Sticky situation: Managing social media for the dental practice


Dr. Clark wants to set up a Facebook page for his practice. He knows nothing about Facebook or social media and is not particularly good with anything computer-related. He knows that Molly, his newest hire at his front desk, just graduated from college, and he’s noticed that she is always on Facebook on her phone. She seems like the perfect person to put in charge of the practice’s new Facebook page.

Molly is unhappy. She doesn’t want any additional responsibility and has openly admitted to Dr. Clark that she doesn’t know anything about managing a page for a business. Dr. Clark doesn’t understand why Molly is so uncooperative.

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Social media is a terrific vehicle for ongoing patient communication; however it requires forethought and good judgment. Online profiles should be treated as an extension of the dental practice. Since they are often among the first impressions a prospective patient will come across, it is imperative that the social media profiles reflect professionally upon the practice.

The dentist should not expect to be in charge of the day-to-day social media responsibilities. While he or she should be aware of the overall activity, the dentist already has a full plate managing the multitude of other tasks related to patient care and practice management.

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If the dentist is going to designate a staff member to handle the social media, it should be someone who has a deep understanding of the dentist as well as the overall values and philosophy of the practice. The staff member should be comfortable with the responsibility, and should have sufficient time allotted in their schedule to update the profiles and engage with followers on a regular basis. Age should have nothing to do with who is put in charge of the dental practice social media.

Sometimes the staff is simply too busy with their existing responsibilities, while other practices may not have anyone on the team qualified to head up a social media plan. In these cases, consider hiring a trusted industry vendor to help initially build the profiles so they are complete and thorough, as well as to keep them updated on an ongoing basis with relevant information. Two such industry leaders include Sesame Communications and My Social Practice.

Regardless of who is in charge, social media can be a beneficial tool for dentists. Facebook, among other social networking sites, is one relatively easy and cost-effective way of staying in contact with patients year round, and gives dentists an opportunity to showcase the personality of the dental practice. Choosing the right person to spearhead the social media plan can mean the difference between a plain vanilla social presence and a dynamic, engaging page that patients truly want to interact with.

RELATED: Social media training webinar series for dental professionals

Have a Sticky Situation you need help with? Contact us at Pride Institute offers an array of consulting services, products, and seminars to enhance the lives of dentists, their teams and ultimately their patients. For more information about our services, speak with one of our client services specialists at (800) 925-2600 or visit us at

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