Guest post by Brian Baliwas, DDS
Four years ago, I took a risk as a new grad and joined a group practice in San Francisco to try and build a patient base of my own. A few trusted mentors supported the idea and gave me the confidence that building something for myself straight out of school was a good idea.
I saw a staggering FIVE patients in my first week. My days were full of hygiene and down time, but I kept a positive outlook throughout it all. I knew that if I did good work and treated people like family, this slow start and double-digit patient count would be temporary.
Like any dental startup, the priority was getting patients in the door. When I wasn’t with patients, I brainstormed different ways to market my practice with a limited marketing budget. Today, my patient count is in the quadruple digits, and I believe social media has played a significant role in that growth.
Social media gives dentists an opportunity to show potential patients something no other type of marketing can: a glimpse of who they are behind the mask. Dentists who treat social media like traditional advertising and post about whitening specials and Invisalign discounts miss out on the opportunity to really convey their personality and practice philosophy.
In addition to growing my practice, social media has allowed me to connect with people I may have never met. Aside from patients, I’ve met other dentists, specialists, dental students, laboratory techs, and dental product reps. I use it to stay connected with people I meet at conferences. I even met the person mentoring me towards AACD accreditation, Dr. Adamo Notarantonio (@adamoelvis), through Instagram!
The question you must ask yourself when starting a dental social media account is: what do you want to share and who are you targeting?
If growing a practice is your goal, don’t get caught up focusing on irrelevant numbers. Patients don’t (directly) care about your follower count, follower to following ratios, how many likes you received, or other meaningless social media statistics. Focus on content and providing information they would find valuable. Nothing else matters.
If you have a great personality and provide honest dental care, your future patients deserve to know! Take pictures of your office, staff, patients and dental work (with permission), volunteering, CE courses, hobbies, humor, family, and individuality. Share who you are… and then share some more.
Brian Baliwas (@sfdentalnerd) received his DDS degree from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, where he graduated with high honors and was elected to join both Omicron Kappa Upsilon and Tau Kappa Omega dental honor societies. He is an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Academy of General Dentistry, and maintains a fee-for-service private practice in San Francisco, California, with two locations near Union Square and the Marina district.
His practice philosophy is centered on conservative, highly esthetic, comprehensive dentistry that utilizes modern technology and techniques. Dr. Baliwas also teaches part-time at UOP in the Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences.