Gone are the days when medical practices can rely on word-of-mouth marketing alone. One of the most effective--and arguably indispensable--ways to engage current and prospective patients is through social media.
A strong social media presence is especially critical to developing trust and credibility with patients, according to a recent post from Physicians Practice. "To cater to healthcare's digital decision-makers, physicians should focus on developing a strategy with an umbrella approach, i.e., to have a versatile digital presence through a website, blogs and social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on," noted the post.
But now that most physicians have indeed taken this step and created these accounts, it might seem tricky to make their posts stand out in cyberspace. To make your social media presence unique and multifunctional, consider the following ideas from Marjorie Stiegler, M.D.:
- Promote health literacy. Helping patients better understand vital information about their health, the insurance system and commonly misunderstood terminology is a win-win for practices and patients. Patients already look to the Internet to find answers to their medical questions, noted Stiegler. Physicians can use this opportunity to create consumer-friendly content, such as blog posts, open access papers, slideshows and recorded lectures.
- Recruit for the right fit. It's not just patients checking out your social media profiles; potential job candidates also look for a welcoming online presence as well. To attract the best and brightest employees and clinicians, showcase your professional environment, accomplishments and values through this medium.
- Make professional connections. "Science is a team sport," wrote Stiegler, "and you need not be limited to professional colleagues in your own institution or whom you already know." Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from like-minded professionals all over the world via the web--and pass along valuable content to your followers. These virtual colleagues may just return the favor.