By Daniel A. Bobrow, MBA (University of Chicago) & MBA (K.U.L. Belgium)
This is the second of three Issues concerned with Communicating With Patients of Record.
Of course, no self respecting discussion about communicating with patients of record would be complete without including social networking.
According to Socialnomics “Social media (is not) a fad. It is the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution.” Here are a few more statistical tid bits:
- As of 2010, Gen Y outnumbers Baby Boomers, and it is this group that has been raised ‘on’ the Internet.
- Ninety six percent of them have joined at least one social network.
- One out of eight couples married in 2009 met on the Internet.
- It took 38 years for there to be 50 million radios users,
- 13 years for TV,
- 4 years for the Internet,
- 3 years for the IPOD, and
- It took Facebook 9 months to reach 100 MILLION USERS
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s Fourth Largest
- The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year old females
So, if you think social media is just a fad, think again.
As with any new endeavor, getting started can be a daunting proposition. Consider budgeting a certain amount of time per week, and possibly delegating some of the work to someone who is motivated and, with hope, already knowledgable about the subject.
The first social media sites to become involved with are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Pinterest is gaining in popularity but, as of this writing, it is unclear as to the extent to which this is enhancing a dental practice’s visibility, or how much attention is being paid to it by the search engines as part of social media marketing (more on this later).
Books and other resources are available on each of these, but the most direct, and lowest cost, way to get started is simply to visit each of their home pages, and register for an account.
Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular sites and rather simple on which to create profiles.
YouTube allows you to upload your own videos, as well as link to them from your own website, and view other videos that might interest you. Future communications will present a simple, 9 step process for creating extremely valuable patient video testimonials.
LinkedIn is used more for business than social interaction, but can be a useful way to get the word out to your patients (most of whom, after all, are involved in some form of business). If you are specialist, LinkedIn can be an especially powerful tool for communicating with referring practices.
Here are step-by-step instructions, using Facebook as an example, for setting up your social networking site.
- Your first step is to Register.
- Next, you set up your profile
Then, you get connections, termed friends in Facebook. Facebook makes it easy for you to find and invite people to become friends with you (or at least, with your Facebook Profile). We can also thank Facebook for making the word friend a verb as well as a noun.
You are now, at last, ready to begin disseminating valuable information and opportunities to your patients. And here is where the art of effective social networking comes into play.
Our next Issue will conclude our discussion about Communicating With Patients of Record by focusing on how to use online review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, City Search, and Health Grades to grow your practice.
AIM DENTAL MARKETING
Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow,