By Dr. Louis Malcmacher DDS MAGD
Looking at the title of this article, many of you will probably think that this is another article about Facebook or Twitter. Let me talk about a more basic social media experience. Social media does not just occur on the internet – it also occurs right in your office every single day in front of your patients who are already there. This is just as important as any internet social media – probably even more so since you are interfacing with real live people every single day.
The whole point of social media is connecting and interacting with your patients. There are a number of ways you can do this, but I am going to give you one surefire and simple method all of you can partake in immediately. Your patients want to know more about you. Yes, they know you are a dentist, but that’s about it. The social media that I am talking about is a simple and effective way for your patients to instantly connect with you, and give you an opening to find some similar ground to build a connection that will result in a lifelong relationship.
Doctors love to have a private office and many times will fill their private office with all sorts of personal knickknacks, memorabilia, family photos, and diplomas. How about if you put these items in the reception area or operatory walls? Let your patients know you are a family person and have children. That instantly gives them something to talk to you about to start establishing that connection. If you love golf, there are lots of golfers in your office who would love to talk golf. Your private office is the last place patients are going to see these things – put them somewhere that people will see them!
Have you ever won any awards? Do you have any letters of recommendation for going into the local kindergarten class to teach them about their teeth? Do you have a certificate that shows that you have taken CPR? How about that nice letter from a local charity thanking you for donations? These things should not be in a file somewhere, they should be up on the wall so that your patients can connect with you instantly.
Now let’s get to the topic of professional designations. Your diploma is mounted on a beautiful plaque somewhere – dig it out and get it up on your walls where people can see it. Are you a member of The American Dental Association (
www.ada.org) or The Academy of General Dentistry ( www.agd.org)? They both send nice membership certificates to display – get it up on the wall! How about the prestigious dental academies such as The Academy of Laser Dentistry ( www.laserdentistry.org), American Academy of Implant Dentistry or The American Academy of Facial Esthetics ( www.facialesthetics.org)? Patients react very favorably to seeing all of these professional designations. It lets them know that you have been recognized as a member and are connected to a national dental organization, which makes patients feel much more confident in your ability to treat them.
Dentists have always been very involved in continuing education, and if you have a fellowship in general dentistry, implant dentistry, laser dentistry, or facial esthetics, this just shows patients a certain level of commitment that sets you apart from every other dentist. However, this only works if patients know about it. It does not work when these awards are sitting tucked behind your filing cabinet. You and I both notice this when we are the patient. The dermatologist that I go to for my annual mole check is part of every professional dermatological society – it’s one of the reasons I chose him as my dermatologist. Professional designations are a powerful tool that is underused by most dentists.
True social media begins when you connect with the patient while they are right in your office. Let the patient get to know you as a person and especially your professional accomplishments. It requires no internet skills at all. The only thing you have to do is learn how to hang pictures in your reception area or operatory wall.
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist in Bay Village, Ohio, an internationally known lecturer, dental consultant and author, and is President of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics.
Interested in having Dr. Malcmacher speak to your dental society or study club? To reach Dr. Malcmacher,
email him or call 1.800.952.0521.