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Getting Social – Managing your practice’s social media presence

Date: May 2021

Author: Susanna E Scherer RDH, BSDH

Online digital marketing has become the preferred method of advertising in the 21st century. Patients turn to the internet to find websites, social media pages and reviews when they are researching a plethora of topics, including finding an oral health care provider. A dental office's social media presence can either encourage or discourage patients to schedule an appointment with the office.

There are many advantages to utilizing social media. According to Dentistry Today there are eight benefits to having dental social media, among them related to attracting new patients, relationship-building, brand awareness, performance tracking and marketing.

Your social media presence will be utilized to promote your practice and there are many topics you may choose to focus on. For example,

  • Highlighting office employees to include front desk staff, dental assistants, dental hygienists and dentists.
  • Oral health topics such as caries prevention or the importance of interdental cleaning.
  • Celebrate holidays.
  • Promote favorite oral care products.
  • Spotlight a service such as in-office whitening.
  • Feature a "star" patient; always be sure to obtain written consent first.

It is important to have someone who can actively monitor the social media presence. Your office may choose to have an employee who oversees this or you might consider hiring a digital media marketing specialist. Outsourcing this task may be helpful as dental professionals tend to already be busy with daily tasks in the office. A digital marketing specialist could oversee all social media platforms, messaging correspondence and the office website.

Whomever you choose to take on this role will be responsible for posting on behalf of the dental office. Additionally, this individual can answer questions that may be sent through direct messenger (DM) and can manage reviews. According to Google for Small Businesses, businesses that respond to reviews are perceived by consumers to be almost twice as trustworthy (1.7 more times to be exact) compared to non-responding businesses.

Positive reviews can be rewarding and encouraging. Current patient satisfaction paints a positive image of your dental office for prospective patients. Below are some examples of how your office can respond to positive reviews:

  • “Thank you! We hope to see you again soon.”
  • “Thanks for sharing your experience.”
  • “We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed your experience.”

Negative reviews on the other hand can be upsetting. It is important to not let your emotions take over. Remain professional and respond to negative reviews when you are in a calm mental state. Some suggested responses include:

  • “Thank you for your review. I'm sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience, but I really appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention.”
  • “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We're sorry you had a bad experience. ..."
  • "Thank you for letting us know about this."

Addressing reviews whether positive or negative shows you value all of your patients and the experience they have. Responding to reviews also provides the office with perspectives on areas in which you may be able to improve and areas in which you are succeeding.

Having a social media presence is important for practice building no matter what platform your dental office opts to use, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or a website. Be sure to have someone who is actively monitoring your platform so that content stays up to date and any questions or reviews that are posted can be addressed.

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