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I have been reading many posts about social media lately, and most of them have been very positive. However some prove that the may be a bit of a social media meltdown occurring. I think doctors are being bombarded with “Social Media” and it may be too much for some people. These are the same people who are probably wondering why they can’t get the web address they want. The fact is, any dentist who wants to be found on the Internet needs social media.

Every dentist who has a website wants it to be #1 on Google. SEO (search engine optimization) has become a big business. Dentists often pay thousands of dollars to position their website at the top. The fact is, only 10 websites can appear on the first page of Google. It is physically impossible for every dental website to appear on the front page, even if 40 dentists are paying thousands to be there. Don’t get me wrong SEO is very important, but what do you do if you can’t get to the first page. The immediate answer is to buy AdWords space on Google. These AdWords ads will show up around the search results. The problem is they all look the same. The other problem is, you have to pay a lot of money per click to get any value from them. Web users have become wise to these ad campaigns, and usually don’t pay attention to them. They will go right for the real content, the Google map listings and web listings.

This is where social media comes in. Since so few dentists have Facebook fan pages or profiles, it is easy to become very visible in the community. There are probably only a handful of dentists using social media in each area. This makes it very easy to establish a foothold on one of the most visited websites in the U.S. The average user spends almost an hour a day on Facebook, and you can be there! So when you can’t get your website to the first page of Google, step outside the box. You can gain visibility elsewhere for FREE. Search engines are using social media content more and more all the time. Your social media use may even help your website to get to the first page of Google. Some Facebook pages appear there!

Dentists need to aware that there is a big name grab going on in Social Media. Social media names and custom URLs make up a large component of the SEO of social media. Those who are late to the game may find slim pickings. Don’t wait around to see if this social media thing takes off, it has already left the gate! Dentists need to protect their identity and the identity of their practice. It will take a lot of legal activity to regain what is rightfully yours if you don’t. Even if you don’t believe in social media, stake your claim now before it is too late.

Social media also presents a opportunity to those who aren’t tech savvy or don’t have the means to start a website. Social Media is free! There is no better opportunity to gain free visibility online than social media. Even those who don’t know how to design a website can probably take a picture and write a few words. Great profiles can be created with clever writing and interesting pictures. The interpersonal skills that make you successful as a dentist can also translate into social media.

There is room in this world for all of us, but there isn’t on the front page of Google. Recognize social media for what it can do for your practice.

Jason Lipscomb is a general dentist in Virginia. Dr. Lipscomb co-founded Social Media for Dentists, a company that instructs dentists Social Media marketing. Dr. Lipscomb also co-authored "Social Media for Dentists" the complete handbook for dentists using social media.


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