Five Social Media Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals

By: Will Koziey-Kronas
As a platform for promoting your practice, social media is a flexible, blank slate that you can take in any direction you want. That's what makes social media a powerful component of your practice's online presence - but that freedom can also make social media intimidating to manage. If you've ever felt unsure about how to best capitalize on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, read on as we discuss five best practices for dental social media pages.

  1. Find the right balance between personal and professional

  2. First, the content. Social media is an excellent platform for promoting your practice and all things dentistry - dental news, tips, and special offers, for example. But don't neglect the "social": if you or your staff have personal news worth sharing, social media gives you the chance to share those experiences and build a human connection with your patients.

    Is there an expecting mother? A new hire? A birthday celebration? Personal news may seem irrelevant, but according to our analytics, the most commonly visited page on dental websites (beyond the homepage) is the "our team" section - your patients want to know more about you!

    A good example of engaging personal content from Maple Dental health

    Just remember to maintain a balance between personal and professional content. If you only share personal news, you miss the chance to promote your services - and you may disinterest followers who rely on your page for dental info.

  3. Another Balancing Act: Unique Content and Reposted Content

  4. Once you've found the right balance between personal and dental-related content, another question arises: how much of the dental-related content should you create yourself? A quick Google search for "dental tip images" or "funny dental comics" can yield hundreds of cute, funny, or interesting results, like the image below.

    Bite-sized images like these are perfect for social media

    The good news is that reposting content from other sources if perfectly fine, as long as you consider three important caveats: first, check if the author has given permission, or if the image is part of the creative commons (a body of creative works that can be legally reproduced). Further, ensure the name of the original creator is visible in the image you post, whether this is a watermark or signature. Second, when you post content you haven't created, add your own caption - you still have a chance to get your voice in there.

    Lastly - and most importantly - balance content from other creators with content you create yourself. If you only post content from outside sources, your social media presence can come across as low-effort to your followers. Content you create yourself doesn’t need to be elaborate. You can repurpose dental tips and humor you find elsewhere with your own format, like "Dr. X's Tip Tuesday", with photos of your dentist demonstrating advice they wish to pass on.

    A strong example of unique content that promotes, entertains, and engages followers is Prosthodontic Associates "Where do you read Inside PA?" format, where the practice asks patients to post any interesting places they take the newsletter:

    If you don't feel as if you have the resources or time to create your own posts, we create unique content every month at UpOnline as part of our social media service, ensuring you would never have to resort to recycled images.

  5. Stay Consistent
  6. With content considered, it's important to think ahead and establish a consistent posting schedule. Whether you plan to post bi-weekly, weekly, or daily, consistent activity over time is key. Periods of inactivity can give patients the wrong impression of your practice - like business troubles and a disinterest in your online presence - even if you had steady activity beforehand.

    To schedule posts, access the publishing tools at the top of your Facebook page

    Try to find a post rate that allows you to maintain a level of quality you're happy with. At UpOnline, we can handle the scheduling and creation of social media content for your practice, maintaining a minimum of one post per week.

  7. Respond

  8. Social media is a two-way platform, and patients may reach out with questions and communications of their own. Questions you receive over social media should be treated with the same care as questions you receive through other mediums, like phone or email. In fact, if the question is posted publicly (on your Facebook wall, for example), ensure that your response is particularly quick and tactful to impression well upon anyone who sees it.

    Credit River Dental with prompt (look at the timestamps) and friendly responses

    Don't feel as if responses are limited to direct questions, however. Find a way to respond to every patient comment and communication you can. If someone posts a review through Facebook, positive or negative, respond (if you aren't sure how to respond to a negative review, check out our article here). If someone shares one of your posts, thank them in the comments. Even if someone has simply typed a "lol" or "interesting" on a dental joke or tip, express your appreciation for their participation.

    Engaging with all of your follower's communications, however minor, reinforces an image of interest and appreciation.

  9. Share and Retweet

  10. If you come across an interesting dental-related article, sharing or retweeting is an efficient way of keeping your page active. Shares and retweets won't stand in for your own original content, but they work well as supplementary activity that you can provide more frequently.

    Hillcrest Dental sharing a humorous dental-related video with their own caption.  Note how the shared post still reached a high level of engagement, with 10 reactions.

    While sharing and retweeting by nature diverts your followers attention to another page, the post is embedded on your feed with its own comment section, so your followers still have a place to discuss with you.

Hopefully, these tips have given you a solid foundation to bolster your social media presence, and in turn, your business. If you have any further questions about managing your practice’s social media, contact us and we may be able to help you with your social media needs.