patient and try different things! Building a profile and a following will take some time and doesn't happen overnight. Try out different content ideas, learn what your audience engages with and what they don't engage with. Persevere and, most importantly, stay professional.

Last but not least, please refer to your local regulator or indemnifier's/insurer's guidance on the use of social media.