Pokémon Go or No Go? Take a Peek at What Dentists are Doing By Sigrid Tehrani on July 27, 2016

Pokémon Go

Summer silliness is upon us with Pokémon Go, but if you've been waiting for the "just right" moment to test the waters of social media, this latest iteration of the 90s video game may be just what you've been waiting for.

Pokémon Go is the perfect mashup of newsjacking, social media, and people-centered fun that makes it a ready-made opportunity for you. It's like hitting the "easy button" for social media.

True, it's not for everyone, but if your patients like Pokémon, then this summer craze is a no brainer. Just look at how your fellow dentists are riding the wave: 




Pokémon Go

If you are just getting up to speed: Pokémon Go is a game that blends animated creatures on the screen of your smartphone with the real world around you. Unlike the original 90s Pokémon that you played sitting in your living room (think couch potato), today's game has made the leap to mobile phones, with the emphasis on mobile.

Today's players scour the great outdoors to capture Pokémon that appear randomly "in the wild" on their phone's screen. Need more details? Peruse Macworld's Beginners Guide.

Ride the Wave

To take advantage of this nearly global obsession, power up your social media and snap a selfie with the Pokémon that is no-doubt lurking at your practice. The game uses your smartphone's camera to create a mashup of your office (or wherever you are) and the anime monsters called Pokémon.

But don't settle for just a picture of a Pokémon. Make it relevant and personal by getting your team to photobomb the Pokémon perched in your dental chair. Then post the image of cast and crew to your favorite social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Amp up your social presence by encouraging your patients to post pictures of the Pokémon they catch at or near your practice on their own social networks. If you suggest they tag your practice in their post and use the same social channel, you'll be notified when their post goes live. That gives you the opportunity to repost their image on your own feed for another boost of social media goodwill.

A Social Media Slam Dunk

By being both timely and trendy, Pokémon is a social media slam-dunk that allows you to up the visibility of your practice without being overly self-promotional.

To hammer home the value of Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go is the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. In just three days it attracted more users that Twitter. What's not to like?

And if you're still on the fence about social media in general, then consider these numbers: 

  • More than one-third of respondents have sought health advice from peers on social media.
  • More than 45% look for health information on social sites instead of scholarly medical sites.
  • Nearly 60% will rate their experience with their providers on social media.

Isn't it time you joined the conversation?

That Was Easy

Pokémon makes it easy for even a novice to kickstart their social media presence by overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to posting: Good Content.

The game's novel "augmented reality" component helps tick all the boxes that make content great: It's visually fun. It's personalized. And it's not overly self-promotional.

But if you are going to join the conversation on social media, then you need to know some ground rules:

Rule #1: First and foremost, social media is not about you. It's about being, well, social.

Think of social media as the virtual equivalent of a neighborhood block party. You join in and introduce yourself with a friendly hello. Maybe you say something amusing. Maybe you share a tidbit of news. Basically, you just want people to get to know you … without being a bore.

You absolutely do not want to be "that guy" at a party that is always talking about himself.

Rule #2: Social media is not about immediate payback.

This isn't about immediate benefits and money in your cash drawer. This is about introducing yourself to people who don't know you and engaging with patients you already have. And, just like in the real world, cementing these virtual relationships will take time. But, eventually, your virtual goodwill creates memories that will last long after the Pokémon craze fades.

Getting Started

If you think Pokémon Go is the right vehicle to help power your social media presence, here's how to get started:

  1. Download the free Pokémon app from the Google Play or Apple App Store to your phone so you can play the game a little and understand how it works. Here is Macworld's Beginner's Guide to jumpstart the process.
  2. Snap a picture of the Pokémon that will appear in your office when you join. Tip: Before you "capture" the Pokémon by hitting it with a Poké Ball, snap a picture of the little monster using the in-app camera.
  3. The Social Media Component: Take the picture from your phone's "Photos" section and post it on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to include your practice's tag in the post.

Level 2

Let your patients spread the word. Encourage patients to share pictures of Pokémon that they capture in or near your practice.

Be sure to suggest they tag or mention your practice in their posts so you'll get notified when they go live. That will be your cue to re-post the pictures on your own feed for even more exposure.

Level 3

Ready to take it to the next level? Bridge the digital divide by bringing the game into the real world. 

  1. If you are in an area where Pokémon frequent, such as a PokéStop (where you can stock up on Poké Balls and other goodies) or Pokémon Gym (where you battle other players' Pokémon), let your patients know and invite them to drop by. Maybe you'll want to offer a simple gift or snap a selfie that you can post on your practice's social media.
  2. Have a Pokémon Go photo contest. Encourage patients to take a photo of their favorite Pokémon and share it on social media with your office's tag. Then hold a drawing for the winner.
  3. Encourage Pokémon posts of rare Pokémon sightings near your practice. Again, you could hold a drawing to proclaim the winner.

Are you ready to release your inner Pikachu?

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