Choosing the Right custom URL

by on 13/04/10 at 10:41 am

Ok, so social media is the new buzz word right now.  Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.  All of the major brands are endorsing placement on Twitter an Facebook, and spending millions on their presence there. Many dentists are following suit but, many others are reticent to join in.  Dentists are often called slow adapters, but now is not the time to be slow when it comes to social media.  Whether you realize it or not, social media is going to be a big part of the marketing framework for dentists down the road.  Now is the time to get some involvement in the social media game.
Why is it so important to get involved now?  We are in the midst of the second biggest Internet land rush in the past two decades.  Anyone who has tried to get that perfect name for their web address knows that most of the really good ones are already taken.  Many were taken years ago by those who had the foresight to snatch up prime addresses which were in limited supply.  These web addresses become available once and a while, but are often snapped up quickly.  Many of these sites are held by squatters, who sit on the URL until the bidder with the correct price comes along.  There are thousands of “phantom” dental practice websites out there with no phone number, address, or doctor.  They may look like a website for a functioning practice, but they are really just a billboard.  This practice is now extending to the world of social media.  Many of the good user names and URLs are being snatched up once again.  The user name for many profiles determines the URL of your social media web space, for example my Twitter address twitter.com/socialmediadent.  Facebook allows users to create a custom URL for personal profiles and fan pages with more than 25 fans.  (facebook.com/socialmediadentist)  Many of these user names are once again being held by squatters, while many are occupied by real people.  Many of the prime names are going quickly.

It is important for dentists to get in and be active now.  Dentists often try to get the URL yourcitydentist.com (i.e. dallasdentist.com or detroitdentist.com) because these are the major keywords used to search for a dentist on Google.  The URL is the highest point in the website structure, and is the first thing a search engine crawls.  Dentists need to log on and claim their user names now to boost their web presence and also to keep their identity out of the hands of others.  Be sure to claim your name on the big three search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Claim your user names on the big social media sites as well.  Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, and Flickr.  Facebook will allow you to claim a URL for a personal account, but be careful not to drive business traffic to your personal profile unless you intend to do so.  A custom URL for a Facebook fan page will require at least 25 fans to grab the URL.  Consider the same parameters when choosing a social media profile name as you would choosing a name for your website.  YouTube and Flickr may not seem like major players in the social media game, but they are the darlings of their respective owners, Google and Yahoo.  Well worded submissions to either will contribute to added web exposure.

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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