Not unlike our physical universe, the social media world is exponentially expanding. Trying to keep up and know how to get started or where to go next is a very difficult task when you are focused on giving your patients exceptional care. If your dental office has the luxury of having a full-time social media expert, that’s great. For those practices who don’t have that luxury, here is my 2012 Social Media Watch List for dental practices.
- Search & Social – Social media and search engine optimization (SEO) has been integrated in the past, but 2012 will be taking this to a whole new level. The content you create in social media channels, particularly blogs, has been showing up in search results (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) for quite some time. However, with the launch of Google+ and now “Search + Your World” by Google, things are evolving even more rapidly. Google+ posts and pages are all over Google and Facebook has been reported to be working on search-based social signals as well. Understanding good SEO practices as well as how they integrate with social media will be essential in 2012.
- Google+ – All the benefits of Google+ for business have yet to be seen. Last week, it was reported that Google+ now has over 90 million users. While this is just a fraction of the number of people on Facebook (over 800 million), it is also the fastest growing social network. Because it is growing so quickly, with new opportunities and search benefits for 2012, having an active Google+ business page will also be essential in 2012.
- Facebook Timeline – Not long ago, Facebook launched timelines for personal Facebook pages. Facebook timelines act as a scrapbook of sorts for your life. They are also expected to become available for businesses. This is another way to connect with your patients to tell them the story behind your office. How long have you been in business? What are some of the key milestones you’ve seen as a business? Having these dates, as well as any pictures and videos, ready to go will help you get ahead of other dental offices when this is launched.
- Twitter Company Pages – Facebook and Google+ have already launched business pages and now Twitter is testing these out with a small number of companies. The new layout and the ability to have featured content will be something to watch out for when it opens up to all businesses.
- Mobile Integration – More and more people are accessing the web and social media platforms through their mobile devices. This opens up a world of opportunity with geolocation applications. It also creates some additional challenges because you need to ensure a good user experience with the content you share. If you are linking to an external site, be mindful if the content you post to social platforms links to sites that are mobile friendly. Also, if your practice’s website is mobile friendly, this will enhance the user experience. Mobile integration with all online activity will become increasingly important as time goes on.
This is just a snapshot of what is to come and what to watch for in the near future. We will be providing more information on the topics above in upcoming weeks on Off the Cusp.