This week the topic in our class was, Online Teaching and Learning.  We had several activities in association with this topic.  One of those activities was to experience a free/open source course.  I chose a course that I was of interest to me due to my current position in marketing. 

The course I took was titled, “Facebook Marketing Rules of Thumb.”  This was a webinar style class and the presenter was Fred Joyal, the founder of 1-800-Dentists.  Fred Joyal has his own blog, has written a book and offers several seminars and webinars, all of which relate to dental practice marketing.   I have virtually attended his classes in the past, and have always learned a lot, but this one especially piqued my interest due the expansion of our offices’ Facebook presence as part of my marketing plan for the year. 

I found the Facebook Marketing Rules of Thumb course very interesting.  There were quite a few very interesting facts about Facebook relating to dental practices and people who are potential patients.  The course started with some facts as to why offices/businesses should have a Facebook presence.  Here is a list of some of the most interesting facts that I learned:

  • The average American spends more time on FB than Google, You Tube, Wikipedia and Amazon combined.
  • Facebook users in the age group 25-34 increased by 32% from 2011 to now.
  • The 25-34 demographic spends an average of 37 minutes a week on Facebook. 
  • Facebook offers a search category where people can search for dental offices that their friends either visited or liked.  24% of consumers say they’d search for a dentist on Facebook. 

The next section of the course was about after an office has a Facebook page, and some things to keep in mind in order to get the most out of a Facebook campaign.  This section included suggestions like: try to post at least 2x a week, don’t post clinical information, make sure posts are fun and light weight (people don’t want to be lectured on FB) and that posts should convey the experience of being a patient at your office.   

The final section of the course was about what types of things to post on a dental Facebook page.     Some of the things that were included were: great patient reviews, before and after patient photos, promos and contests, dental related articles, and staff and office photos and videos.  There were also tips about how to handle tough situations that might arise from having a Facebook presence. 

I really enjoyed the class and felt I got a lot out of it.  The format of the course was an online webinar.  I had to log into a group meeting, at a specified time, that I received an invitation for prior to the webinar date.  Once everyone was logged in, there was a group moderator who introduced Fred Joyal.  From there Fred taught the class with visuals to go along with his presentation.  Throughout the course the students could type in a question if they had one, and the moderator would read the question for Fred to answer.  At the end of the presentation there was a lot of time left for more questions and further discussion on the particulars about the topic.   

Having been involved with this online course and having taken similar courses in the past, I can see some benefits in online education.  I have actually looked into taking some of Fred Joyals seminars in person, but that would of course have a much larger expense.  Not only would I have pay to register for the seminar, I would also have to pay for travel accommodations as well (the last one I was looking into was in Chicago), not to mention the time away from the office.  So with all of that said, I’m sure my company, and other businesses like it, are extremely grateful that there are online open source courses available for their employees. 

The same goes with K-12 online education.  There might be some times when online schooling just makes more sense than a traditional schooling.  There are some students who may not be able to attend school in the traditional capacity due to lack of transportation or even physical limitations and online education would be a wonderful option for these students.  There also may come a day when the cost savings of an online school outweighs sticking to a traditional school.  No matter the reasons for online education it is just another great source to be able to offer so that every student has an opportunity for an education.              

 

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