Social media can be a very powerful tool to use in the medical field. It’s the easiest way to get medical information out there to your patients, but it can also help physicians connect with people, colleagues, and organizations to give them more visibility, either for career advancement, media contacts, or just to get their word out.
Below are some great Social Media tips for Doctors:
- You can educate patients through social media by what you put out there. Patients can follow you on your practice pages to get information about your practice and whatever medical information you wish to share.
- Never communicate to patients through social media outlets. It is a set up for HIPAA violations.
- Choose your followers carefully. Block those who spam or troll you (people who negatively post with the deliberate intent of provoking a reaction). There will also be many people will try to sell you things, which can get annoying, so you will have to potentially block some of these people. Also, monitor your account frequently, like at least weekly, because it is not uncommon for it to be hacked.
- Watch your words. It is OK to send out personal tweets sometimes. Or to post a holiday picture on Google+. It’s helpful because it encourages more people to interact with you. Twitter feeds or Google+ feeds that are all business are kind of boring. People will be more interested if you mix it up.
- Grow your network. Have a group that you regularly tweet your important messages to so they can share and spread it around, or “retweet” it. Add other colleagues that you meet at conferences or at networking events to your LinkedIn contacts.
- Retweet or repost on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+, good articles from trusted sources, like the WHO, CDC, or other credible organizations. People will come to see you as a trusted expert and resource.
- Don’t be shy. Social media is meant to be social. Post favorite tweets, thank people for retweets or comments, say good morning to get someone’s attention. But don’t be a spammer or stalker…if someone doesn’t respond, move on.
- Ask patients to follow or like your practice on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
- You can create separate pages on Facebook but just one account. I have my personal Facebook page, but I also have a page for the practice and a personal professional page.
- Remember you are in the public when you are on Social Media. Don’t do anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t do in public or that you would want to take back. What is posted online, stays online.