Call Us: (561) 727-8587

Should Physicians Utilize Social Media?

Should Physicians Utilize Social Media?

Absolutely!  Physicians and the medical community in general have not fully embraced the Social Media Revolution.  I suspect it is partly due to the perceived risk they feel is associated with using it, as well as a lack of understanding regarding how much it could benefit their practice and their patients.

Social media is an effective and cost efficient way for physicians to reach new patients, educate existing patients, and establish themselves as a thought leader in the community.  Physicians are not just in the medical business, they are in the people business!  Your patients are looking to social media for information.  Social media not only gives you an edge with your patients, it will give you a boost with Google.  Social media will actually boost the SEO (search engine optimization) of your website, thereby attracting more patients.

How do you get started with social media for your medical practice?  First, you need to choose which platform will be the best one to grow your business.  Consider starting with either Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.  Start with one and then add additional platforms once you begin to see results.  Depending on the demographic you want to reach and your practice specialty, Facebook is a good platform to start with.  Facebook is a great platform for physicians because you can display more engaging content, pictures and videos, while sharing important information with your patients.  Facebook is also great for running effective promotions and special offers. The advertising options within Facebook allow you to target the right demographic and build a following quickly.   Overall, Facebook may be your best option to start.

Twitter is a great avenue for physicians looking to establish themselves as a thought leader.  You can set up a Twitter account in your name (i.e., John Smith, MD) as you are branding yourself.  Your liability is limited if you keep in mind you are not setting this up to tweet medical advice, but to tweet medically relevant information within your field and share articles on subjects of interest to potentially everyone such as cancer, diabetes, nutrition, exercise, etc.  However, it is more challenging to engage your followers on Twitter as everything is a link (including pictures, videos and articles).

YouTube is an influential marketing tool especially if you are a procedure based practice.  You can post videos highlighting or explaining specific procedures, products, or to attract patients via familiarizing them with your personality or philosophy.  YouTube is another powerful way to enhance and optimize your website’s visibility via Google.

You should definitely consider hiring a professional Social Media Manager to set up and manage your social media accounts.  They will brand the account with your practice’s business name, logo, and graphics, as well as link the account to your website.  When deciding who you should hire, consider a marketing firm who has experience working with physicians, as they will likely have valuable insight within your specialty regarding how to reach the correct demographic, relevant promotions and engaging content.

You want a Social Media Manager that can effectively engage an audience and deliver results.  Remember—social media is not about how many ‘Likes’ you have on your page—it’s about how many people share your information, talk about your business and ultimately how many new patients contact your office because they heard about you on Facebook?  A good Social Media Manager will understand that the goal is really to be an engaging resource. It’s called ‘social media’ for a reason.  The etiquette is similar to that of a party.  If you spend the whole night talking about yourself at a party, others will be repelled.  The same thing happens on social media.  If you spend 80% of your time pushing your business, others will get annoyed, disengage and simply ‘unlike’ your page.  Follow the 80/20 rule.  Spend 80% of your time posting engaging information, pictures and videos and only 20% of your time promoting your practice.

Even though you hire a professional to manage your social media, you should still play an active role in the content being posted.  Provide them with professional photos of you and your staff.  Forward the Social Media Manager a list of topics you think your followers would like to hear about, as well as important announcements and new promotions.

Be patient and persistent.  Establishing relationships and connections via social media takes time.  If you and your staff promote the page to your patients, friends and colleagues, it will grow even faster.  Social media is an idea whose time has come.  It’s not a matter of if you will you embrace social media, it’s when will you embrace it?  Don’t you think it’s time you became a little more “social”?