Social media offers the opportunity to increase awareness of your practice, attract new patients, promote yourself as a thought leader in your specialty, and more. Here are three ways you can leverage it.
#1: Engage Patients and Develop Referral Sources
By using social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can:
- Engage patients through content that helps them take a more proactive approach to their health.
- Develop referral resources through content that demonstrates your thought leadership in your area of specialty.
- Publish content in your medical niche that solves problems, informs, and educates patients. Depending on which platform you choose, content can vary from blog posts, curated content, infographics, videos, quote images, and live-streaming videos.
- Encourage patients to leave positive reviews on social media, as these can be extremely influential in attracting new patients to your practice.
#2: Connect and Network With Other Doctors
Social media can help you build a referral base and expand your network. LinkedIn is perhaps the best social site for meeting other medical experts and developing new relationships. Use it to:
- Connect with and follow physicians who share common interests or specialties. Leverage their knowledge and learn from their experiences.
- Share content from your account that reflects your expertise and interests as a healthcare specialist. Keep in mind that content shared on LinkedIn should be of a professional tone and more reserved than posts typically shared on Twitter or Facebook.
- Share links to articles and other relevant information that could be of value to your connections, while making sure to add your own perspective to each piece of content by adding a comment to the post.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your goals and interests as a medical doctor. Some of the most popular groups for doctors on LinkedIn are Medical Doctor (MD) Network, Innovations in Health, and Marketing and Networking for Business Professionals and Doctors. Explore each of these groups or others to determine the one that appeals to you the most. Be active by commenting, starting discussions, and adding value.
#3: Strategically Promote Your Content
If you have the time and inclination, you could produce your own blog where you regularly post content that further positions you as a thought leader in the medical industry. Of course, only you can determine whether or not you can balance such an effort with your current personal and professional responsibilities.
Social media networks love blog content. They’re sending massive amounts of traffic to blog posts simply because of that powerful feature called “share.” Publishing blog posts on social media may not only boost online visibility and drive traffic to your website, but it can also improve SEO ranking, which increases exposure in search.
Go Where Your Audience Is
Although some individuals are skeptical about the value of physicians using social media, there are others who see social media as an extension of the doctor-patient relationship (Source: Forbes). In a digital era where 72% of patients turn to the Internet for information about doctors, hospitals and medical treatments, it can be important to stay on trend to remain connected with your audience.
If you do leverage social media, let your current patients know where to find you and encourage them to share your information with their networks. Lastly, don’t forget to be social! Followers want to feel that they’re connecting with a real person, so be true and genuine to your brand tone while being authentic and relatable.
But even if you don’t leverage social media, consider finding ways to connect with your patients outside of the traditional office visit or phone call. Perhaps create a patient e-newsletter that you can use to share educational resources or follow-up with patients on an individual basis through a secure patient portal. Demonstrate to patients your willingness to coordinate their care, improve the doctor-patient relationship, and communicate in ways that add value.