Hate it or love it, social media is here to stay. Now it's not a matter of if your dental practice should have a social media presence, but why aren't you already on there?

I've heard some dentists say they avoid social media because they don't want to have deal with negative comments and/or reviews. Here's the thing:

Just because you don't make a social media page doesn't mean people aren't going to leave reviews elsewhere.

By creating a social media account for your dental practice, you will have more control of your online reputation. You've created a space in which you can interact with your current patients and future patients (it is social media, after all), allowing you to find out what you do well and where you can improve.

dental practice social media

But how do you get them to come to your social media page in the first place?

4 ways to build your dental practice social media audience

  1. Social media advertising: Create an ad on the platforms that you use to let people know about your practice's social media page. Social media advertising platforms have become easier to use in recent years, and you won't have to spend much to get a small boost in your audience numbers.
  2. Email signature blocks: In all outgoing emails from your practice, the signature blocks should include links to all your social media accounts.
  3. Links from your website: Use the icons from each platform in the header of your practice's website with a call to “Follow Us on Social Media.”
  4. Signs in the practice: Put up a sign at the front desk letting people know which platforms you are on and how they can find you.

Getting dental practice reviews on social media

Now that you've built up your audience on your social media accounts, it's time to get some reviews on there.

First, you can create a post on your account letting your followers know that they can leave a review. It's important to note that social media platforms, just like review websites such as Yelp, discourage businesses from asking for reviews. It might seem a small thing, but letting people know they can leave a review is less likely to earn a penalty (e.g. loss of organic reviews or, worse, the shutting down of your account) than asking people to leave a review.

Another method of getting reviews is signage in your practice. When patients arrive at your practice, they are usually required to come to the front counter to check in. Why not use that moment to ask them to check into your practice on social media? Instead of relying on your front desk person to remember to ask each patient, spend a few dollars to buy a clear plastic sign holder and print a sheet of paper with your practice logo on it and this message:

“Thank you for checking into [YOUR PRACTICE]! You can also check in on your favorite social media app and let your friends know who your favorite dentist is!”

Now, is everyone going to heed this advice? No, of course not. But even if two people in 100 do so because of that sign, that's 2 percent more than were previously checking in on social media.

And why do want them to check in on social media? Many social media platforms and apps, such as Facebook, also allow users to review the places they've visited. By having your patients check in at your practice, they've let the social media platform know that they were there, which in turn sets off an algorithm that asks them to leave a review (saving you from having to do so). Even if the platform or app doesn't publish reviews, a check-in adjusts its algorithm so that it will show the person more of your social media posts and ads in the future.

All of that for just an $8.00 investment.

No matter which social media platform you choose to join or how you get people to leave reviews, the goal of social media is to be social, so don't forget to interact and thank your followers/reviewers for taking the time to reach out. A little kindness goes a long way. (And I'll talk more about handling negative reviews in a future article.)