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7 Ways to Connect with Patients via Social Media

  • Date: April 17, 2012
  • Author: eDentalImage
  • Comments: 0

You’ve decided that your dental practice should utilize Social Media and just created profiles for your office–now what?

Below are 7 Tips on where to start.

Connect with Customers

1. “Brand” Your Page

Your social media profiles are an extension of your website, and therefore your practice. Make them look like they belong! Change your profile picture to be your practice’s logo. Make your Twitter background be a similar color to your website, or have a custom design created. Have your Facebook cover photo be a picture of your staff or your office building.

The goal is for users to immediately recognize that they are on the correct page, just from your colors and photos. This is extremely helpful if your practice or dentist’s name is very common.

2. Information

This may sound redundant, but make sure to get your information out there! Post your office hours and your dental website URL to your Facebook profile and Twitter bio. Include your address and telephone number. Link your address with Google or Yahoo Maps. Include parking instructions. Everything a potential patient should know about contacting you or finding your office needs to be on your profile. Your Facebook or Twitter profile needs to be your secondary source of information after your website.

3. Photos

Photos add an extra dimension to social networks and break up the monotony of post after post. Be sure to create Facebook albums or Tweet photos of your office and staff. Did you have a wacky hair day? Throw that picture on the web! Is it someone’s birthday? Post a picture of the cake! This is your time to show off!

4. Dialogue

Nobody wants to talked at, they want to be spoken with!  Start a conversation! Ask open ended questions that allow patients to easily respond (“We want to hear from you! What is your favorite brand of toothpaste and why?”). Respond to questions asked. Follow your clients back and see what they are saying. If it’s someone’s birthday, wish them happy birthday (giving them a discount coupon is a nice touch as well).

You don’t always need to stay within your discipline either. Chances are your patients aren’t as fascinated by dental health as you are (shocking, I know). Start dialogue they can relate to (“Who’s your pick to win the Super Bowl this year?” “Have you seen the Hunger Games yet? What did you think?”). This engagement humanizes a field that can be scary for some, and positively reinforces patient’s trust in your dental practice.

5. Links

Become a great resource not just to your patients, but to fellow members of the dental community. Posting links to news articles and blog posts (like this one, *hint hint*) broaden everyone’s knowledge. Be sure to call attention to any groups or demographics an article mentions (“Heads up parents, childhood cavities are on the rise. This article provides tips on how to avoid them”). Remember that you are mainly engaging with your non-medical patients. They may not appreciate an essay from a medical journal on tooth decay in the right incisor. Stick with blog posts and news updates that appeal to a broader audience.

 6. Contests

Patients need a reason to follow your page. One incentive to give is contests. Not only do contests grow your followers, but they allow client interaction within your social networks. Contests entries can be anything posting a comment of their favorite brand of toothpaste, to having users post a photo of their toothbrush, or of your office building. Make sure to stipulate that entrants must “Like” or Follow your account to be eligible, this will grow your followers. Finally, don’t forget a prize! Discounts and free services are great prizes, because winners must come into the office to use them. You never know, a random contest winner could turn into a patient for life.

7. Promotions

Slightly different from contests, promotions give your social media users a reward for following. Promotions are usually discounts received for mentioning a code word or answering a question (ex: “In honor of Dr. Smith’s birthday, those who mention “birthdays and balloons” at checkout will receive 5% off their visit”) that is available only to those who follow your account. Make sure you set a limit on your promotion, either by time (“now through Monday”) or amount (“the first 5 people…”), otherwise you could end up losing money.

Have any other tips on engaging with patients on social media sites? Let us know in the comments below.

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