Use tools to streamline your web time

The launch of your practice's Facebook page is a good time to harness your inner geek, as a plethora of web tools exist to ultimately make maintaining your page easier, faster and more effective.

First, realize you don't need to scour the web to come up with great information to post on your page. Take five minutes to set up a few Google Alerts, which work like customized keyword searches delivered to your email inbox at preset intervals.

To gather inspiration for his pediatric practice's Facebook page, for example, Betancourt has alerts set up for "pediatrics," the name of the practice and the names of the physicians. His listening post also includes RSS feeds from the American Academy of Pediatrics and

It can take some time to get the hang of these tools, but a manageable number of subscriptions can help you filter the information and come up with the best items to share with your audience, Betancourt says.

You can also streamline your posting activity by using applications such as Evernote, which allows users to create notebooks of pertinent information while away from their desks, and Hootsuite, which lets users schedule posts in advance and even track the number of clicks.

Healthcare-specific resources also are becoming more prevalent. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, for example, will be sponsoring webinars, conference calls, an annual social media summit and more activities to help the adoption of social media tools in healthcare in a way that makes sense and is safe and helpful, says Aase.