Eight Pitfalls to Avoid with Social Media

When it comes to social media, there are multiple opportunities to make the most of your Facebook page. And with that comes many concerns that dental practice owners have. Here are eight pitfalls to avoid with social media.

  1. Leaving Facebook up to one person. Yes, it is a great idea to have one      person who is responsible for making the posts, uploading photos, etc. However, handing over the entire Facebook page for that person to solely develop by herself is a mistake. Facebook works best for you when it is engaging, adding valuable content and personalizing the practice. That is a lot for one person to do. Instead, take a team approach to Facebook or Twitter. During team meetings, brainstorm ideas and topics; analyze the results of posts; and encourage one another to bring ideas to the table. Doing so will enrich the content and make your page stand out from the others.
  2. Too few posts. Do you post on your Facebook page once a month? Most active users of social media check their pages frequently. If you make one post a month, it is bound to be lost in the shuffle and go unnoticed or unseen. Instead, make at least one post per business day. This way your name comes up frequently in people’s newsfeeds. Also, when someone does visit your page, they will see that you are participating in this brand new communication channel. It will make you appear savvy and wanting to reach out to your patient base in as many ways as you can.
  3. Ignoring comments made on your page. When somebody makes a post to your Facebook page and you do not respond, it makes you look uninterested. It has the same impact as ignoring someone you pass in the hallway who says “hi” and then you respond by ignoring them. Instead, comment back. At the very least, “Like” their comment. It shows that you appreciate them and that you are engaged, listening to what they have to say. Always respond to all posts made on your wall within one business day. This means checking your page every day for comments and/or questions posed to you.
  4. Deleting negative remarks from your Facebook page. If someone leaves a less than appealing comment on your wall, your knee-jerk response might be to delete it immediately. In this situation, first remember the purpose of Facebook – engagement and communicating. Think of this as an opportunity to address the situation. Others who are following your page will likely have seen the post. Now they are looking to you to see how you respond. This is your chance to be the bigger person and listen. Simply reply, “Ms. Smith, I regret you felt that way about your visit with us. I’d love the opportunity to speak with you personally about this situation. May I have permission to call you?” Most people who see a response like this will be impressed with how you handled it. If you take the opposite route and delete the post, those who saw the initial comment (or the patient who may have had a legitimate complaint) think that you are hiding something. Instead listen and respond respectfully. The second thing to remember in these situations is that if the patient is brazen enough to leave that comment on your wall, then he/she is more than willing to leave it at the other dozen sites available to them on the World Wide Web. So consider it a gift that you know about it and can respond. NOTE: On the flip side, if someone posts something vulgar, crude, or categorically false and mean-spirited – those comments should be deleted instantly.
  5. Leaving the posting up to a third-party source. There are many tempting offers to hire a company to manage your social media and make all the posts and tweets for you. Beware of this. The end result is that most practices then forget about the page and rarely visit it again. In the end, this will not meet the objectives of social media which are to a) engage others and b) personalize the practice. What if someone asks a question and we don’t respond? Go back and re-read tip #3 in this article. Secondly, how can someone who is not working side by side with you be in charge of building the relationships and personalizing your practice? It would be the same as hiring a third party out of a different state or country to handle all of your new patient calls and existing patient questions. It simply does not work. Take the time to build the page with your team. Let existing and prospective patients get to know you! You’ll reap the benefits in the end – guaranteed!
  6. Promoting your practice too much. You have a beautiful, well-maintained Facebook page. You are excited that you have this “free” avenue to advertise. So you make the most of it by making offers and specials every time you post or tweet. The net result of your tireless efforts is a bunch of people either hiding all your posts from their newsfeed or permanently unliking you. Neither is a desired outcome. Why? People don’t want constant advertising and self-promotion. Social media is about engaging and building relationships. Yes, an occasional promotion geared toward your social media audience is welcomed and appreciated as something special that only they receive because they loyally follow you. However, only one in five posts should be promotional. The rest should focus on giving valuable information or tips, relationship building, or cheering on the local community.
  7. Funneling all reviews from third-party software to your wall instead of a separate Facebook page. Many practices think that having reviews posted automatically to your wall is a great way for people to see the positive feedback from others. If these are posted to your wall, that means that Sally may see five reviews in her newsfeed a DAY. This can become tiresome and result in unliking or hiding all your posts. Again, not ideal. However, there is an answer! Most third-party review sites offer a social media plug-in that will move those reviews to a separate page in your social media site. This way they are available and when a prospective patient is ready to see those, he can do so by clicking on the review page. Ask your sales representative or customer service agent at your software company’s page for assistance.
  8. Looking at social media as “free.” This is a common misconception. YES! Social media is FREE. However, it is not FREE. You must be willing to invest in time and resources to make it successful and work for you. Without this commitment from you and passed on to your team, the page will never work for you the way it could. Be willing to learn and allow your team the time and freedom to make your social media sites powerful!