We get a lot of questions about social media from doctors, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals. Here are some of the most common.
What are the best social networks for healthcare professionals?
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Some doctors also use Pinterest. Of these, the best network for our clients is Facebook. There are over 1 billion users on Facebook and the audience is primarily people between 35-60, with slightly more females than males. Twitter has great value for healthcare professionals who want to engage with their patients and the industry with infographics, downloadable resources, and research announcements.
Recent stats (Sept 2014) from Pew Research tell us:
- 71% of online adults use Facebook
- 23% of online adults use Twitter
- 26% use Instagram
- 28% use Pinterest
- 28% use LinkedIn
How do I set it all up?
You’ll need a professional profile image and header image. You’ll also need to write a short description about you and your practice. Some people also choose to include their office hours in their profile. After your account is created, you will want to connect with people you know – patients, colleagues, etc. This can be done by email address or manually searching for contacts.
What should I post?
Healthcare professionals should use social media to post-practice updates, photos of staff and events, and relevant news from the medical industry. You want to promote your practice, but not every post should be about you. Try to mix in some posts that share information from reliable news sources and other (non-competing) businesses that support your community. Imagine yourself as a prospective or established patient – what would you want to know about?
How often should I post?
Posting every day would be great, but not everyone has the time. We recommend posting at least two or three times per week. The ideal times to post are between noon and 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
Who will see our posts?
Anyone who visits your Facebook page or the Twitter page will see your posts. Whoever likes your Facebook page (becomes a fan) or follows you on Twitter will see your posts in their news feed.
How do we get new fans and followers?
Some suggestions we give our clients include:
- Hand out cards with your Facebook page URL
- Post signs in the office to “check in on Facebook” with the URL
- Email patients, inviting them to like your page
- Facebook contests
- Facebook ads
What are the best practices for the professional use of social media?
Social media is a way to personally connect with your patients, but be conservative and keep it professional. Don’t share photos that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Don’t post controversial information or use inflammatory language. You may also want to include a disclaimer in your account profile saying that the posts are for informative purposes only and are not meant to be a diagnosis.
Our next post will deal more with the marketing side of social media. Most companies are allocating funds for social media in their marketing budget, and we’ll explain why. In the meantime, if you want to know more about the social media marketing services iHealthSpot can provide, just give us a call: (877) 709-0999.
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