A Guest blog from Deploy Dental. The opinions expressed are from Deply Dental not Dr. Larry Emmott. However I believe it is valuable for dentists to get various takes on technology issues in order to make good technology choices. This is the first of a three part series on the value of Facebook.
Is it really necessary for a dentist to be on Facebook? Well, in recent years Facebook has surpassed Google as the most viewed site on the entire Internet, and a staggering 75% of all Internet users in the United States are on Facebook1. Your current patients simply expect you to be there, and it gives you the chance to connect with them through a media they already use. Below are some benefits you can realize by having a Facebook page for your practice
1. Free Advertising
It should be stated that while it may be ‘free’, there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into creating and maintaining a successful Facebook campaign. But, what other medium can you think of that asks only for your participation in exchange for potentially tens of thousands of dollars in business? This is why Facebook is such a valuable resource for all businesses, including dentistry.
2. Reputation and Brand Mangement
When people perform searches for a specific dentist or practice’s name, the Facebook page itself will often be one of the top results. This is a valuable avenue through which potential patients will find you, and many people will prefer seeing what others in the community are saying (as well as seeing your online interaction on Facebook) before visiting your personal site. This is also crucial because, unlike Google Reviews or Yelp, Facebook allows you to monitor and control what is being said about you, so you can delete hurtful or misleading comments and even ban problem users.
3. A More Effective Method
The average user spends more than an hour per day on Facebook, which is vastly more than any other website. So, any time you can keep them on Facebook, users will be much more likely to stay engaged than say, linking to your own website. That is why one of the most valuable aspects of a Facebook Fan Page it the ability to create your own ‘tabs.’ A tab refers to the icons located on the left-hand side of your Fan Page underneath your profile graphic, most commonly ‘Wall’, ‘Info’, ‘Photos’ and so on. A more complex tab could even include an entire micro-website, all within your Facebook Fan Page. Fans can get all your crucial information without clicking through to your website.
Parts 2 and 3 will examine:
4. Gaining New Patients
5. The Growing ‘Viral’ Aspect
6. Engage Current Patients
7. Personal Connection
Editors note: It is quite possible for a dentist to set up a social media program, including Facebook, by him or herself. On the other hand you may find it valuable to use a service to help set it up and maintain it. In addition to Deploy Dental the following vendors can help with setting up your social media presence.
Sesame Communications: Sesame is my favorite and a sponsor of EOT. They are currently offering 365 days of free Facebook content; just send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
DoctorBase: I have not worked directly with these people but we have talked on the phone and I like their approach. They also have a great blog.