Just as the rise of the television set impacted advertising in the mid-20th century, social media (and the internet in general) are changing the nature of the ad business in a variety of fields. Professionals such as dentists, doctors, and attorneys are beginning to take note of the ways in which the internet – and social media in particular - can be used to market their practices and even to communicate with their current patients and clients. Now is always a good time to examine your approach to advertising and making adjustments as necessary. But before you do, you should ensure that you are familiar with state laws and professional regulations which dictate which advertisements are permissible.
Professional associations for each state can provide helpful information on advertising - and the dental profession is no exception. The California Dental Association, for example, produces a guide for dental practitioners which covers everything from disciplinary procedures to prescriptions and financing for patients. The guide also addresses advertising, including what can and cannot be stated in marketing materials.
Generally speaking, advertising may include the name, address, service hours of the practice and certifications of the practitioner. Practitioners may not make “a false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement, claim, or image” as part of their advertising or marketing campaigns. As to what constitutes such statements, the guide contains a full list of deceptive images and statements, including those which are not supported by scientific facts or any communication which could lead to unrealistic expectations. While a strong marketing campaign can benefit any business, you should never adjust your advertising strategies without ensuring that your approach is on the right side of the law.
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