Social-Media Tag Archive

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Google Plus for Dentists

Does your dental practice have a Google Places listing (also known as Google Local Listing)? If so, you have probably noticed that your listing has changed to a Google Plus listing. Before you panic, understand the differences between these Google platforms and evaluate which profile is best for your practice.

1. Google Plus Local: http://plus.google.com/local

What formerly was called Google Places is now called Google Plus Local; this new listing simply functions as the updated version of Google Places. It is designed for small local businesses but does not have the full functionality of a Google Plus account. These listings are also still included in the Maps section of Google. As Google implements their new scoring and review system, all Google Places accounts will be upgraded to Google Plus Local listings. If you already have an existing Google Places account, you are still able to access your regular login page.

2. Google Plus for Business: http://www.google.com/+/business/

Google Plus for Business is an option for any business, large or small. While Google Plus Local focuses on local businesses in each area, Google Plus for Business is used for large corporations as well. It is a fully functional social page (similar to Facebook business profiles). Businesses that sign up for this will need to start the process as a business. Eventually, Google is planning to merge these first two categories into one listing. As for now, they currently operate as two separate entities and may stay this way for some time.

3. Google Plus: http://plus.google.com

Regular Google Plus accounts are designed for individuals and should not be used for businesses. At the launch of Google Plus, business pages were not available and many users opted to create regular Google Plus accounts to represent their business. As these pages will not function properly for a business long-term, these pages should not be promoted. Instead, a Google Plus Local or Google Plus for Business account should be created for your dental practice.

As Google changes constantly, Solution21 can help you adapt to keep your practice’s online listings active and competitive. Solution21 offers Local Listing options that include complete setup for Google Plus Local setup. We also offer social networking packages that include setup of Google Plus for Business, Facebook, Twitter, and a custom blog.

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Share information without fear


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a helpful and user-friendly guide to social media writing. Social media can help you reach your patients when, where and in a manner that is convenient to them. You can easily reach an audience of hundreds or thousands of people with a single click. The CDC recognizes the power of social media in disseminating health and safety information and empowering people to make healthier decisions and has developed this guide to help you make each message count. This Guide is largely tactical, giving you specific ways to write for social media channels and is full of great examples. Best of all, you can download it for free!

Download your copy of the CDC’s Guide to Writing for Social Media here.

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Blogging for Dentists

Does your dental practice have a blog? A blog is an online tool that can be used to share information, news, and events. Blogging is a free and highly effective way to advertise your dental practice and connect with patients.

A main benefit of blogging is that it provides an opportunity to show current and perspective patients what makes your practice unique. Blog posts can demonstrate the passion you have for your practice and for dentistry in general. When a patient views your blog, he or she will be able to see your dedication to staying up-to-date on the newest procedures and equipment, your commitment to patient satisfaction, or acting as a resource to inform your patients on preventative health practices.
There are endless topics to post about on a blog: dental procedures, office promotions, or new industry discoveries. Many patients appreciate when their dentist blogs regularly. It gives them a chance to learn more about the latest events and promotions happening at your office. Patients will find ease in noticing how knowledgeable you are on a procedure or new technological discovery.
Follow these tips from experienced bloggers to establish a successful dental blog of your own:

  1. Create. Websites such as Blogger.com offer free and simple blogging services. To start blogging, all you need to do is sign up for an account and start posting! For advanced users, you can embed the blog into your website as a live-feed, so the blog content will also show up on your website when you post it on the blog. To make your blog more entertaining, it is usually a smart idea to have an appealing design and add images to your blog posts.
  2. Update. As a dentist or doctor, it is not necessary to blog every day or even every week – once or twice a month would be ideal. Blogging can be time-consuming and you wouldn’t want to flood your followers’ blog feeds. It is also important to blog about relevant topics and issues that people would be interested to read about. Writing a blog about basic flossing habits or healthy eating tips would be very informative and interesting for a blog viewer to read.
  3. Respond. It is a good idea to view blog posts on a regular basis to check for activity and comments. Responding to blog comments shows that you are dedicated to patient satisfaction and it creates a conversation with your blog readers.
  4. Promote. Now that you spent time and energy creating and posting a blog, now it is time to promote it! The most efficient way to advertise your blog is to add a link on your dental website. You can also post a sign in your office or office brochure promoting your blog use. To promote new blog posts, it is always a good idea to post links to your office Facebook and/or Twitter accounts.

Solution21 has social networking packages that include blog design and setup for your practice, as well as unlimited updates by your personal Website Specialist. To find out more about our blogging options, call us at (888) 423-9235.

 

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Visualize Your Professional Network

LinkedIn’s Growing Importance for Dental Professionals

For me, at first it was difficult to see the value of accepting the barrage of LinkedIn invitations via email.  When considering the utility of social networks, the vast majority of dentists are taking advantage of Facebook to grow and market to local communities.  It’s of course become clear that LinkeIn is a fundamentally different tool, with different advantages, that needs a completely different strategy.  Most people tend to start with a very limited profile and slowly add more personal information once they see the value in growing their professional network.

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The Social Life of Dentists

By now it’s not news to anyone that the internet has transformed everything from the nature of interpersonal relationships to the way goods and services are sold, delivered, experienced, and used. This post is the first in a series that looks at how these phenomena are specifically affecting practicing dentists today. In particular, we highlight the fact that dentists, dental practices, dental service providers, and industry suppliers are all taking note of the social phenomenon coined the “Groundswell” in Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff’s great 2008 book by the same name. We’ll look at  how and why dentists have been learning to use web-based social technologies as tools to improve both their personal and business relationships.

Feeling the Groundswell

Li and Bernhoff characterize the groundswell as a social movement “in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other” rather than directly from corporations”. These “things” include goods, services, information, references, relationships, and more. Manufacturers and service providers are no longer the only “authoritative” and complete source of information about the products and services available on the market. Grassroots networks enabled by the low cost infrastructure of the web now provide consumers of all stripes with an ever growing library of user experience, reaction, and opinion that can help others find needed information and make good decisions.

What do the numbers show?

In September of 2010, Net 32 Inc., developer of leading B2B online comparison shopping marketplaces, completed a social technographic survey of 229 dentists.  This study, one of the first of its kind in the dental industry, revealed much about how dentists are currently utilizing some of the social tools that have now become a ubiquitous part of the web 2.0 experience. Of these dentists 70% visit online forums on a monthly basis, 58% are regular users of social networking sites, and 71% use online ratings and reviews to give product feedback and make purchasing decisions. These numbers clearly indicate that the professionals surveyed are becoming comfortable with web based networking tools. However, what we are really looking for is some evidence that social networking activity is becoming viewed as an important business development activity.

It’s Social Continuing Ed

One of the first insights to come out of this study is that dentists, along with many other professionals, now see the web as an important source of continuing education. However, they are not always looking for this education in the form of a nicely packaged class provided by a university, business development consultant, or other service provider. They are harkening back to their medical school days when they often learned as much from their fellow students as they did from their instructors. Now, they seek out the same trusted network of co-learners on forums and blogs that allow them to both absorb the opinion and insights of other, fellow professionals and offer their own input to this same community. All of this interaction takes place in a format that conveniently transcends the restrictions of time, location, and cost frequently associated with traditional learning environments like classrooms and conferences. These digital venues are equally attractive because they are responsive environments that usually adapt to the demands of their participants. Those involved in the exchange determine the direction and content of exploration and discussion.  Therefore, busy, established dentists can and do derive a lot of value from forums and blogs. Interestingly, this is born out in the numbers seen in Net32’s survey where roughly 61% of dentists who are regular users of these tools stated that they use them to seek clinical coaching. Roughly 42% of this same group is also seeking business advice from the same sources.

 

Next Time

Beyond professional use of forums and blogs, Net32’s survey yielded more valuable information about how dentist extract business value from the web. In our next post we will take a similar look at how these professionals are learning to use social networking tools for more than staying connected with friends and family.  Until then, hope to see you out there on the web.

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