You're online. But is your dental practice? While previous generations had to flip through the yellow pages or trust a friend's recommendation to find a dentist, patients today often turn to social media when searching for care. According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans use an application such as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat to stay connected. This means that social media is fast becoming a great way to draw eyes to your dental office, and you might be looking for social media tips. What should an office Facebook page look like? How can a busy dental hygienist find time to tweet about tissue regeneration? Read on for some useful ways to promote your practice.
There are many platforms available for promoting your office in a professional and positive way. The platform you choose depends on the audience you are trying to reach. Business News Daily recommends Facebook as a good place to start because of its name recognition and broad reach. People of all ages, from teenagers to grandparents, use Facebook worldwide. If your practice doesn't yet have an official page or account you should consider making one. It's a free way to promote your practice and can be used to share photos, videos and news of what goes on in your community and around the office. Allowing patients to see how your team interacts with each other also showcases the human side of business and encourages patients to interact between appointments.
An account with Twitter or Instagram can give your dental team a more concise way to share photos and snapshots. For practical purposes, you can elect one person to manage your posts, or share login information to divide the daily or weekly responsibility of sharing online.
As important as it is to get information out, it's equally important to monitor what is being communicated. Do you want to profile individual dentists and dental hygienists? Feature pediatric brushing stars or folks who have a cavity-free streak? If you do want to include information on patients, be sure to obtain written consent and do not violate HIPAA. In addition to giving patients an inside view of the people caring for them, you can use your social media accounts to share good oral health tips and ideas.
Colgate offers helpful resources through the Colgate Oral Care Center. This library of articles for professionals and patients ranges from cosmetic topics like at-home whitening to preventive care tips such as ways to avoid edentulism. Since they're all online, it's easy to link to a topic on your Facebook page. Brainstorming timely information to share (like an article on the importance of mouthguards when kids' sports practices start up in the spring) can help "drive traffic" and bring readers' eyes to your accounts. Posting dental advice in interesting ways also helps patients see you as a friendly resource, and not just a place to go to when they have a problem such as toothache.
People use Google and other search engines to search for nearby dental offices, and use the reviews they find to help determine if a practice is one they want to go to. Google's Online Marketing Challenge offers you ways to see how your office stacks up online, and provides suggestions for increasing the number of people who find and view your website or page. Even negative reviews can be good information for your office. Take the time to reach out to dissatisfied patients to find out how you can improve. Seeing you react nicely to critics online will also give prospective patients a good impression of your team.
Offering giveaways can be a positive way to find out what your patients think of your office. Promotions don't have to sound like a sales gimmick. They serve a dual purpose by promoting your office online and rewarding patients who take the time to try out your practice or give feedback. Prizes don't have to be big — promote oral health by entering online reviewers in a raffle for an electric toothbrush.
Whatever format you choose, connecting over social media will help your practice to interact with readers far beyond appointments. Brainstorm ways to share good oral health and uplifting ideas with all of your current and future patients!
- Connect with the community and your patients by creating a Facebook or other social account for the office.
- Promote good oral health with free resources that benefit patients and the practice.
- Use social media to gather useful patient feedback.
By promoting your office through social media, you can find new ways to support the community and your patients.