By Dr. Jason T. Lipscomb
Dentists are jumping into the social media world at a fast and furious pace. They think that a Facebook page or Twitter profile immediately attract fans, but they are often disappointed when fans and followers don't come in droves. A great initial set up for any social media profile is very important, but it will not thrive without connecting to patients and potential patients. These connections can be achieved through real world interactions as well as virtual ones.
In-house advertising: One of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your social media profiles, i.e., Facebook fan page, Twitter profile, and YouTube account, is old-fashioned in-house advertising. Tell your patients that you have a Facebook page. Post a sign on your front desk that says, "Find us on Facebook." Odds are you have your Web site name on your business card, so add some of your most popular social media profiles to your business card. It will remind patients about your address after you mention it to them. Facebook recently mailed door stickers to page owners. The stickers tell visitors where to find the Facebook page and how to become a fan through text messages. Tech savvy dentists can drive traffic to their profiles through e-mail reminders and newsletters. They just add the social media profiles to their e-mail signature or tagline. The point is to get that social media profile in front of as many eyes as possible.
Online sharing: Online sharing is another important factor of a successful social media campaign. Face-to-face sharing is a great way to start, but online sharing will take you to the next level. Social media sharing is not only for social media profiles, it is important for Web sites and blogs. It is very important to make your Web content accessible for social media sharing. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add a "share" or "bookmark" button to your content. The Web site http://addthis.com has some nice share buttons to use. These buttons can be used to create a bookmark for a blog post or share the content to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any other platform. Facebook has recently shared ways to add the ubiquitous "Like" button to any Web content, your Web site or blog included. Encourage your Web visitors and blog audience to share your content on their social media profiles. Once shared, the material has the potential to be seen by thousands of people due to the viral nature of social media.
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Jason T. Lipscomb, DDS, is a general dentist in Virginia where he operates two dental practices. He educates dentists how to market a practice with social media. Dr. Lipscomb and his partner, Stephen Knight, have released a social media handbook for dentists called “Social Media for Dentists.” You can learn more about Jason at http://www.socialmediadentist.com.
By Dr. Jason T. Lipscomb