Do you think Facebook is just something “kids” use these days to keep the world up-to-date on every single step they take? Sure, there are definitely those people who abuse their Facebook privileges by uploading 80 pictures of their cat in a clown costume every day or think their friends want to know exactly how delicious the sandwich they are currently eating is; these people are using Facebook to enhance their personal lives or lack thereof.

Even though Facebook seems to be littered with insignificant content, it is set up to cater to the professional world, making it an excellent platform for dentists to grow their practices. Here’s why:

Free advertisement. It’s safe to say that most people don’t rummage through the phone book to find a dentist close to them. With sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, there has been a shift in communication when it comes to getting your name out there for small businesses and practices like yours. A listing in the phone book doesn’t allow you to state your practice’s mission unless you pay for a special spot; you can do this for free on Facebook with your “About” page. In this section you can list your company’s mission, contact information and even add a link to your website making your practice more visible and accessible.  Not only that, but your patients can post about what a great experience they had with your team.

“Like” button. More “likes” on Facebook equals more visibility and accessibility to your practice. It’s also a great tool that helps new patients find their dentist. We all know that a practice can’t thrive without patients. The amount of “likes” your page has can rank you in a way similar to a popularity contest. Whoever has the most “likes” is more likely to show up in the results if a person was to search for a dentist through Facebook. For example, Dr. A and Dr. B both have Facebook pages for their practices. Dr. A has an astounding 1,000 likes on his page, whereas, Dr. B only has 20. When a person searches for “dentist” in their search bar, Dr. A will most likely be the top result, while Dr. B will be at the bottom of the result list if he even shows up on it.

Appointment reminders. I’m sure you have those patients that you see every two years rather than once every six months. It can be difficult to remember an appointment or to even make an appointment when hectic schedules are involved. In fact, most Americans today don’t see a dentist every six months or even once a year.

Dentists shouldn’t be discouraged or angry with a patient if they happen to follow this pattern. It’s important to make it easier for them to remember they have an appointment or to even make one. Facebook allows you to converse with your patients and let them know that they are due for a visit or to simply remind them of the appointment they made with you for that week. You can even use your “Events” page to create appointments equipped with reminders for both you and the patient involved. Also, if your patients “like” you on Facebook, a simple status update may trigger them to think about the last time they went to the dentist and will encourage them to make an appointment if it has been longer than six months.

Build relationships. There are currently one billion people active on Facebook. Do you really think your practice can afford to not be on Facebook? With the majority of practices and small business on the networking platform, you’re seriously doing yourself a disservice by not creating your own page.

When patients see their dentist’s practice on Facebook interacting with patients, it shows that you take pride in your practice and it inspires confidence in already existing patients as well as those who are looking for a new dentist. A patient can now ask questions, review their experience and educate themselves on services provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Facebook offers. The Facebook Offers Page allows you push out special deals you’re currently offering at your practice. All you have to do is create an offer, fill in the details and it automatically gets pushed out to your entire community. It’s extremely easy for even the least Facebook-literate person to participate in the deal, all they have to do is click the “claim offer” button and the deal automatically gets sent to their inbox. Even better, when someone claims the offer, it gets pushed out to everybody they are friends with whether they all are current patients or not. In reality, you’re helping your patient out and they are helping you out by pushing your offer to an audience that isn’t on your radar.

Comments

Commenter's Profile Image Ritu
October 23rd, 2012
To me, it appears there are 2 camps of dentists: one camp that is resistant to delving into FB (or the social media world in general) bc they don't know enough, don't care, don't think it works, or don't like it period-usually w/o trying it out. The other camp has dentists who ARE on FB et al, but are overwhelmed by the time and commitment it takes to actually DO something with it, learn about it, and use it. And let's face it, it does take both. Either way, I agree that a dentist today does need a Facebook Page, ideally to increase interaction with patients (or future ones), but at the very least, as an important part of a strong online presence. It's kinda hard to ignore when 1 billion people are on it!