Q&A: How to Make Your Practice's Social Media Efforts Pay Off

January 10, 2017
Joe Hannan

We sat down with Derek Pearson, the vice president of Business Development at Banyan, a company dedicated to improving social media performance for dentists, to find out what dentist can do on the web to attract patients to their practices.

Derek Pearson is vice president of Business Development at Banyan, a company dedicated to improving social media performance for dentists. He sat down with Dentist’s Money Digest® at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, held Nov. 24-29, 2016, to discuss the common denominators of success he sees on social media in dentistry.

Q: What sorts of things should dentists be doing on social media in order to set themselves apart?

Derek Pearson: It’s about being personal. Everybody knows dentistry is about relationships. To build relationships, you have to be personal. Facebook, Instagram, all of these social media tools are a relationship play.

Q: What sorts of things should dentists be doing on social media in order to set themselves apart?

Pearson: On social media, dentists need to be different. They need to stand out, and the only way to really do that is to engage with what your audience will want. A lot of dentists think, “If I post this before and after photo of an implant that I did, I’ll get a lot of engagement,” but they won’t. What they need to do is they need to post pictures of them with their patients. They need to post pictures of people: their patients, their staff, them. They even need to post pictures of their family and what they do, because our patients want to get to know who you actually are.

Q: What are some of the common mistakes that you see dentists making on social media?

Pearson: The most common mistakes I see dentists making on social media is they’ll post manufactured content: a tooth joke or an oral-health fact. That’s OK to post occasionally, but people don’t pay attention to that. It looks fake. It doesn’t help me get to know you as a person. It doesn’t help me get to know you as a dentist. It doesn’t help me trust you or even really like you. It tells me nothing about you.

Q: Which social media platforms tend to be the most effective?

Pearson: Ultimately, at the end of the day, Facebook is by far the biggest one. Instagram is going to be number two. Twitter is really hard to do for a dentist but if you do it right, you can be effective with it. It just takes a lot of time and energy, where Facebook and Instagram are going to be a little bit easier and a lot more effective. And YouTube, even though it’s not fully a social media platform, YouTube videos are huge for dentists. They help your SEO — where you rank on Google. But by far, Facebook is the most impactful.

Q: What are some of the content types that have been proven to get readers’ attention?

Pearson: There’s really only three types of content in my mind. There’s educational. There’s manufactured: the memes, the jokes. And then there’s real and personal. … Ultimately, you’ll start having success as a practice when your business Facebook page starts looking like a personal Facebook page. … If you have a patient that comes in and had no cavities, take a photo of that. Celebrate those moments. If you have a veteran come in, you have a police officer, you have patients that you just have great relationships with, take those photos and celebrate them online. We live in a culture where we love sharing. Your patients are part of that culture and they love sharing. Why not help them share these experiences?

Q: What are some of the pitfalls with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance?

Pearson: The best tip I can give for a practice to stay HIPAA compliant is put a system in place that can be automated. When things are automated, you don’t forget. Put a system in place and make sure that you’re following it consistently, that your team knows it.

Related Content:

News