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Big changes in social media

This is a wonderful time for dentists who use Social Media.  Things they are a changing for the better.  Dentists who have social media and internet profiles should have noticed some changes in the major platforms lately.  Facebook, Google, and Twitter have enacted and announced some cool new features.  These new tools will allow you to share content more easily and to take advantage of new technology.

One of the most obvious changes is Facebook's shift to "Like".  Those of you who have a Facebook page for your dental practice probably remember that those who follow your page were called fans.  Now your pages are called official pages and you no longer have fans, you have a cavalcade of people who "Like" your page.  The like is not only a move to add some positivity to the wordage, it marks an effort by Facebook to extend its connections to the entire internet.  Facebook announced that the "Like" option can be connected to most web content.  This means you will be able to add a "Like" button to your blog post or web narrative, allowing a web visitor to easily share the information found there.    Along with the "Like" option Facebook introduced a cooperation with partner sites, the most obvious being Yelp.  When visiting a profile on Yelp, your Facebook profile can be accessed.  This collaboration allows a visitor to share content found on Yelp with Facebook connections.  The collaboration is a great opportunity for Dentists to have their Yelp profile shared across Facebook.

Twitter has also announced some interesting changes coming down the line.  Twitter users know that the platform itself is a very stripped down format.  In order to add functionality to your Twitter experience, you must visit outside websites such as twitpic, tinyurl, or yfrog.  These website applications are created by third party designers outside of Twitter.  Many of these applications have become an integral part of the Twitter experience.  Until now Twitter has stayed out of the development game, but they are now going to develop their own applications.  These "official" applications have started with the like of the new official Twitter application for the Blackberry.  Twitter has also announced some changes in its platform's infrastructure.  Twitter will soon release the annotation feature, which will allow more information to be included in each tweet.  This will allow for long tail links, and embedding other material which will give the tweets more functionality like Facebook posts.  This move may upset twitter purists, but will allow for greater sharing capabilities.

Google has also announced some changes to its local business center.  All dentists should be familiar with Google's local business center.  It is where local listings are added, and most potential patients will find you online.  Now all dentists will need to become familiar with Google Places, the local business listing's new name.  Google places has some cool new features that the business center did not.  Places new geographic features will allow owners to choose a service radius, and pinpoint service areas.  This will be very helpful for practices that service many localities.    Places local listings also has a new feature that allows for status updates much like a social media platform.  What a great way to share a special or share links to your Facebook or Twitter page.  Google places appeals to the mobile market by offering QR codes for each listing.  QR codes are 2 dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by newer mobile devices and link to information like Google listings.  To learn more about QR codes at work visit our blog post from March.

Jason T. Lipscomb is a general dentist in Richmond, VA and a co-author of Social Media for Dentists.  Dr. Lipscomb has developed the methods used by Social Media for Dentists after several years of private practice.  He maintains a unique perspective on dental marketing by operating two busy practices and researching social media practices.  Social Media for Dentists is one of the only dental specific Social Media marketing books.  Social Media for Dentists L.L.C. offers hands on training to dentists all over the country.

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