When was the last time you searched your name or practice name on Facebook? If it’s been a while, you may want to do so today. I’m beginning to see several unfortunate situations where practices have a multitude of Business Pages, Community Pages or Places that the doctor or office manager is unaware of.

Doctors, even if you have no interest in Facebook, I encourage you to sit down with someone on your team who is Facebook-knowledgeable and search for your name and practice name on Facebook. It’s important to understand that Facebook accounts, Pages or Places represent you, your practice – and your reputation.

In one situation, the doctor’s team had created a personal profile for the doctor, as well as several Facebook Pages. The doctor was unaware of his Facebook personal profile, and even worse, the profile had begun to accumulate patients as friends. Needless to say, this alone creates a risky situation.

With regard to multiple Pages or Places, note that multiple Facebook properties can cannibalize your “official” Page. In addition, you may have patients leaving comments (good or bad) on other Pages or Places that you are unaware of. How are these pages created? Facebook auto-generates Community Pages, often in the situation where someone has typed in your practice or doctor name as their “Employer” in their personal profile. Ask your team members to ensure their employer information is linked to your “official” Facebook Business Page. You can recognize Community Facebook Pages by their unique profile images – often a briefcase representing a company or what looks like a plus sign within a circle for a dental or medical practice.

Regarding Facebook Places, these pages may be generated via the action of someone “Checking In” at your practice. This could be created by either a patient or a team member. In one situation, a practice was unaware of their Place Page and they had several patients who had liked the Place and left testimonials for them. Note that at this time, it’s possible to transfer likes/fans; however, Place posts, content, testimonials and recommendations may be lost in the claiming/merging process. Look for the link that reads, “Is this your business?” located in the upper right-hand corner of the Place Page. Facebook will walk you through a series of steps to claim the Place and merge it with your Business Page.

Also ensure your team is aware of the potential risks of these multiple properties on Facebook. I’ve seen practices with up to five different Business Pages, each one started and abandoned by a team member for “unknown” reasons. While Facebook can be fun and taken lightly, it’s important to be well-informed about this platform. Invest in team training or consulting when needed. Remember that your online reputation, whether on Facebook or other online platforms, is your responsibility. Take time today to ensure your Facebook presence is representing you well.

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