Mark Oborn asked the interesting question, “Does having your patients visible on a Facebook fan page concern you?” on the Dentinal Tubules forum. Check it out (you’ll have to register to login) and give us your thoughts!
I just posted my reply:
Great question Mark.
I call this the Facebook CC Risk Factor.
If your Facebook strategy involves getting all your patients to join your fan page or group then the risk is similar to sending an email shot and CC’ing your entire patient base and BCC’ing your competitors so they can get your list too. It only takes 1 bad egg to “reply all” and turn an open evening invite into a nightmare PR stunt.
I really hope dentists understand the risks before they jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Never before would dentists in their wildest dreams open their patient books to the public, revealing their patients to other patients and revealing their base to their competition. But now dentists are allowing angry patients, investigative journalists, and private detectives (fronts for solicitors) who wish to expose or sue a dentist now have access to other patients. Is this the rise of group litigation? Only time will tell but we are definitely exposing ourselves.
A lot of dentists are setting up Facebook groups without understanding the basics of Privacy settings. I don’t think dentists should allow anyone to write on their walls. You wouldn’t let patients write directly (unmoderated) onto your website, so why write on your Facebook wall ?
There seems to be different standards of privacy and access in basic Facebook marketing and this does concern me. Dentists do need to be guided and told the dangers – then the decision to go ahead is theirs and because the benefits of Facebook Fan Pages and Groups clearly outweigh the risks.
There are other Facebook strategies you can implement that involve no risk and do not publicly reveal your assets. You do need to have creative and innovative incentives for your patients to talk about you on their own walls – create a BUZZ. I see a lot of dentists talking about themselves on Facebook and very little patients talking about them… I think this is where the secret is – genuine word-of-mouth on Facebook by your patients, talking about you on their own walls.
I do wish that Facebook evolves such that dentists can hide their patients because the email marketing benefits of the fan page or group is obviously huge. I really look forward to hearing what others think and, at the end of the day, I hope through discussion we can educate the dental profession to be aware of these really important issues. Visit the Dentinal Tubules forum
Krishan Joshi is “the Master” at Dental Focus Web Design.
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