Have you ever Googled yourself? By doing so you’ll find you already have an online presence, so why not play a part in developing a professional identity for yourself online? Interventional cardiologists report it can be difficult to find time to “do social media,” but by following the steps below, you can begin to manage your own online presence, impact patients’ lives beyond an office visit, and extend the reach of your practice.
1. Watch and Listen
Begin by doing a search on Twitter using key words (cardiologist, interventional cardiology) to find peers and organizations to follow. By creating these connections, you will begin to expand your online network exponentially. “Listen” by watching what others are tweeting, posting, and linking to give you a sense of what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to know before tweeting for yourself.
2. Mind Your W’S and H’S.
Before dipping your toe in the social media waters, know what you wish to accomplish; otherwise your goals could be diluted and you may feel overwhelmed.Why? Why are you going to engage in social media…for ideas, research, collaboration?Who? Who is your audience? Staff, new patients, existing patients, colleagues?Where? Which social media platforms make the most sense for you? Twitter? LinkedIn?When? Dedicate an allotted amount of time – at the same time – each day to devote to social media use. Guard this time and make it a habit.What? Which outcomes will you measure for successful social media use?How? Are you going to push out information, retweet, or have an actual dialogue? An example: “I am going to share evidence-based interventional cardiology messages and create a place of learning and respectful dialogue to current and new patients in my demographic area.”
3. Keep It Professional
Follow the advice from Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Farris Timimi: Don’t lie, don’t pry, don’t cheat, can’t delete, don’t steal, don’t reveal (embargo, patient information, etc.).
4. Develop a Content Sharing Plan
Follow the 70-20-10 percentage rule for content development.70 percent can be written from someone else and be content you link to or retweet. Set up RSS feeds to deliver content of interest to you, and then file that content in electronic folders by topic area. You can use it later to develop blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, and so on. This content can also be a source to ask probing questions via your Twitter account. For example, with the recent cholesterol guidelines, you could tweet, “Confused about new #cholesterol guidelines? Review this Twitter chat.”20 percent can be original content you create, and can be used as an opportunity to fill gaps based on conversations you have with patients, or to answer questions patients often ask you. For example, you could tweet, “Got the flu? Know its impact on #heart health” and link to a SecondsCount.org post that provides further information on the topic.10 percent can be for fun – birthdays, at the office photos, a comment about your golf game. By showing a bit of your personal side, you’ll engage visitors and help build your profile.