Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2018 03 Social No Nos 1

Avoid these 5 social media no-nos to grow your dental patient base faster and safer

March 23, 2018
Social media can be a boon for your dental practice. But there are some temptations out there that can not only make it less effective, but downright bad. Avoid these five no-nos.
Eighty percent of people search for health-related information online.(1) And 81% of people have social medial profiles.(2) Given these statistics, a strong social media presence for your dental practice is critical to winning over new patients.

In order to take full advantage of the customer engagement and lead generation that social media has to offer, make sure your dental practice uses it properly by avoiding these five big no-nos.

No-no #1: Giving medical advice or providing protected health information (PHI)

Social media followers ask all kinds of questions, and some of your responses can cause regulatory nightmares. First, don’t give medical advice. It’s hard to tell where followers are from, and you don’t want to give advice to someone who isn’t located in a state where you’re licensed. If an existing patient asks for medical advice, ask them to take the conversation offline by thanking them for their concern and then providing your contact information. It’s very easy to give out PHI while dealing with clients online, whether they’re requesting help or you’re responding to a negative review about a less-than-satisfactory experience. To do so would violate HIPPA, so don’t do it!

No-no #2: Using your personal profile for your practice

On each social media platform, you should have a business profile or page separate from your personal page. Why are separate profiles important?

• They separate your personal and professional lives. There may be posts on your personal profile that you don’t want patients to see.
• Your business page serves as the hub for your followers, patients, and teammates. It’s a place for all things dentistry, your main vehicle for building your brand, sharing engaging information, and showcasing your staff and office vibe. It’s nearly impossible to keep your personal profile that focused.
• Many social platforms limit the number of connections a personal profile can have. Most business profiles don’t have that limitation. For example, Facebook allows only 5,000 friends on a personal page. Business pages, on the other hand, can have unlimited fans.

• You may eventually want your social media handled by a staff member trained in social media or even by an outside firm. Business profiles make giving and revoking access much easier than personal pages do, which keeps your brand and personal profiles safe if social media responsibilities change hands.

No-No #3: Self-promoting constantly

The ultimate goals of social media are simple: engage existing customers, promote referrals, and recruit new prospects. One sure way not to achieve these goals is by constantly promoting your practice. Imagine your social media profile is a TV channel. Do subscribers want to see constant commercials?

Spend a majority of your social efforts making your practice more personable and educational. Give your prospects real value, and two things will happen: (1) you’ll endear your social fans to you, or (2) they will be more receptive when you do put a great offer in front of them. A good rule of thumb is one promotional post per 10 engaging posts.

No-No #4: Content that doesn’t match your audience

Other dentists might appreciate learning about recent findings on Th17 cells at the gingival oral mucosal barrier, but they’re not your audience. Stay away from industry jargon and clinical speak in your posts. Be personable with your followers, and help them make informed decisions with educational content. Speak with them, not at them. Most importantly, involve them. Encourage followers to interact with your content by asking them to leave comments and share and like your posts. Promote a culture of engagement, and your follower-base will grow organically.

No-No #5: Buying followers and likes

It’s tempting. Who doesn’t want an instant boost of a few thousand followers for only $39? Buying followers and likes puts you and your company’s reputation at serious risk.

You can read about more specific reasons why not here, but put simply, when you buy fake followers or likes, you’re left with an impressive number of empty accounts that have zero interest in your practice and will never become patients. Most social media platforms regulate the visibility of your posts based on the engagement of your audience. The more engaged they are, the more they see of you. So fake followers drag down your metrics in the long-term

Social media is one of the most effective marketing tools available to you. Don’t ruin your chances of an engaged and loyal following by falling into one of the traps.

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Daryl Johnson owns Frontier Marketing, a full-service digital marketing firm that specializes in healthcare. Frontier spends millions in advertising for their clients every year. You can follow Daryl on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.