Social media is a bit like Marmite really, most of us either love it or hate it! Whatever you feel about it, there’s no escaping the fact that it can be a great business tool that allows you to tap into a wider market than ever before. Not only that, creating a social media business page or account is still completely free, the only time you will need to pay anything is if you choose to run adverts.
If you’re already a social media wiz then you’ll have a good head start when it comes to actually using the various platforms available, but using it for business is a slightly ball game and requires a little more thought and attention to detail than a personal account would. A quick browse online will open up a multitude of articles providing useful tips to get things off the ground, so we thought it would be more useful to offer some sage advice about what not to do…
Don’t create more work for yourself
The idea establishing a wider online presence is to start building up a healthy following and to do that you need to create engagement and interaction; you simply cannot do this without consistently posting good content. These accounts need constant attention so if you have too much on your plate then try a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or delegate this task.
This is a great way to give one (or more) of your team members some extra responsibility, but use some caution when selecting who takes this on. Choose someone with a good grasp of social media and take the time to define some practice guidelines regarding your online presence, which should fit in line with your existing business goals, ethos, ideals and personality.
Don’t make it personal
While it’s great to show some personality in order to allow existing and potential patients to see your human side (rather than the scary dentist they may perceive you to be), there’s a fine line between mixing a little fun with your business personality and stepping into the realms of unprofessionalism.
By all means, create some light-hearted posts, just be sure to keep it relevant to your practice, and avoid sharing personal opinions or views. It can be very easy to offend someone so always revert back to your pre-defined business personality and ethos and maintain a sense of decorum.
Don’t bad mouth the competition
Retain your professionalism by keeping a still tongue. Regardless of what you think about the workmanship or the service level of the practice down the road, or even if you’ve had to rectify dental work carried out elsewhere that wasn’t up to scratch, keep these opinions safely to yourself.
Instead focus on the great work that you do and share it – with documented and stored patient consent, of course. This speaks volumes and shows patients what they could be benefiting from if they choose the services that you provide.
Don’t ignore comments
If someone has made the effort to post a comment or review on your Facebook page, has written a lovely tweet, or shared an Instagram picture about the service they have received from you, be sure to reply and thank them for their kind words. This helps to build interaction and shows that their opinion of your practice is valued.
Sadly, receiving negative comments can be a part of having a social media presence, but this should not be something to fear or cause you to shy away from it completely. These situations tend to be rare but if they do arise don’t be tempted to delete the comments unless they are false or intentionally misleading. Instead respond politely and request that the poster contacts you to allow you to resolve the situation.
With a little bit of careful thought and prior planning, social media can be an exciting way to promote your dental practice and reach patients in ways that have been previously impossible. It gives you a great opportunity to discuss useful features of your practice and service, such as your patient payment plan that can help patients to spread the cost of their dental care, and other areas that they may not already know about.
- On 6th July 2017