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Social Media for Doctors: Should I Create a Facebook Page for my Practice?

by Lauren Portice on November 3, 2015 at 3:00 PM

postheader-socialmedia.pngSocial media has become the biggest platform for communication amongst online communities. Outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs are most popularly utilized in not only a social setting, but for businesses as well. “Business to Consumer” and even “Business to Business” companies have jumped onboard and adapted these social media trends to effectively communicate with their audiences.

One of the most common misconceptions about social media is that all users are under the age of 25 and only use for recreational purposes. Currently, 72 percent of all Internet users are now active on social media. Of all internet users 89 percent of those between 18 and 29 years old, 72 percent of those between 30 to 49 years old and 60 percent of those between 50 to 60 years old are active on social media.


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More than 40 percent of consumers say that information found on social media affects the way they deal with their health and 90 percent of consumers would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks .

It is statistically evident that people are consuming medical information through various social media outlets, so why wouldn’t you want to contribute your medical expertise and increase your medical practice’s visibility on social media?

Facebook

Facebook is the center and Holy Grail of all social media outlets. Currently, Facebook has more than 1.4 billion active users worldwide, which makes it the #1 most visited social media outlet. On average, Facebook users spend nearly 18 minutes per visit to the site and visit roughly 5 times a day.

To get exposure for your practice’s Facebook, create a Facebook business page and encourage your current patients, friends and staff to “like” your page.

To avoid any shared patient information, make sure you disable the ability for others to post comments on your page. Instead, encourage patients to send a direct message to the page that would only be visible to the administrators of the page.

Twitter

Twitter currently boasts 270 million active users and has shared 300 billion tweets since the network launched. 20.5 percent (one-fifth) of Internet users in the U.S. have an active Twitter account and on average, follows five or more businesses. Over a third of Twitter users will buy from a brand they follow. In the past year, Twitter gained 50 million new followers, making it a top social media outlet for Internet users.

To get started on Twitter, create an account that is primarily used for your practice and create an account for the main physicians in office. For example, the appropriate Twitter handles could be the following: @HuntingtonPediatrics and @DrJohnSmithMD.

Use the office handle to promote activities, reminders and wellness information. Utilize the personal account to create and share medical advice from the physician specifically. If the physician handle wanted to tweet information regarding the flu shot, the office account could “retweet” the tweet, which would show up on both account’s timeline.

Blog

A blog is crucial in increasing Google search rankings and position your office to be at the top of any search engine. This is especially beneficial to your practice when someone is researching a new doctor’s office to visit because your office will be at the top of their search.

There are a number of free blog hosting websites such as, Blogger or WordPress. You can then create different sections and start writing about pertinent information going on in the industry that is relevant to your patient base. For example, if you are a pediatrician, you may write a blog post on ‘It’s Back to School Time: How to Ensure your children Stay Healthy This School Year.’ After, link the URL from the blog to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to expand your reach and audience level. It is also recommended to embed your blog within your practice’s website. This will add traction to your website and overall help your Google search engine optimization. You can also use your blog posts as relevant content to share from your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

More than likely your office has a user review site, such as RateMDs or Yelp, where people are ranking your office based on the experience. Mostly users utilize these types of sites based on a very poor experience or a very favorable one. Some of the most highly ranked restaurants, hotels or commercial stores have received poor reviews due to the influx of various situations. By implementing social media, your practice has the ability to determine your brand and adjust the voices that are already online to your benefit. Your online image will speak volumes in the patient attraction you will receive if you decide to put in the effort of using social media.

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This post was written by Lauren Portice

Lauren Portice is a digital content specialist for Intermedix. Prior to joining Intermedix, Lauren served as a marketing intern for HMS Holdings and a social media intern at Verisk Health. Lauren is a proud graduate of the University of Mississippi where she obtained her bachelor's degree in integrated marketing communications with a minor in business administration and emphasis in public relations and media sales. She has over four years of experience of working in the healthcare industry.

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