THE BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A MEDICAL PRACTICE
The benefits of using social media in a medical practice are becoming increasingly clear, which makes the pressure to get involved even greater. As medical practices become more sophisticated at using social media for knowledge sharing, marketing, and other forms of communication, those who fail to participate will fall behind. These social media tips for medical practices can help you get started.
Social Media Helps You Demonstrate Your Commitment to Patients
Patients now expect high levels of service from their healthcare providers just as they do in other industries. As service providers in many other industries engage people digitally via social media, email, and other means, this type of communication becomes the norm.
Social Media Enables You to Market Yourself in a Merit-Based Manner
Gone are the days where advertisements that involved listing your qualifications were enough to convince patients to see you. Patients research physicians through online ratings sites, social media and web searches. That means providing helpful information, articles, and tips through social media and blogs is critically important.
Determine Where Your Audience Is on Social Media
Ultimately, the right social media networks for your practice are the ones where your target audience — your patients and prospective patients — are most engaged. The various social networks have a diversity of users across demographic categories such as age, education, and income, yet each network has their own demographic profile. Knowing the audience you’re trying to reach and where they are on social media is critical to successful use of social media in your practice.
DEVELOPING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY: GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Make Social Media Someone’s Job
it is important that someone is accountable for social media strategy, content development and analysis. Understanding and adapting your content and engagement to each channel will help drive engagement, as you’ll be seen to “get” the people who use that network. Someone who’s already active and successful on a channel will be better equipped to succeed for your practice.
Stay Actively Engaged to Build Following
One of the biggest challenges that you should think about as you are developing your strategy is gaining a following. To gain an organic following, you must provide content that is of value to the audience you are trying to attract.
HIPAA & LEGAL CONCERNS
There are a lot of warnings in healthcare about social media use, most of which focus on HIPAA rules and both ethical and legal concerns regarding the sharing of patient information. However, the benefits of participating in social media do not require exposing any PHI or engaging in the types of information sharing that can run you afoul of privacy laws. Thus, those types of concerns can be avoided by developing content strategies that involve distributing valuable general medical information that does not pertain to individual patients.