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April 2011

Blogs-new-1Facebook and other forms of social media are changing the ways we interact with the world in our personal and professional lives. There’s a newfound ability to connect and engage with other people. You can build a presence for yourself online, which is a sort of community. This community exists in a non-physical space yet has a sense of the authentic relationships we build in the real world.

Many often wonder how they can give their practice a presence on Facebook that feels professional without being stodgy, and organic and fun without being flippant or silly. This would harness the potential inherent in social media, and it could make a positive impact on the practice and the patients.

Building this presence on Facebook does involve that mix of the professional and the personal. On the professional side, you’ll want to focus on the sorts of serious issues that matter to patients and their long-term care, such as your involvement in continuing education and the technology used at the practice. Yet there’s a personal side of things you can’t neglect. Every practice has a human face that’s important to show, and it comes through in the dental team, the personalities of the patients, and the way the practice interacts with the local community.

podcast48The following 15 suggestion will help you think of ways that Facebook can work for your practice. The professional and the personal sides of the equation are both covered in these suggestions, but the important thing is that you take these suggestions and then make them your own. Make your presence something fresh, exciting, and something that reflects you and your dental team. Hopefully by giving you a few ideas as a guide, you’ll be able to create the presence on Facebook that works best for you.

Facebook® Wall Tip #1.
ONLINE SUGGESTION BOX
One of the best ways to improve your practice runs is to take suggestions from your patients. Facebook comments allow for multiple patients to express concerns, so don’t be afraid to start a mutually beneficial dialog.

Facebook® Wall Tip #2.
PUT A QUESTION OUT THERE
Interact with your patients by asking a question. We don’t mean the suggestion box this time, though. Put something out there for them to ponder and talk about. It can be serious or funny as long as it gets them thinking.

Facebook® Wall Tip #3.
POST A VIDEO OF YOURSELF
If there’s something on your mind that you want to discuss, a great way to do it is with a quick video. It doesn’t have to be a production. Just set the camera up, look right into the lens, and speak to your patients from the heart.

Facebook® Wall Tip #4.
POST BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS
When you’ve improved a smile, share it on your wall. Before and after photos are testaments to the quality of your work. Be sure to set up an album for these before and after photos for current and prospective patients to browse.

Facebook® Wall Tip #5.
POST PATIENT TESTIMONIALS
Never take patient testimonials for granted. If you have any worth sharing, post them on your wall. If you can take a video of the patient delivering his or her testimonial, even better. You should also encourage your patients to post positive comments on your wall if they feel inclined.

Facebook® Wall Tip #6.
MENTION YOUR ONGOING TRAINING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
Learning new dental treatment techniques will make life better for your patients. Tell them about it online. Let your patients know how interesting it is for you and how it will be great for them.

Facebook® Wall Tip #7.
BE SUPPORTIVE AND STAY POSTIVE FOR YOUR PATINETS
With all of the negativity in the world (and especially on the internet), it’s always a breath of fresh air when someone says something uplifting. Think about positive thoughts and affirmations you can share with patients. Give them a reason to smile.

Facebook® Wall Tip #8.
TRIVIA IS NOT ALWAYS TRIVIAL
We run into interesting information everyday. If there are any facts you encounter about dental care or dental health that may be of interest to your patients, post it on your wall for them to see.

Facebook® Wall Tip #9.
HIGHLIGHT PATIENT S ON YOUR WALL
You have many great personalities visiting your practice. Turn the spotlight on a patient at your office that really makes an impression. Take a photo and share his or her story briefly.

Facebook® Wall Tip #10.
HIGHLIGHT A MEMBER OF YOUR TEAM
Your team is essential to having a great practice. Be sure to introduce them and acknowledge them on your wall. It’s a great chance for patients to get a better sense of the practice as a whole.

Facebook® Wall Tip #11.
MENTION PERSONAL MILESTONES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
You all have lives inside and outside of the practice, and it’s worthwhile to give patients glimpses into the high points of your lives. Mention recent awards or honors that your practice may have received. Also be sure to highlight hobbies you and your team members may have as well as birthdays, births, marriages, anniversaries, and so on.

Facebook® Wall Tip #12.
MENTION EVENTS AND CHANGES IN THE PRACTICE
If you’re offering new treatments or are using new dental technology at the office, give it a mention on your wall so patients can see how the practice is growing. Even little changes to the practice are worth mentioning. If you get new furniture or lighting or decide to decorate for the holidays, share that as well.

Facebook® Wall Tip #13.
OFFER GIVEAWAYS AND PRIZES TO PATIENTS
The occasional prize drawing can be exciting, and you don’t need to have extravagant items available. (No one hates gift cards or movie tickets, for example.) Be sure to mention the giveaways online and at your practice.

Facebook® Wall Tip #14.
MENTION YOUR SERVICE IN THE COMMUNITY ABROAD
If you do any charitable work in the community or help in humanitarian efforts abroad, take time to mention it. Share the experience with patients and let them know why it matters to you.

Facebook® Wall Tip #15.
SPEARHEAD AND ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY INVOLVMENT
If you and your team know about any charitable events or service opportunities in the community, get involved, mention it on your wall, and see if you can get your patients to help out. You’re all part of your local community. Together, there’s potential to make a lasting positive impact.