The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media for Your Medical Practice

AUGUST 15, 2016
Christopher Burton, MD
Practice Management, Columns, Technology, Medical Practice, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram
 
Last week I discussed the importance of implementing a social media marketing plan. Here are a handful of do’s and don’ts to help your practice develop a social media presence and gain more exposure.
 
 
The Do’s:
 
Be Purposeful: Your social media page has been created for a purpose: to increase your marketing reach and to educate your audience. Being purposeful about your social media page means posting relevant content related to your purpose. The purpose is based on the type of physician specialty. A physician will not want to share a video of a dog swimming in a pool. It simply isn’t relevant. Now, a video of how to check your heart rate, however, is very relevant.
 
Post for your audience: As doctors, it’s very easy to get caught up in the scientific disease process and the research related to the treatment and care of said disease processes. The truth, however, is that our patients don’t understand this kind of talk. If we post research and blog posts that are written above their head, patients will not read them, and the goal of educating people will be a failure. Post to social media to educate and inform your target audience. Post content that is interesting and easily understood by the target audience and that is shareable.


Be Unique: Unique content that isn’t found somewhere else is one really great way to engage and keep an audience. There are a lot of ways to be creative with content: video tutorials, helpful tips about products and diseases or even posts targeted to patients dealing with specific illnesses. The sky is the limit. The important thing to remember is that creativity is different; the audience likes fresh new content that can’t be found elsewhere.
 
 
The Don’ts:
 
Over-Sharing: This is a common mistake made by businesses on social media. Over-sharing can lead the audience to become annoyed and dislike or delete the business page. It’s not necessary to constantly post and re-share content. Once daily posting is sufficient for most physician practices. These can be scheduled in advance.
 
Getting Too Personal (Remember HIPAA): As mentioned already, it’s incredibly important to be discreet when it comes to posting content and responding to content on social media. Never post about specific patients, post images of patients or engage patients in conversation on social media.
 
 
Things to Remember:
 
Pictures and Videos: The phrase, “a picture is worth 1,000 words” is most definitely true when it comes to social media. Pictures and videos are very valuable as social media posts. They are more easily visible to users and are seen more quickly. It’s easier to scan through pictures than it is to read status updates and blogs. People relate to pictures.
 
Quality Content vs. Content Quantity: One of the most important aspects to remember about social media marketing is the concept of quality content vs. content quantity. On the web, the quality of the content matters far more than the quantity. It’s not about posting as much as possible. Rather, the emphasis is on the posting of high-quality content that is most helpful to the reader.
 
Social media marketing can be an incredibly useful tool and should be incorporated as a key component of every marketing plan. There are multiple outlets including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. All of these sites present great opportunities for physician practices to engage their audience, share quality information, and create a larger following. It’s important that a social media policy be drafted to protect the interests of patients, staff and the practice as a whole. Ultimately, social media marketing is a cost effective and successful method of marketing your practice.


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