One thing that’s absolutely crucial to building your dental practice is establishing engaging relationships with the people who sit down in your chair. It might seem like a no-brainer, but relationships with patients can be difficult to maintain when you only meet once every 6-8 weeks or once every six months. When you consider that most of that interaction is spent looking inside of their mouths, getting to know your patients is its own special challenge. Taking the extra time to foster that rapport can seem like a daunting and impossible task, especially when the majority of your patients are teenagers leading very busy lives. Luckily, there’s a solution to “relationship management” in the world of orthodontics and dentistry. It’s time for you to master your practice’s social media.

Full disclosure: the world of social media comes with a little adjustment. Mostly that you’ll have to learn online interaction’s native language, always-expanding, heavy on words like “Reach”, “engage”, “viral”, “share”, “like”, “follow”, “wall”, “post”, “Tweet”, “Pin”, “check-in”, as well as new uses for “@” and “#”. It’s not just teenagers—you’ll be surprised by the range of people using these words to talk about their lives. Patient conversations are changing, so you’ll need to learn the lingo.

Of course, being a familiar face over the Internet as well as in the office is more than just learning a list of buzzwords. Those buzzwords have been integrated into the interpersonal interactions that comprise the online aspect of most peoples’ lives. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest are all places you need to be present and accounted for. Signing up for an account is the first step toward creating that important between-visit interaction You always want to meet your patients where they get together; though it might be a little awkward for you to show up at their hangout, using these forms of social media to invite them to engage in your practice is always acceptable. Social media is not just for the teens, anyway. Your target market, their moms and their friends, are just as present in social media as your teenaged patients. Using the time you are apart to stay connected can ultimately help you with keeping your patients loyal and encourage them to “share” your business with their friends.

If your practice is currently in the social media world, take a moment and go look at your page. If it looks like a virtual ghost town, here are a few basic maintenance tips that can really help you make a bigger impact on your fans and encourage them to define their “like” through engagement with your page.

Basic Facebook Maintenance:
1. Can you see your full profile picture? (The small square photo that users see when you post something)
2. Do you have a cover photo? (The larger photo at the top of your page)
3. Are you posting more than once a week or is it like many practice sites, never seen the joy of a new post.
4. Are your “check-ins” enabled for patients to “check-in” when they come visit you?
5. Are there negative recommendations/comments being left to the eyes and keyboards of others?

The dental world is changing, and in the realm of social media, you definitely don’t want to get left behind. Use these free social media sites for your practice’s benefit to stay connected to the life of your practice… your patients. Solomon Orthodontic Systems is a firm believer in the strength and power of social media; this is an area we truly believe is a doctor’s best friend in the world of their patients. If you are still having difficulty with translating the language, let us know and we would love to provide help in any area that you need!

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