You’re undoubtedly aware that social media is important for maintaining and growing your practice, but it’s understandable if you don’t know where to start. It can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have any experience with it or are uncomfortable with technology. Just remember that in the end it’s all about being social and engaging with your patients, it just happens to be taking place over Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few basic concepts basics to get you started.


If you don’t already have one, set up a business page on Facebook for your practice. Here you’ll be able to make posts about news or specials you may be running, or informative advice. If your patients really connect with something you’ve posted, they might share it, which will increase the visibility of your practice. So one tip is to keep “shareability” in mind when creating posts. All this really means is that your posts should be of value to your patients and are not frivolous or boring. Keep posts fairly short as well for maximum effectiveness.

In addition to the personal messages from your practice, you can share content you think your patients would be interested in such as articles and blog posts. When you share something from the web, Facebook will generate a preview of the site or article from the link. Once the preview has loaded, it’s good form to delete the original link to keep the post looking clean. The generated preview will act as the new link.

If you want to share posts from like-minded businesses, put the @ symbol in front of their name when you refer to them, that way they will get notified that you shared something of theirs. This is good because you start to form relationships with other businesses who will in turn share your quality content. This back and forth just further serves to get the name of your practice out there.


SImilar concepts apply to Twitter, except you only have 140 characters to get your message across. Still, you can link to longer articles, and share other posts you see on blogs or elsewhere on the internet. Keeping shareability in mind, it’s good to keep your messages to about 110 characters so that others have room to add a comment when sharing your material. The same principles apply to Twitter in that you want to provide value in your posts, have it be engaging, and light but informative. This will lead others to share your posts, which will spread the word about your practice. You’ll know you’re doing something right when patients and other businesses start sharing your posts and content.

When considering how you use Facebook and Twitter, keep a mind for the timing and how posts are displayed to users. Facebook uses their “News Feed” which contains some recent posts, as well as what it has determined to be revelant and important for any given user. This means that a single post can appear on a user's News Feed even if it has been posted 1, 5, even 24 hours ago (or more, if there is engagement happening)! The takeaway: Don't overdo it; a little can go a long way. If you flood someone's News Feed, you're more likely to lose fans than gain them.

Twitter, on the other hand, employs a true timeline, full of up-to-the-minute posts from everyone a user follows (with some exceptions for certain types of tweets). This means that each of your messages (Tweets) gets pushed down the timeline as new tweets are published by other users. For this reason, it's more acceptable to tweet multiple times per day, and even reshare content if applicable—e.g. “#ICYMI (In case you missed it): here's the link again!”

Social media is really just about adding value and sharing that with your patients. With both Facebook and Twitter, remember that you’re just socializing with your patients and that should help take away some of the intimidation. In fact, once you get going with social media you probably find that it even becomes fun.