Social Media Tips for Phsyicians

8 Tips for Physicians Using Social Media

Social media presents a great opportunity for practices and providers to share knowledge and connect with their community. However, when used incorrectly, social media can cause a host of PR and legal issues. Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts for providers when venturing into the world of social media.

Thumbs Up Do: Have a plan.
What do you hope to accomplish with social media? Who is your target audience? What will you post? Without clear goals, your social media can become scattered and hard to follow. Sticking to a clear plan will help keep your social media presence coherent and focused.

Thumbs Down Don’t: Overshare.
It may be therapeutic to write about personal experiences with patients, but it may also be illegal. Even seemingly harmless activities such as sharing a patient photo or mentioning a patient may be a breach of privacy. Remember your HIPAA training, and don’t post any personal patient information when sharing on either your personal accounts and your organization’s page.

Thumbs Up Do: Engage with your followers.
Join discussions, answer questions, and connect with followers. The personal connection will help to grow your following and improve your brand. Also, interacting with your followers will help make your content appear more often according to Facebook and other social media platform’s algorithms for how and when content is visible on a user’s timeline.

Thumbs Down Don’t: Be unprofessional.
Your social media is an extension of your practice, and it should present itself in that manner. It may be tempting to blow off some steam and vent your frustration online, but remember, anyone can see your posts.

Thumbs Up Do: Pay attention to feedback.
What types of content are your followers engaging with? What types of questions are they asking and what are they saying about your practice? Social media can be another great avenue to receive insights from your patients and even a way to market your practice. And in a time where over 2/3 of the population has a smartphone and patients are going online in unprecedented numbers when making healthcare decisions, having social media has come to be expected.

However, social media can also be a double edged sword. Frustrated patients can come to your page to blow off steam and users can leave reviews or comments with no verification that they are even a real patient. How do you handle this? Be proactive and monitor your comments diligently and work to handle concerns and questions offline or via private message. Avoid having a conflict play-out on your public timeline. Additionally, using the Provider Widget to display your verified patient reviews, star rating and top scoring areas will help establish credibility and combat the potential negative comments of a select number of users on your page.

Thumbs Down Don’t: Post too often.
If you’re posting ten times a day, your followers will likely get annoyed and stop following you. Most guides recommend a starting point of about one post per day, and adjusting according to demand. Generally, in the social media space, quality matters more than quantity.

Thumbs Up Do: Learn best practices for each platform.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs all have different guidelines for photo sizes, hashtags, and character length for posts. To reach your widest audience, you may need to adjust content appropriately across platforms. The downloadable graphic below shows how photo size can change drastically between platforms.

social media

Thumbs Down Don’t: Overload the page with text.
Photos and videos can help to keep readers engaged and interested. As with most aspects of social media, it all comes down to balance. A good balance of visuals and text can help to foster compelling content.

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What are your “Do’s and Don’ts” for social media? Share them in the comments section below.

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July 18th, 2017 Categories: Best Practices, featured

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