By Drs. Bill and Christina Blatchford Dental Marketing Consultants
The term social media has become part of our lexicon. It happened somewhere around the turn of the century. The most recent one, that is.
Before that the words weren’t commonly used together. Social comes from the Latin, “Socius” which means friend. Media derives from the Latin, “Medi,” which means middle. The use of, “Medi,” here i,s “Medium,” and refers a go-between or means of communication between parties. Media is a collective noun that refers to the many, “mediums,” or methods of mass communication. Put the two together and we have mass communication among friends or, “Social media.” We all know the big ones – Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on.
The rapid rise of social media is a testament to human beings’ need for having contact with other humans. This comes with its share of pitfalls. Additionally, it comes with its share of tremendous potential usefulness through Dental Marketing. According to the website Statista.com, Facebook had, at the end of the third quarter of 2015, 1.55 BILLION active users. That is more than half of the planet’s internet users.
The pitfall of most concern to me is that as humans we often mistake quantity for quality. How many times have you heard someone say, “I have 123 Facebook friends”? We have so many Facebook friends but very few real friends. We miss out on those small but important interactions. Something as small as asking for directions from a stranger is no longer part of a road trip. I would argue that takes away from the richness of our experience as humans.
We are innately social beings. I have seen social media take the place of a real face-to-face conversation. Interpersonal communication can only happen in the company of another person. It happens when we can see the whites of their eyes, their posture, their glances, their tone of voice, and their facial expressions. We miss that when we mistake the quantity of, “Friends,” for the quality of friends.
The social media outlets are literally at our fingertips when it comes to Dental Marketing. It is so easy. The usefulness is almost unlimited. It allows us to share the news of a new baby, pictures of graduation, and that all too tasty lasagna we had for dinner. We need social media to promote our businesses. It is even becoming a critical tool used by first responders in emergency situations.
My daughter pointed me to this video by Gary Turk. He presents an interesting perspective and a great message. Here is a link to the video for your viewing pleasure.
As dentists, we have the opportunity to make real connections with people using social media and Dental Marketing. We are face to face with our dental patients every day. Our receptionists greet them warmly. They sit in our dental chair and have intermittent conversations with us and our team. We are not ensconced in social media during the day because we are face to face with real, live people. We cannot solve their problems online, through email or by liking their pictures on Facebook. We have the chance to get to know these people and what they do everyday. What interests them? What do they enjoy? How do they see the world?
As a business coach for dentists and dental marketing expert, I encourage clients to make real connections with their patients, families, and employees. Be real. Be present and love life. Do not miss out on the rich connections that are right in front of you because you are tied to your phone. Make the commitment to put it down, even during your breaks. Look up, talk and connect the “old fashioned” way. Try calling that old pal you haven’t seen for a while. Better yet, call and invite her out to dinner. Taking the time to foster and maintain real personal connections is rewarding in a way that no social media interaction can ever be. Try it, you’ll like it.