With new social media sites like Pinterest and Google+ making headlines, it’s no wonder most people are overwhelmed by social media. 2012 is all about the year of focus. This article will help you know where to spend your time and stay laser focused on the social media sites that can add value to your business.
Step 1: Fish where the fish are.
Where are your patients and potential patients spending time online? If they are age 50 and above, chances are they are not on Twitter. So I don’t suggest you spend a lot of time there! You don’t have to be on all social media sites. REPEAT: You don’t have to be on all social media sites.
Decide where your audience is spending time and plant your flag on those sites. For most dentists, two sites immediately should come to mind: Facebook and Google+ Local Business. Facebook should be high on your priority list because most of your patients frequent this site daily. And potential patients looking for a dental practice in your area will probably see your Google+ Local Business page before they hit your Website. More on that in a moment.
Step 2: Be proud of your profiles.
When people do research on your practice, where do they go? I think we’d all agree it’s somewhere on the web. They’ll probably start with Google and then end up on a social media site or your Website.
Think of it like a real estate agent showing your house. Every room needs to be perfect so you have the best chance of selling that house.
Same with your all of your web pages.
There are three ways to negatively impact a person’s impression of you:
1. Ugly site – make sure you have a professional looking Website. That’s a no-brainer. Impress your prospects. If your site was developed back in 2002, I bet it’s time for an upgrade.
2. Low numbers – If it’s a social media site like a Facebook fan page or LinkedIn profile, nothing says small, unpopular or old fashioned than low numbers. So work on getting lots of fans to your Facebook page, connections to your LinkedIn page or followers to your Twitter profile. Wherever you decide to have a profile, work on building your numbers.
3. Bad reviews – There’s not much we can do to stop a bad review from happening. It’s the web and people love to use it as a soapbox for their unhappiness. So don’t be alarmed if you get one on Google or somewhere else. To protect yourself, be
proactive in getting positive reviews. People can write them on your Facebook business page, Personal LinkedIn profile, Google+ Local Business page or somewhere else. Just make sure you ask! When a patient shares a compliment in person or over the phone, do you ask for a web review? Why not? It will pay dividends forever! You should hand them a card that shows them exactly how and where they can write their thoughts on the web for the world to see.
Step 3: Get control of your online reputation.
Typically, when someone uses Google to find practice, they will see the map on the right and a list of local businesses they can choose from. This listing also shows reviews. How many do you have? Don’t know? WHY? This is either helping or hindering your chance of getting their business. So go Google yourself and add your city and state. Click on the link that says Reviews. How are you doing? Do you have any reviews? Do you have any negative reviews?
If you haven’t claimed this page yet, claim it. Look for the words Is this your business? and follow the steps to claim your page. Once claimed, you can respond to reviews, change your contact info and get reports from Google on how this page is performing.

But the most important step here is to remind your happy patients that this page is out there and that you’d love for them to write you a review. Don’t wait around for the one unhappy patient to write a nasty review, be proactive and protect your reputation by getting good customers to tell the world why you’re the best.
Note: Yelp.com is a different animal. They discourage business owners from soliciting reviews from their customers and will attempt to filter them. I’m not a fan of this but it is what it is. So take note of it.
Step 4: Content is king.
If social media was easy, everyone would be doing it. Wait, everyone is doing it. But, very few are doing it well. So what can you do to actually see a result from social media? First, create engaging content that your customers and prospects really care about.
As I write this, the Olympics are right around the corner. Almost everyone will be watching and talking about it. For the businesses that we work with, we’ll be integrating the Olympics into some of the content we create. I’m willing to bet we will get a lot of engagement because that is what people are interested in talking about.
So get some engagement. Then it’s ok to sprinkle in some things about your practice. You’ve earned the right. Mention an event you have coming up, a special that you’re running just this week or a customer that you’d like to highlight. These are great ways to ‘softly-promote’ your business instead of aggressively sell.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to Make It About Them. I don’t care if you’re using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog or something else, think about what your audience cares about and talk about it. Engagement is your metric for how well you’re staying ‘top of mind’ with your network. Just last month I signed up for life insurance with a guy who’s been bugging me (I mean reminding me 😉 to do it for over a year. I decided to pull the trigger because I saw a link he posted on LinkedIn about the dangers of not having life insurance when you have a family. He was on my radar when I was in buy mode and he earned my business.
About the author:
Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, best selling author and nationally-recognized social media speaker. His most recent book, eBoot Camp, (Wiley) became an Amazon.com bestseller and received global attention with distribution rights deals in both China and India. He delivers keynote presentations and workshops to audiences all over the world.

Corey’s company, eBoot Camp, Inc., is a social media marketing company that builds and manages online marketing campaigns for businesses.
Connect with Corey:
www.Facebook.com/eBootCamp www.Linkedin.com/in/coreyperlman www.Twitter.com/CoreyPerlman