Social Media/Website marketing for Dentists privacy concerns.

As many of you have probably heard, Facebook is facing some real privacy concerns.  They have made changes to the platform that have upset a large portion of the population.  When I talk to dentists about social media, privacy is one of their biggest concerns.  The fact is, that many of these privacy concerns can be overcome with a little bit of due diligence and discretion.

The problems arose when Facebook switched from its default platform of "All private until made public" to "All public until made private".  This switched all profiles to a public setup until the user actually changed the privacy settings.  At that time I encouraged everyone to evaluate their privacy settings, and make sure that they fall in line with their plans.  This is also why I discourage the use of a personal profile for business use.  It is very hard to maintain privacy while advertising your business from the same profile.

Facebook has also incorporated instant personalization with partner websites like Yelp.  The instant personalization pulls profile information from Facebook while you search Yelp in order to give more pertinent search info.  Privacy advocates see this instant personalization as a threat, and invasion of privacy.  Facebook is also making more information from profiles and posts visible on the internal Facebook search engine, as well as third party search engines.  This is a great concern for the Facebook population, because they feel that their posts are somewhat private.

The truth is, this is all nothing new.  Google stores every email sent through its GMail platform, and indexes the content of your emails to provide targeted advertising.  Have you ever received an email about a dental procedure and noticed that the ads on the side are all about dentistry?  Google also has a picture of my house on the Internet, and various other facts.  Even if you don't pursue an Internet presence, it is already there.

There are ways to protect yourself.  Facebook is totally voluntary.  You do not have to have a profile if you don't want one.  You also don't have to provide every tidbit of information about yourself.  The old expression garbage in, garbage out definitely applies here.  Only post information that you want others to see.  Be sure to use the privacy settings given to you.  Take the time to evaluate each setting, and make sure it is to your liking.  Facebook recently added a new privacy feature to address public searches.

This feature will allow you to exclude your profile in search queries.

The other new feature you will see when you log in will be the computer registration.  Computer registration is meant to prevent phishing attacks, by authenticating log ins.  Many of you have probably been the victim of, or seen phishing attacks.  Here is one that I recently received.

It is the typical phishing attack.  It has a funny comment that says something like "Is this you" or "Check out this funny picture" then a shortened link to obscure its true target.  Once you visit the link, the scammers will piggyback onto your account and send out similar messages to your friends.  A nice virus or malware will probably attack your computer also.  The computer registration will help prevent these attacks from piggybacking your account, so don't take them lightly.

Now we have established that all of these privacy changes are bad, RIGHT??  Not necessarily.  The whole goal of putting your dental practice on Social Media is to gain visibility.  The privacy changes, for all of their faults, are actually a plus for small businesses.  The changes allow for mundane posts from your fan page to populate search results and be seen by more people.   They also allow you access to the social consciousness, and find out what people are thinking around you.  Instant personalization as seen on can make it easier for people to share your listing.  It allows for more content to cross the Internet/social media gap.   So while you may want to shore up your personal profile, let your public fan page fly.  Enjoy the features that may make you a social media dental star.

Be sure to become a fan of Social Media for Dentists on Facebook.

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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