The short answer to whether a physician should use social media in their medical practice is “yes absolutely!” – but most doctors need to understand specifically how social media can help the practice.
Opening a handful of social media accounts is not enough. Unless you utilize these accounts and set practical goals for a social media strategy, you are unlikely to be impressed by the response.
Successful marketing for physicians requires a solid social media strategy. This should not mean using every social media platform available and it certainly does not mean spending hours each day Tweeting or posting on Facebook. Your best bet is to organize a plan that is consistent and effective.
If you doubt the power of social media consider the following:
Social media establishes your presence online. When potential patients begin their search for a doctor, the process most likely involves a search on the Internet. If you have not established a presence online, you might as well not exist to them. Social media allows you to expand your online presence beyond your website and attract even more attention from search engines.
Social media makes it possible to share information with as many people as possible. An important part of your medical website design is the informative content. Unfortunately, the only people who will see this is those people specifically looking for your site. Social media makes it possible to reach a greater number of people. Not only are you getting them to notice your practice, you are also sharing valuable medical information.
Social media helps you distinguish your brand from your competitors. The more solid the public’s image of you, the more you stand out. Think of the best brand accomplishments out there. All you need is to see a logo or hear a tagline or jingle and you know exactly what company you are dealing with. Social media allows you to further establish your brand in the minds of your current and potential patients.
So how do you create a strong social media strategy?
All successful offline and internet/website marketing for physicians should have a social media component. You can choose to speak directly with patients via social media or you can allow someone to post information for you.
Be sure anyone posting to your social media accounts understands the mission and goals of your practice. The last thing you need is a message being conveyed to the public that is not in line with your practice.
Determine how often you want to post to social media and what information you would like to share. Often, people use social media to share informative content and to put a human spin on their practice’s online presence. You can use a blend of personal tidbits about staff and the day-to-day operations of your practice, as well as links to blog posts and relevant articles about your field of practice.
Is social media necessary for doctors? You bet it is. It can put you at the forefront of our field. Now is the time to include a social media campaign in your marketing strategy for your medical practice.