Don’t Allow Your Medical Practice to Be Anti-Social

person holding heart shaped-trinket with various social media icons displayed next to it

In recent years, businesses have grown more comfortable with utilizing social media tools to marketing their goods and services.  They have also become more adept at using these tools to build and promote their brand.  Business owners also use the power of social media outlets not only to strengthen the connection with current clients but engage with potential new clients.  Social media also allows current clients to share information about your services with their friends in the form of a referral.  All of these reasons make social media tools valuable for medical marketing and dental marketing plans.

Using effective social media medical marketing ideas can allow practices to move away from more traditional marketing techniques.  This can be a more cost effective approach to engaging with current and potential clients.  In today’s internet driven world, your practice’s potential clients will turn to the internet to research medical conditions and potential physicians.  Through social media, they will seek recommendations from their friends and relatives then conduct deeper research on the practices that are referred to them.  Through the comments and reviews of current clients, they are able to make more informed decisions about the physicians and specialists that are best for them and their situation.

There are a wide variety of ways that medical professionals utilize social media to market their practices.  These are the top reasons why physicians should use social media marketing and some thoughts on how they can be used effectively.

Communicate with Patients and Share Information

 

Professionals seated at a table cummunicating through social media on various devices

 

Today, social media is an effective way to communicate with patients and share valuable information with them.  While this information is general in nature, it’s a way to share relevant materials.  For instance, optometric websites may have a blog that is connected to social media that provides information on topics such as eye care and avoiding potential eye diseases such as conjunctivitis (pink eye).  Family practitioners may provide information on the importance of getting a regular flu shot in the winter time.  This regular sharing of information keeps patients informed about topics that are important to them and keeps them connected to the practice.  If the information that is shared uses keywords and relevant terms, this will make them more search engine friendly (SEO).  Through SEO and content marketing, practices will become more visible online through search engines.  Social media outlets are also an effective way for a practitioner to provide information on new techniques and medical breakthroughs.  This also shows clients that the physician is continuing to remain current in their area of specialty.  When a new physician joins a practice, many groups will use social media to introduce the new partner to their current client base.  Social media can also be used to address the most common questions that patients have, such as hours of operation and the best way to communicate with the medical staff.  While HIPAA regulations limit the specific information that can be shared, social media outlets provide practices with effective tools to share more general information.

Improve the Quality of Service Delivery

Through social media, patients are able to provide feedback in the form of service reviews and comments on posts.  These allow the professional to identify areas where their practice excels and potential problem areas that need to be improved on.  This level of client feedback can provide valuable insight into client satisfaction levels.  The immediacy of the feedback also allows the practitioner to respond quickly to any dissatisfied patients and resolve their issues.

Provide Broader Training Opportunities

 

Group of professionals seated learning from an instructor

 

Social media has been used to provide training to medical personnel.  This is helpful particularly for larger organizations that have staff spread across a large geographic area.  It also cuts down on the cost of travel to a training facility and the time spent away from the office.  During the training, participants can connect through social media outlets such as Twitter to remain actively engaged.  Social media also allows them to provide immediate feedback to trainers following the presentation.  Lastly, organizations can use these techniques to connect staff to training opportunities with experts on a particular topic even if the expert is in another part of the world.  Videos and photographs from these training opportunities can also enhance the public’s positive view of a practice if used broadly on social media.

Procedure Updates

In recent years, some physicians have begun using social media to provide live updates from the operating room.  The medical community is somewhat divided on this practice but more physicians are increasingly using techniques such as posts to Twitter and other forms of media.  This level of interactivity allows the physician to connect with other doctors, medical students and the public with information as it occurs.  Detractors insist that this is an unnecessary distraction for the physician and staff.  Others believe that the information gives students and interested parties valuable learning opportunities.  The use of social media in the operating room also highlights the practice and new techniques that they are using.  This can raise the public’s awareness of a medical practice’s services and expertise.  While there is some discussion over using social media during an operation, most recognize that the full spectrum of both the positives and negatives.

Crisis Communications

During times of large-scale community crisis, medical personnel need to be able to broadly communicate with the public.  One way they can achieve this goal is through social media outlets.  Social media provides medical staff to easily share information from the Center of Disease Control and response organizations such as the Red Cross.  They are also able to provide information on area hospitals and their capacities.  Emergency medical services can also provide up to date information to the general public.  By having an active social media marketing plan, when a disaster does occur, professionals have already established their credibility within the community and are able to act quickly and effectively.

In today’s connected world, the first step patients and clients will take is to turn to the Internet and social media outlets for information.  Medical, dental and optometric professionals need to develop an understanding of the power of social media for their medical websites.  By developing a solid social media marketing plan, medical professionals are supporting their clients and promoting their practices.