ADI explains how social media is a route to harnessing opportunities
Social media has transformed the way people interact, shop, discover new things and chronicle their lives. It's an tool that can be used for so much, and dental professionals should explore the benefits that platforms such including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can provide. Each of these apps/websites might be harnessed as effective tools to help you market your practice, connect with likeminded individuals and become part of a community.
Just keep tweeting
Famed for being a platform where celebrities spout their thoughts, Twitter may not seem to hold much benefit for dental professionals – however, this is a common misconception. It’s unlikely that you will be able to encourage your patients to follow you on this particular platform unless you encourage them to tweet their experiences and tell them to tag you in this feedback, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beneficial on a more social level.
Twitter can be used as a portal through which to express your thoughts and connect with other professionals in a more casual setting. It has a huge usership with over 330 million individual accounts, and dentists can connect and form friendships with other professionals who share their interests. It is also worth following any dental product companies or professional bodies, as these will often use Twitter to promote their latest news and special offers.
The professional way to connect
If you want to use social media to connect with other people in the industry, LinkedIn is an excellent choice. LinkedIn almost acts as an online CV making it the perfect platform to highlight your skills, connect with professionals in the same sphere of industry and keep up to date, or even share your own ideas and tips.
LinkedIn is especially beneficial if you are looking for a new position or if you want to fill a vacancy on your staff. Networking amongst professionals is likely to point you in the right direction for any vacancies, and the site allows others to view your credentials and lets you see those of prospective candidates.
In recent years, Instagram has become the go-to app for people to find exciting visual content. Therefore, Instagram is best used for showing the world your capabilities as a dental professional. You’ll have likely already seen videos and pictures with thousands of likes and views showing how smiles can be transformed with whitening, veneers, and other cosmetic procedures.
Because it is highly visual, this is the sort of content that appeals to professionals and potential patients alike, making Instagram a great way to showcase these cases (of course, with patient approval) and may encourage people to seek you out if they are looking for similar results.
However, it’s important to ensure such images have some personality – it’s far easier for people to connect with pictures that have a story behind them than just simply a shot of retracted lips.
It’s also important to think about whether the images you want to post are appropriate as well as exciting. Mid-surgery images are likely to be very unappealing for the average Instagram user, but nice photos of your practice, fun photos of your team, and before and after treatment photos are likely to draw attention.
The biggest online community
In many ways Facebook is the best social media route for dentists to follow. By creating a page for your practice you can easily market your services to those in nearby areas and keep existing patients updated on any offers you are currently running/changes to services.
Facebook is a great way to connect with colleagues across the globe – it’s as easy as clicking a button. Beyond befriending people within the profession, there are specific groups you can join that cater to all interests these provide the perfect forums to discuss your ideas, theories, favourite techniques, materials and more.
Associations often have dedicated Facebook groups that are a wonderful resource whenever you want to get feedback or ask advice – as well as meet likeminded individuals. For anyone invested in dental implantology the Association of Dental Implantology has a dedicated membership group on Facebook that thrives with activity making it a great resource for dental professionals looking to be part of the community.
Not all social media is going to be useful or appeal to you. It’s important to embrace social media, but first see how you see fit. Don’t be afraid to try various approaches and explore new channels – only then can you find out which social media works best for you. For information on the ADI and upcoming events, visit www.adi.org.uk