You’ve probably heard that Mark Zuckerberg’s father is a dentist. It’s true. Dr. Edward Zuckerberg is a dentist in Westchester, New York. In a 2011 article on Salon.com, he shared that he uses he uses Facebook to promote his dental practice and spends about an hour a day on the site. As a medical practitioner, whether you are a dentist or chiropractor, shouldn’t be using social media channels too?
Yes. Doctors and dentists should and can use social media because that’s where patients and potential patients are. Of course, there are both potential positive outcomes and pitfalls to doctor-patient relationships when using social media and that’s why your involvement must be cautious and considered.
How can doctors and dentists use social media, you ask? Well… first, it can be used as part of the marketing mix and second, it can be used as a tool to enhance customer service. You can use social media to:
- Connect with Patients
- Reach out to potential patients
- Create brand awareness
Remember any online marketing efforts must compliment offline marketing efforts. Just because you are active on your Facebook page doesn’t mean you should give up getting involved in your local community events.
Here are some useful Social Media Tips for dentists and doctors:
Develop a social media policy. Here are two articles about Best Practices for developing Social Media Policies from Social Media Today and Social Media.Biz
Stay professional. Remember, just like in real life, watch what you say in public. If it isn’t something you’d say in person, don’t post it.
Determine what level of personal information you want to share. It’s good for patients to see the human side of their healthcare providers, but do you really want them to know that you went partying last night?
Be mindful of HIPAA regulations. Do not post any medical information about patients, do not dispense specific medical advice or make any diagnoses online.
Feel free to answer general patient questions. Social media can be a powerful tool to help patients get the care they need.
Finally, use common sense.