1. Learn to Blog. (or have someone do it for you) While Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are great ways to establish and maintain your online presence and interact with patients daily, your blog is the opportunity for you to become the most trusted source of medical education for your patients and referring doctors. The potential for misinformation on the Internet is high. We all know, you can’t trust everything you read online. As a medical professional, you have knowledge that patients want and need to know. A Pricewaterhouse Cooper conducted survey asked over a thousand patients and over a hundred healthcare executives what they thought of the way many healthcare companies are utilizing social media and the Web, and results show the most trusted resources online are those posted by doctors – 60%, followed by nurses 56%, and hospitals at 55%.
2. Create a Website. (again, you don’t actually have to do it yourself, you can have someone do it for you) Google Search is the most cost- and time-effective social media tool available. Where do patients find you first? Twitter? Facebook? Sometimes but sometimes they will find you on Google. Once they find you on Google, they will go to your website. They may find you on Facebook from a friends recommendation. They will still want to go to your website and check for more details.
3. Have an active Social Media presence. Two or three quality posts on Facebook or LinkedIn per week, at a minimum, is good. If your last post to your practice’s Facebook page was in December 2012, you do not have an active social media presence. For doctors who perform elective procedures, who accept out-of-network benefits, or have fee-for-service practices, social media is a requirement. People earning incomes of $100,000+ are influenced by social media more than anything else. The blogs you are going to write (see number one) are a great idea for a post on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This will bring patients to your website (see number two), where you can give them contact information to schedule an appointment.