The big question, once you understand that you should get your patients to “like” your Facebook page and to “check-in” when they come to the office, is how to get them to do that consistently, and not feel weird asking them to do it. (If you don’t understand why this has become so important, read this blog post.)
First, understand that Facebook users get the idea of check-ins and likes. They may not all do it on a regular basis, but most of them know about it. And also, it costs them nothing to do it. They are not going to get spammed or reveal some secret information about themselves. It’s social. In fact, some of your patients are checking in already without you even asking.
So ask. Not in a desperate way, but in a friendly way, like, “We’d love it if you check-in on Facebook while you’re here.” If they say, “Huh?”, take a minute and show them on their mobile phone what you’re talking about. In reception, have a little sign that says, “Like us on Facebook.” Have iPads that they can use in the office, and get an adhesive cover from www.skinit.com that puts your Facebook page location right on the front. And of course, follow the strategy that my friend Dr. Lori Cockley and her team used. (Read this blog post for details on that technique.)
And now…my latest trick. Set up your office WiFi so that as patients log in to use it they automatically check-in on Facebook. Yes, this is possible. It’s a one-click login, and it’s an application offered by Facebook. (No surprise there, just impressive business thinking).
You will have to buy a certain type of WiFi router, but I think it’s worth it. Right now it only works with Cisco and Meraki routers. The Cisco ones are too expensive for a dental practice, but the Meraki are reasonable ($500), including the license. You might need a tech geek to set this up properly. Or a teenager.
Along with this, because they have checked in through your system, there are some marvelous reports that you can generate to get more demographic and behavioral information about your patients from their Facebook profiles. I know this all sounds a bit Orwellian, but if people imagine that data isn’t being gathered about them on Facebook and everywhere else on the Internet, then they don’t understand that these sites are all businesses that sell advertising as their only revenue source.
I think this is a great and simple way to get loads of check-ins, and you’re offering free WiFi to your patients, which you should anyway. You can also set it up so that if they don’t want to use Facebook they can still use the WiFi, either with or without a password, based on your settings. Starbucks makes you watch a video ad to use their WiFi. You just want a check-in. That’s not asking too much.
Click to find out exactly how to do this here.
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Very nice idea!! P.S. Can’t wait for my kids to be teenagers so they can handle all my tech stuff 😉
Teenagers are finally good for something, Betty!
Interesting idea. EXPENSIVE router. Holy cow.. the cheaper one is $500??? The Cisco routers range from $1100 to….. $6500! 😮
What about (cyber) security concerns? I’m sure there’s a way to isolate your office network from the free wifi for patients.
In any case…. I’ve got a wireless router in my office for office use. I have to admit that even $500 is a lot just so I can encourage folks to check in on FB.
I also have to consider that my patients don’t spend much time “waiting.” We pretty much run on time. And, if they do use their phones, it’s easy for them to just use their phone’s network to do whatever they need to do.
Hmmmm… now… if you combined a cell signal JAMMER with this… to force them to use your wifi. Aw… jammers are illegal, darn it! 😉
It is an expensive router, Mike, but it’s meant to be used as much while they’re waiting in the chair as well as in reception. And most wifi networks should be on a separate server unit than your PMS, for general data safety. And some practices are paying companies $1 apiece to get their patients’ email addresses. If you got 1000 likes out of it and just as many check-ins, I think it would be worth the investment. It’s not for everybody, but my ideas hardly ever are!
You are encouraging teenagers/geeks to setup a medical professionals network? You have to be kidding me.
Kat, I know teenagers with their own very profitable Internet businesses. But I was really just saying you might need some IT help to get it working.
I called up Cisco/Meraki to ask some general questions, about the FB option. They were having a webinar the first week in January. If you attended, they were giving the Meraki Access point 12 free. I just installed it Friday. Lots of fun options.
Their tech support was very nice, and walked me through it. It’s not really a router per say. I still use our Apple Airport Extreme as the office router, for office stuff. Patients, who want wifi, will be going though the Meraki via a Facebook sign in. Monday will be our first day. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
That was one great tip Fred. Thanks.
I can’t wait to hear how it works, and the details of what it cost, etc. Please keep me informed!
This is a good idea, I’m thinking about implementing this for my docotor. My main concern is HIPAA. What if your patients don’t want others to know that they’ve visited your office and have already accidentally checked in.