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Facebook for Business – Managing Friends

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A recent CNN article raises the question of whether you should “friend” your medical doctor to get better healthcare.

Frustrated with closed offices, unreturned phone messages and other aspects of the sometimes-slow pace of doctor-patient communication, Jordan came up with a solution: He now sends his doctor messages on Facebook. He says that communicating with his cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. William Cooper, on the social networking site has been easy and efficient.

Jordan may be at the front edge of a trend: Surveys show that the traditional methods of communicating with doctors — in person or on the phone — may not be sufficient for patients anymore.

This situation is true for just about any personalized profession any more.  In the final sentence, “doctors” can be replaced by lawyers, accountants, mechanics and everyone else who has a business that comes in contact with people face to face.

The article discusses the challenges doctors face when going on Facebook which are payment and privacy.  Obviously surgery can’t be performed using Facebook…yet, but the peace of mind of knowing you’ve communicated with your doctor and have a plan in place is something that can be accomplished.

Marianne Sullivan, a bridal store owner in Orange County, California, found Facebook useful when she awoke in the middle of the night with a painful eye that was swollen shut.

Her husband, Kirk Sullivan, suggested that she send their physician, Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, a message on Facebook. She sent him a message at 5:30 a.m., and he quickly replied that she should come into the office as soon as it opened. It turned out she had an eye infection that required antibiotics.

Besides “getting paid” Facebook can provide referral business which will continue to pay down the line.

The other issue of businesses using Facebook is the blurring of the line between public and private information.  I’ve said you should never put anything online you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your grandmother, but not everybody behaves that way.  The CNN author didn’t provide a solution to this issue, but there is one.

Facebook allows people to create business pages or fan pages.  They are completely separate from your regular page although what you post on the business page does automatically update on your regular page.  The business page doesn’t require the “friend” relationship a normal Facebook page does and all videos and photos from your regular page stay right there with whatever privacy setting you choose.

I set up my business page last week and discovered some very cool things about it.  It tracks your fan interactions for instance.  If somebody comments on a post or “likes” what you wrote, a feedback score is assessed.  Because Facebook collects personal information in profiles, the business page will display demographics of page users like age and gender.  There’s something else I just discovered a business page will do, but I’m going to save that for its own post.

If you have a business where you come into contact with people, I strongly recommend you set up a Facebook business page and update it regularly.


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