Owning your name: a practice’s facebook page

It’s a good idea to own your practice name at every social media site you know of. You may never want to maintain a LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter account for your practice, but if one day you do, you’ll be glad you reserved your name. For some sites, like Facebook, reserving your name forces you to set up a basic profile for your company. If you use whatever wording you have on your website, this shouldn’t be too hard a process, and can be done in less than half an hour. Do not make the mistake of treating your practice like a person, and using the main sign up feature on the home page. (This violates Facebook’s terms of use, and won’t work as well for your purpose.)

Here are instructions on how to get started setting up a Facebook page for your practice:
1. Go to www.facebook.com
2. If you’re signed into facebook, sign out.
3. Click Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business (under the green Sign Up button)
4. You’ll now have 6 choices of what type of page you want to set up. Most practices will want to choose the Local Business/Place option, since that is for a business with a physical address. The other option you could choose is Company, Organization, or Institution – which does not ask you to enter a physical address.
5. It’s pretty self explanatory from there, but one very important point: at a certain point, facebook will ask you to sign in with your personal facebook account. Make sure YOU, the physician, sign up in with your own facebook account. That will make you the owner of your practice’s facebook page. If you have an office manager or other employee create your practice account, then they will always be the owner of that account – including if they eventually do not work for you. You do not want an ex-employee owning your practice’s facebook page.

Upsides: this is one more place where you can control the message and information about your practice. You can make sure your phone number is updates, you can post announcements, and if you want to put some more work into it – you can develop a ‘fan’ base.

Downsides: if you don’t keep announcements updated, your page quickly looks out of date. On way to handle this effectively is not to post any time-sensitive information. You can maintain a very simple page with basic contact information and a description of the work you do.

Decision to make: You need to make the decision about whether you want to let people make comments on your practice’s facebook page. This can be great, of course, if people say nice things. But it also can be risky. If you want to remain in complete control of the content on your practice’s facebook page, you can go into the settings and chose that fans may not write on your wall, or add content and videos. As with all facebook settings, the specific options can change at any time, so make sure you go through each setting as you set up your page, and check in with your page regularly.

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