Social media for doctors is more than just social: it is professional. Beyond bringing personal connections into the digital age and blasting young pop icons to stardom, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter hold exciting possibilities for your practice. Social media platforms offer two key benefits that are missing from traditional marketing techniques: they allow you broad exposure, and they provide a two-way street to connect with patients. At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, we are proud to provide practice management software that interfaces with your social media to build your brand, attract prospects, and enhance the experience of your patients.
The Growing Importance of Social Media for Doctors
There was a time when doctors could still provide care to patients and grow their practices without social media. While this approach is possible, social media holds so much promise for doctors who want to grow their practices and interact with their communities that it can no longer be overlooked.
Social Media Allows You to Reach Many People
The percentage of the population that uses social media has grown to include almost everyone. Here are the percentages of people who have at least one social media account, listed by age group, as of 2018:
- 18-29, 88%
- 30-49, 78%
- 50-64, 64%
- 65+, 37%
Social media is now an effective means of engaging many people from older generations as well as young people. That said, its ability to attract the attention of Generation Z is extremely important. These young people are intense social media users, and they are quickly approaching the age of being able to make their own medical decisions.
Social Media Can Help Prospects Find You
Building credibility through mouth to mouth referrals is an excellent way to attract new prospects to your practice. When a person needs to find a doctor, he or she typically asks friends and family members for recommendations. For generations, this has been a convenient way to find local medical professionals vetted by the positive experience of trusted sources.
Today, more and more people are using social media to find and evaluate candidates. The reason for this is that social media offers prospective patients almost all of the same benefits as talking to friends and family:
- They can perform an internet search quickly
- They can filter for local results
- They can obtain reviews to help them evaluate their prospects
When you build a strong social media presence for your practice, you benefit from the fact that people are now using social media to find providers.
Social Media Can Build Your Credibility
You can enhance your credibility by using social media in a number of different ways. Perhaps the most obvious is through offering patients the opportunity to leave online reviews. Consumers today use online reviews to make choices about everything from sushi restaurants to auto mechanics. When prospects see positive reviews on your social media, they will be more willing to entrust you with their health.
Another way social media enhances credibility is by allowing prospects to visually assess you, your practice, and even your social media itself. Whether we like it or not, human beings are highly visual learners who formulate a lot of opinions subconsciously based on what they see. When you offer your prospects well-organized, informative social media campaigns, they will associate you with competence and professionalism. By giving them images of you and your facilities that showcase a clean, well-managed environment, you will create a positive first impression.
One of the most exciting ways you can build credibility on social media is by engaging with trending topics and providing your insights. Dr. Eric Topol exemplifies how doctors can become authority figures in their field by using social media to share valuable articles, groundbreaking studies, and professional opinions. He has attracted hundreds of thousands of followers across various platforms by providing high-quality content (both his own and re-posts) that health-conscious people find valuable.
Social Media Can Help You Fulfill Your Mission
Sharing valuable information on social media goes beyond showing prospects that you are competent and credible. By blogging on your areas of expertise, providing links to new research, and sharing the insights of other professionals, you can use social media to create meaningful links among medical professionals, further important conversations, and make valuable information accessible to the public.
Many doctors choose to build a social media presence in response to the alarmingly pervasive amount of medical misinformation on the internet. Writing for SELF, Dana Corriel, M.D., explains how seeing medical myths on social media prompted her to create a space within the social media platform where people could access real information: “I’d feel an explosive mix of amusement and fear as I read medical falsehood after falsehood, all in the span of a single morning’s scroll. I’d stare at Twitter with pseudoscience laughing maniacally back at me, daring me to make my move.”
For many people, search engines have become the first line of inquiry for questions pertaining to everything from the most effective shaving soap to the advantages of Invisalign® over metal braces. Often, people Google their symptoms and do internet research on their conditions before seeking professional help. You can use your social media profiles to give people real information and help debunk assumptions that are not evidence-based.
Social Media Offers You the Ability to Engage with Patients
Unlike traditional forms of marketing, like print advertisements, social media is an engaging experience for patients. When a prospect or a patient finds you on social media, he or she can engage in a variety of ways, depending on your profile(s), such as:
- Sending a friend request
- Adding a “like”
- Saving your profile or some of your content
- Forwarding your profile or content to a friend
- Leaving a review
- Posting content
- Opening a chat
People form deeper impressions when they actively engage. Social media is, therefore, an excellent way to create a memorable presence for yourself. By engaging with your social media and spending time on your profile(s), prospects and patients invest time in getting to know you. Since people naturally desire a return on their investments, they will be more inclined to utilize your services.
Beyond attracting new patients, social media can help you encourage existing patients to return via positive communication. Through social media, you can automate emails, offer surveys, conduct poles, and promote your services. Patients who come into your practice for one procedure might opt for one of your other services if you use social media to market to your existing clientele.
One exciting new development is the ability to initiate conversations with patients via chatbots. Chatbots automatically open a conversation window with anyone who visits your website. By doing so, they invite your visitors to engage and allow you to share information that is relevant to their needs.
Ways to Use Social Media for Doctors
At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, we know that creating an effective social media strategy can offer a huge return on investment for medical practices. Basic tips as you can started include:
Create Visually Pleasing Profiles
When you create your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, ensure that all the content you post looks professional and eye-catching. Update your social media consistently with photos and videos. This will attract attention to your practice and show that you are a competent medical professional.
Use Live Streaming
Studies have shown that live streaming gets a bigger response than any other type of visual, including photos and videos. You can live stream images of your practice, broadcast your lectures, or set aside time to answer health-related questions, live.
Allow Patients and Other Experts to Engage
Search engine optimization favors content that is generated by followers. Therefore, you will get more exposure if you allow your followers to leave comments, post videos, and share links. At the same time, you will be building a community around your practice and engaging with patients on a deep level.
Social Media Can Give Your Practice an Advantage
Social media for doctors has become an effective means of growing a practice, enhancing the patient experience, and generating important connections within the medical community. Through social media, you can promote your practice to prospects who are looking for medical care. You can find out how patients respond to your services by conducting surveys and responding to reviews. In turn, you will be able to build a practice that is more valuable to your existing patients and more attractive to prospects.
When used professionally and thoughtfully, social media for doctors can generate meaningful, informative content that is publicly accessible. It can publicize exciting developments within the medical community, inspire new ideas, and bring new voices into the conversation. All of this activity will reflect well on you and your practice.
If you want more information on how you can optimize your social media, contact us today at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing so that you can speak with one of our experts. We are happy to share more about how social media can become a key part of your practice’s success story!