One of my really good friends refuses to use Facebook. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to see or talk with her that often,
so keeping a connection through Facebook would be great.
But when I say she “refuses” to use Facebook, I might be under-communicating her utmost dislike and ultimate stubbornness against it. With a roll of her eyes and the toss of her hair, she expounds on how she will never use it (NEVER!).
So, in a fit of curiosity, I asked her why. I pointed out that she’s kept up with other technologies; for example, she texts using a cell phone, corresponds via email, and uploads photos to get them developed. After some stuttering, she couldn’t really tell me.
In a recent study of dentists and social media through The Wealthy Dentist, there were several valid questions and reasons regarding whether or not social media should be used, ranging from not understanding the technology to feeling like there’s no time to manage it. However, there are some pretty compelling reasons to take advantage of the social media outlets available.
Why Use Social Media?
If you’ve been around awhile like I have, you might be skeptical of the perceived need to use social media outlets for your business. It turns out that even though technology changes often, there are definite benefits for getting involved in a social internet experience:
- building relationships with current and prospective patients
- offering “inside” information to make you more approachable and accessible
- allowing your current clients to share their experiences through word-of-mouth
- data regarding interaction with fans in social media can be tracked
- social media outlets are becoming increasingly important to Google and search engine results
A wide range of strategies work together to create your business presence online and in your community – utilizing social media is definitely an important aspect of interactive marketing.
Social Media Tools Available
- Facebook – well-known and fairly easy to use, has Business Pages interface, and users can upload photos and video to share with friends and fans
- Twitter – also well-established, expressing thoughts and ideas in 140 characters makes life more manageable, generally a different audience than Facebook participates in Twitter networking
- Linked In – more of a business-oriented interface to connect with colleagues you may know based on your career, school and general background, not as organically interactive but crosses over with Twitter
- Google+ – Facebook’s main contender in the fight for social media dominance, circles of friends to stay in touch, photos and videos, definitely one to keep an eye on for future effects on Google search rankings
There are more social media outlets, but these four dominate the landscape and tend to be pretty easy to learn and manage.
Getting Started With Social Media
The most important piece of advice I can pass on when it comes to using social media is to GO SLOW. You’ll feel like the tortoise against the hare in a race to the finish, but be aware that even though technology developments seems to spin faster, we don’t have to – and you’ll just feel frustrated if you try.
Instead, choose ONE social media outlet to begin using for your business. We help our clients by setting up and teaching them how to use Facebook as a way to connect with prospective and current patients, as well as helping them maintain their Facebook Places pages. Assisting clients with how to use just this one social media outlet builds confidence regarding technology and its function within bigger interactive marketing strategies.
As you experiment with your chosen social media, remember to practice patience. Building an audience is like building an investment portfolio – progress comes with consistent input and a lot of time. Consistent posting and patience now will build a loyal audience willing to interact with you and your business even as technology trends change.
Kelly Wilson is a project coordinator for Verticalwerks Interactive Media. What’s your story? Let Verticalwerks help you share it with the world.