So let's start with the basics: a fan page and a personal profile are 2 different things on Facebook. A page is for your business. You would start here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Click on "Local Business or Place" and choose the "Health, Medical, Pharmacy" category. There is no "dentist" category, and if you create one, you will not be able to do certain things with your page.
Fill out EVERYTHING! Your hours, your services, all of it. Especially at the bottom, be sure to put your website, an email address where you can be contacted and your practice phone number.
So your page is up and running. What's next? Now you need to make it someone's job in the office to post on a regular basis. NOT the dentist! There is undoubtedly a Facebook geek in your office. Make it part of her job. This person should be checking Facebook every day, commenting whenever a patient posts, and adding posts, photos and occasional videos.
You also need to start asking patients to "like" your page. You can do this by asking them personally, by emailing them, and by doing little contests or giveaways.
This matters for 2 reasons. First, viewers want to see new posts and lots of them. That adds credibility. Second, the search engines look at the posts. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are looking at your fan page (they can't see Facebook personal profiles), and they are indexing them as one of the factors in determining the relevance of your website. In other words, better SEO.
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This blog post was re-posted with permission from 1-800-DENTIST.
Fred Joyal is the Co-Founder of 1-800-DENTIST, and author of the book Everything Is Marketing: the Ultimate Strategy for Dental Practice Growth. He has worked in the dental industry for 26 years, and has helped thousands of practices grow with new patients and with marketing guidance. He speaks all over the country on dental marketing, social media, and practice management.