Can Your Personal Social Media Damage Your Dental Practice?
As a dentist, or really any business operator, it’s sometimes difficult to separate your professional and personal life. It’s importantfor your patients to know you are actually human and not just some person who drills their teeth!
Comfort is vital for patients. That is why some things are best left unsaid. Most professionals have mastered this art—things that make you laugh at work might not make you crack a grin at home. However, with the increased prominence of social media in promoting businesses, it’s crucial to be able to separate what you advertise on your personal and practice pages.
The first step is realizing that there should be a distinction between John Smith’s personal pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and Dr. John Smith’s dental practice pages. The former is a personal social media outlet for your personal views. The latter should advertise your practice. Any opinions that are shared on your practice’s page should involve dentistry, not thoughts on the local sports team or a new restaurant around the block! You never know what your patients can take offense to—some may choose to leave your practice just because of a misinterpreted joke about your plumber. By separating business from pleasure, you are allowing your practice and dental skills to speak for themselves, not your personal opinions.
Even if you separate your social media pages, it would be futile if your personal pages were open to the public. Creating strict privacy settings on your personal profiles is essential in dividing your pages. Make sure the only people who can view your personal posts are your “friends” or “followers.” It should go without saying that your patients should not be in those groups. On your personal pages, connect with friends and family. On your professional pages, connect with patients and other dentists.
In sum, you can and should be a real person, but things you would not say in your office should be things you would not say in your professional profiles. You wouldn’t show your patients pictures from your best friend’s bachelor party this past weekend, so make sure they don’t see them on your social media either. You may never know how much damage your personal pages can have on your practice…so don’t take a chance by finding out the hard way!