I’m often asked what the point of social media is in terms of marketing a dental practice. First, let me say that I don’t believe that social media alone will flood your practice with new patients. It is one component, one whose value is ever-increasing, in letting people know what the experience of being in your practice is like, and how your patients truly feel about you. All of marketing is about using every possible form of communication to explain who you are, what you do, and why it’s good for people.
And also, why they should choose you over another practice. So let’s start here: You need a Facebook business page for your practice. And it needs to be someone’s responsibility to check it every day, and post a couple of times a week, and ALWAYS comment when someone else posts on your page. Then you need to actively pursue “likes” by your patients. This can be done easily by simply asking them to do so when they are in the office (they can do it on their phone), or by using iPads or other tablets as I recommended in a previous post.
But now I’m going to recommend you take this to the next level. That step is to have the dentist create a personal profile, and befriend as many patients as possible. (Hopefully they will friend you back!) This is a profile that the person responsible for social media in the practice has access to. And then part of their job is to monitor the wall of that profile, and make note of any important postings by patients. By important I mean significant life events: marriages, graduations, births, anniversaries, deaths. And when it seems appropriate, send a personal response from the practice–NOT on Facebook, but with a greeting card, or notecards made for the practice, whichever seems appropriate for the occasion. If it’s a big anniversary, you might want to also send flowers or, as I suggest in my book, offer to do free teeth whitening for the couple so they look great in the anniversary photos.
If a patient’s father passed away, would you not want to know and acknowledge it? Or if their son graduated from college, or their daughter from law school? This is your chance to show that you care about your patients as people. (If you don’t, that’s a bigger problem.) Facebook gives you that window into your patients lives. Make that extra effort, and people will notice and appreciate it, just as you would yourself. By the way, the reason you need a personal profile is because your business page does not have a wall showing the postings of your patients (which would defeat the purpose of the page.)
Also, I love handwritten notes anyway, because so few people get mail anymore that they really stand out. The one I show here is used by Romani Orthodontics, a favorite practice of mine in Rhode Island. I got mine from The Stationery Studio. Use them liberally.