You are a Dentist. You’ve heard all the buzz about social networks and media. You are confused.
So let’s start off by defining what social media is from wikipedia:
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM). Social media utilization is believed to be a driving force in defining the current period as the Attention Age. A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.
This is a little confusing isn’t it?
The purpose of the internet is changing, it is no longer just the information super-highway, it now has lanes for opinions, reviews, followings, and human interaction. At the core base of Social media, is of course being “social”.
Now why, as a Dentist should you be worried about social media?
If you have children that are teen-aged to young adults, you are fully aware of the time they spend on these networks. Even more recently all walks of life have jumped on-board this social media trend. This means your patients are on these networks. As a dentist you know that you not only have to give your patients the best possible care they can get, but you also have to build trust and care with them. This is where social media comes to play. You can continue this relationship online. By the end of this year networks such as Facebook will have over 500 million users.
How many of these are or can be your patients?
The way patients, consumers and other people make decisions has made a seismic shift in recent years. They are going by review sites, asking their “online” peers and researching everything before making a decision. This will include their decision to find a new dentist, or recommend the one they currently have. Visibility is key to building your practice as a brand. Big corporate companies are seeing the value that social media plays with brand and customer perception. Just as BP about how their oil spill is going. While maybe not to this extremity, social media and overall online presence can make or break your practice. AACD Cosmetic Dentist Susan Hollar has experienced an increase in her practice during the 2009-2010 recession because of this visibility. She has more than enough new patients and cases to ride this “crisis” through.
So How Can You Do Social Media Correctly?
The simple answer is you have to be fully engaged and committed. The online community is very savvy and will know when you are faking it. You have to genuinely build your “brand” through your passion with dentistry. If it gets you excited, it is more than likely going to get someone else excited. This is how you should approach social media for your practice. Be enthused and genuine. Love your patients, have them contact you through your facebook fan page if they have any questions about work, teeth, etc. This will also increase your visibility to other potential patients.
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