Social Networking - The Informal Communication



Over the past several months, I have heard multiple practices make comments about their concerns that their social media posts were not professional enough.  Some practices are so concerned that they won’t let a team member make a post without the doctor’s personal approval. The result is that it bottlenecks the process and in the end, it discourages the team.

The result? Either the posts stop being made or the practice seeks a third party to make posts on their behalf. Neither is a desirable reflection of your dental practice.

The key to great content producing on social media sites is to understand what the purpose of social networking is.  Google “social networking definition” and up pops this result: “the use of dedicated websites and applications to communicate informally with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself.”  The key word is “informally.”  Social networking is about informal communication with others.  As opposed to a business website, which is a more formal form of communication, social networking is similar to engaging in conversation with someone face to face but via an online application like Facebook or Twitter.  Social networking is akin to having a conversation with a patient (or potential patient) you see at the grocery store or a local restaurant.  Your business website is more like the formal communication you would have with a patient sitting in your dental chair.

So which is better?  There isn’t a “better”.  Websites and social media need each other.  They work together, support one another, and are ultimately better because the other exists.  Social media allows patients and prospective patients to engage with you and see the human side of your practice.  Websites exist for people to see the services you offer, learn more about what can be done, and see the results.

So, next time you or a team member decides to make a post to your social media site, focus on the fact that it can be informal.  The more formal it is, the more likely the post will just become background noise in a sea of genuine posts filling someone’s news feed.  Make the most of your social networking and be comfortable communicating informally.  Type as you would talk to a patient face to face.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be REAL.  It needs to come from the practice to show that you are listening, that you desire to educate, that you are a group of dedicated people working to improve the well being of your patients.

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