Regardless of size, running a physician practice is not a simple procedure. It includes providing medical care and treatment, attending to staffing, handling the accounting, and dealing with equipment vendors/medication suppliers,to name but a few responsibilities. And then, if you are so inclined, there’s something for which no amount of schooling could have prepared you: the use of social media.
In today’s business world, it is rare for an enterprise to survive without a vibrant online presence. The effective use of social networking sites, also referred to as social media, can facilitate the exchange of communication with your patients as well as increase the visibility of your practice to others.
Physician, know thyself. Before you determine which of the best social media tips to employ, there is one critical issue you must address: Is there someone in your practice to whom the responsibility of managing your social networking sites (SNS) will fall? Is it you? If not, who? And, regardless of who that person might be, you’ll need to determine whether he or she has both the time and the ability to competently manage your SNS.
A social media campaign without adequate resources to run it is doomed to fail. If your practice can’t realistically manage one or more SNS, all the best social media tips in the world will be of no benefit to you.
Here, then, are 5 of the best social media tips for your physician practice:
1. Determine which SNS you want to use.
To do so, you must decide what you want your SNS usage to accomplish. For example, the American Academy of Family Physicians recently reported that more than 70 percent of primary care doctors and oncologists avail themselves at least once a month of social media to research or disseminate health information. Some physicians use SNS to share their opinions on healthcare issues, share general information (such as reminders for shingles vaccinations) or to educate their communities in general and patients in particular.
Available social networking sites include Twitter, Facebook (for business), LinkedIn, YouTube, and others. Check to see what other physicians in your discipline and locale are using to help you decide what’s best for you.
2. Generalists are not specialists; specialists aren’t generalists.
Share information or opinions about only those things with which you are familiar. Trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to get yourself in trouble if you stray too far afield.
3. Monitor, manage, maintain.
The best social media tips, regardless of industry, usually include this recommendation: Once you have a social media campaign, pay constant attention to it. Ensure that your content is correct and that you update it often. No matter how good your online presence looks, stale content is not going to go well on any SNS. Whether your audience consists of your patients or doctors engaged in the same area of practice as you, neither group will have any reason to follow you on social media if you give them no reason to keep coming back.
4. Be diligent about protecting your online reputation.
Conduct regular Internet searches of your name and that of your practice. Review any and all comments posted to your SNS and check consumer rating sites such as Yelp. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reassert control over your own narrative once you’ve lost it. Remember that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet.
5. Consistency is key.
Ensure that your message is consistently expressed on your website and across all SNS you utilize. This prevents you from sending mixed messages or, worse yet, conflicting ones.
In addition to using social media regularly for business, consider interacting in physician forums to learn and boost your personal brand.
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Elliot Health System is a 296 bed hospital in Manchester, NH. With 12,831 admissions in 2017, Elliot is the busiest community hospital in New Hampshire. Our physicians performed over 111,000 ER and Urgent Care visits, 1,891 deliveries, 8,300 surgical visits and over 390,000 out-patient visits.
Elliot Health System
One Elliot Way
Manchester, NH 03103