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INSIGHT

How to use social media for your medical practice

By Brittney Overstreet  bio

Social media is the online method for sharing information to an audience. When using social media for business purposes, virality is important. The more of your content that is viral, the greater your online presence is. Many physicians have successfully used social media to create awareness of their practice and gain new patients.

Why use social media?

  • Gain new patients: In a recent survey, 41 percent of patients admitted social media channels influence their decision when choosing a health care provider. The digital era has made it easier than ever to find out if a company is in good standing. Gone are the days of calling the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce to see if a business has a good reputation. Online reviews have been a large determining factor for patients who are choosing a physician.
  • Educate your existing patients: The average patient spends 52 hours per year searching for health information online. Maintaining a solid online presence creates a feeling of trust and authenticity for your patient. This will also establish you as an expert and leader in your field. Your patients should be able to turn to you for information instead of searching countless, and sometimes unscrupulous, websites to find answers to their health concerns.
  • Build relationships with patients: Effectively managing your online presence allows you to respond to negative comments about your practice that are posted (or written) on social media platforms. A patient may have had a bad experience at your practice and decided to share that experience all over cyberspace. Responding to that comment allows you the chance to respond to the issue and reinstate their trust in you. Make sure to have an active profile on Healthgrades.com to see what your patients think of you.

Important tools to implement

There are many free social media tools you can utilize to more easily maintain your presence. Hootsuite is one of our favorites. It allows you to simplify the posting process by scheduling your posts in advance. We suggest taking 30 minutes out of your Monday morning to schedule your posts for the week.

Not sure when to schedule your posts? This is where SocialBro comes in. Their free version has a “Best Time to Tweet” feature, analyzing when most of your followers will be online. SocialBro calculates percentage estimates of online users for every hour of the day. This data could be very useful in scheduling your posts for the week.

Importance of employee advocacy

Do you want more online exposure for your practice? Ask your employees to share your posts! Employee advocacy can increase your social reach 10 times more than your original post. Employee advocacy not only benefits your practice, it benefits your employees as well. Sharing your quality content will build their personal brand in addition to generating exposure for your practice. Potential patients are more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know. When your employees share your post, it creates a sense of trust, grows your influence, and increases your thought leadership status.

Tailor your content to each platform

LinkedIn’s social platform consists of business professionals looking to network with coworkers, potential employers, and thought leaders. Join one of the many health care groups to engage in discussions that are important to you. Make sure to engage in discussions to grow into a LinkedIn Influencer.

If you already have a personal account, Facebook allows you to set up a business page for your practice. Invite your patients and Facebook friends to like your page and encourage them to invite their Facebook friends. Create wellness promotions or seasonal offers for potential patients to come check out your practice. For example, if it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, hold free screenings in your office.

Twitter is an informal social media outlet. Twitter, limited to posts of 140 characters, allows for hashtags to identify topics for users to search. Read about the Healthcare Hashtag Project to view trending health care topics. Think about hosting a weekly, hour-long live chat or a tweet-up to answer questions your patients may have.

Share interesting content and create your own

Finally, content is key! Continually generating content, whether it is your own or shared by another source, is important to keep your name top of mind. If you do not have a blog, use LinkedIn’s “Publish a post” feature. It can be found on Pulse, LinkedIn’s publishing platform, which you can access from the LinkedIn menu at the top of the page under Interests. Aim to generate weekly informative articles to create awareness on health care topics relevant to your community. Consider adding imagery to your content for an eye-catching post, since it’s proven that images improve engagement of your audience.

Whether you implement some or all of these strategies, you will be well on your way to improving your online presence and likely building your practice. You will create an online community that will inform, educate, communicate, and motivate current and potential patients.


Brittney Overstreet is the Digital Marketing Manager for Northstar Anesthesia. She may be contacted at brittney.overstreet@northstaranesthesia.com.


The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.


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