Use Social Media to Connect With Your Patients
As medical professionals, we strive to find new ways to strengthen our relationships with our patients. We take an extra moment or two with them during office visits to chat about their lives in general, answer questions thoroughly, and make every effort to be as available to them as we can.
However, did you know that one of the best ways to connect with your patients in this modern age is through social media? Using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social websites to share your office information, take patient questions, and discuss healthy dental care practices is a great way to forge new patient bonds and strengthen already existing ones. There are many benefits to using social media in your practice, but there are also potential concerns you need to be aware of as well.
Benefits to Using Social Media to Connect With Your Patients
Social media gives you an opportunity to directly interact with your patients outside of office hours. Patients can send you private messages on Facebook with dental questions or concerns, post interesting information to your wall, and learn your office hours, contact information, and what specials you are running any time, day or night.
Twitter allows you to have live tweet chats, which enable you to answer patient questions in real time. You can also upload informational videos to YouTube that can then be viewed by your patients. Blogs can give you an opportunity to discuss dental care in detail with your patients, and Skype allows you to have face to face discussions with them at a much lower cost than in-office visits. Social media can also help you expand your practice through improved brand recognition with posts and the recommendations of your current patients.
Potential Concerns with Social Media
Before utilizing social media to connect with your patients, consider the potential issues with the platform. HIPAA regulations prevent you from sharing any of your patients’ private information, so keep a close eye on your social media accounts to make sure no violations are being made by any staff members who post to your account. Social media “lingo” and tools can also be daunting to learn, which may make you reluctant to utilize them. Fortunately several websites, including Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media, exist to assist medical professionals with social media usage. From the outset, you may consider social media to be a waste of time. However, connecting to your patients via these mediums is actually faster and more efficient than using telephone and email.
Once you’ve made sense of the ins and outs of social media websites, they can become highly effective patient relationship tools. The benefits of using social media websites far outweigh the costs, and can bring your patients a deeper sense of connection, loyalty, and peace of mind.
“The benefits of using social media websites far outweigh the costs, and can bring your patients a deeper sense of connection, loyalty, and peace of mind.”
When a dentist publicly interacts with a patient via social media and shows genuine appreciation for the doctor patient relationship, valuable “social proof” is created. That social proof can lead to word of mouth marketing, new patients and more referrals.