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Facebook for Dentists and Doctors - What You Need to Know - Part I

Published:  April 21, 2012

Having a great website is only one part of your dental or medical office's online presence, and integrating social media with Facebook can be important for continued online success.  In Part I of this article series about Facebook, I will go over the basic Facebook concepts.

Social Media in Perspective

As I review in The Web Design Workbook for Dentists, I break-down your online presence into four phases:
1) Initial Website Development
2) Search Engine Optimization
3) Social Media and Newsletters
4) Website Maintenance
Facebook and other sites such as Twitter fall into Phase 3 above, where you focus on enhancing your social media presence.

What is Facebook?  And Why Should Dentists and Doctors Care?

Facebook is arguably the world's largest social media website, and data show that people spend hours on Facebook every day.  Facebook was originally designed as a platform for people to easily share information with their friends and colleagues.  And while Facebook has achieved this goal of connecting people, the advantage for professionals such as dentists and doctors is that having a presence on Facebook can get your office greater exposure that it would with a website alone.

How Does Facebook Work for Individuals?

Generally speaking, a person will sign up for a free Facebook account and then start adding "friends".  A "friend" is simply another trusted person on Facebook.  So if you create a Facebook account for yourself, you would likely then add your spouse, and some of your close personal friends, for example, as "friends" on the account.
Facebook is driven by people adding information or, "status updates" and your Facebook account can be configured so that only your "friends" (recall that "friends" are trusted people) can see what your are posting.  So if you are on your summer vacation and you post some pictures of your family on Facebook, only your friends will be able to see these photos.  This setup makes sense, as you don't want the entire world being able to see your personal pictures.
I will delve into this more in Part II of this article series, but understand for now that there are two types of Facebook entities.  The first is your personal Facebook page, and the second is a business' page or what's often call the fan page for a business.

What is a "Like"?

The buzz around the marketing world is getting people to "Like" a product or service on Facebook.  I'm sure you've seen countless ads that say, "Like us on Facebook".  A "Like" is simply a way of suggesting a product or service to your friends, or highlighting that a product or service is something that you are interested in.  When you "Like" a something, a notification appears on your personal page that you "Like" this entity, and all of your friends can see this "Like".

What's Next?

In Part II of this article series I will go into more detail about Facebook fan pages for your office, and how getting people to "Like" your office's page can help you get new patients and engage existing ones at the same time.

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