7 Social Media Best Practices for Your Medical Practice
Social media has become an increasingly important way for people in many industries to communicate with their client base--and the medical field is no exception. As a medical care provider, you may find yourself wondering how to best make use of your social media accounts to connect with your patients, share information, and improve your reach so that you can more easily find other potential patients in your field. These strategies can help you achieve those critical goals.
1. Showcase information that is relevant and helpful to your target audience.
As you share information on social media, keep in mind that it's not just about actively marketing your practice. Instead, focus on sharing information that might be useful to your target audience. If you're a pediatrician's office, for example, you might want to share information about how to protect kids during cold and flu season or what type of sunscreen parents may find most helpful and useful. If you're an allergist's office, information about helpful allergy-fighting tips could benefit your patients. Keep your posts clear and insightful.
2. Steer clear of providing direct medical advice.
As a physician, you already know that every patient is different. You do not want your social media pages to contain specific medical advice, since that advice might not pertain to the people who are reading those posts--and you do not want to risk legal liability coming back on you later if something goes wrong. Instead, focus on providing information that your patients will find valuable without offering direct medical advice. Invite patients to come in for a consultation or appointment if they have specific questions about the information you have shared, the services you offer, or the things they need to know to keep themselves and their families as healthy as possible.
3. Let patients get to know your staff and your practice.
Many people suffer from anxiety regarding medical care. They may find themselves nervous and uncertain about visiting, especially if they're looking for a new doctor, considering an optional procedure, or dealing with significant medical issues. To help alleviate some of that anxiety, use your social media platforms to invite patients--virtually speaking--into your office. Try:
Showing photos of your office and staff
Introducing your office staff
Sharing information about what to expect during specific types of visits, from well visits to more serious interactions regarding potential health problems
Publicizing your policies and how they're handled in your office. For example, do you request masking of sick or well patients? How many visitors are allowed to come along with a patient, especially if you're a pediatric office? Knowing that information ahead of time can make the process much more approachable for your patients.
Sharing information about your staff, your office, and your policies makes your office seem less intimidating to many of your guests and can help alleviate anxiety.
4. Never share private patient information.
HIPAA protects against the sharing of private patient information in any setting, including online. When you post on social media about your medical practice, it's important to keep those policies, as well as the individual policies from your business, in mind. To help protect your patients, make sure you're following these critical guidelines.
Never include photos that have patients in them without patient permission. If you do share something like a before and after photo, make sure you have the patient's written consent.
Never include any information that could help someone identify a patient, including the patient's name, specific demographic information, or identifying details.
Try to keep social media posts very generalized, since that can prevent accidental privacy violations.
5. Make sure you have a trustworthy posting schedule.
Consistency matters on social media just like it does in your medical practice. Your patients want to know what to expect when they interact with you. If they come into your office once and get seen immediately, only to come back for their next visit and spend hours waiting for you, they'll be less likely to trust you in the future. Likewise, posting consistency on social media can help build patient trust and raise awareness of your business--not to mention increasing the odds that patients will see your content, since if you post infrequently, it may be hard to break through social media algorithms and get your content out there.
To make this easier, try having a content plan that lines out what you plan to post and when you want it to go live. Schedule posts in advance when possible. While it's certainly fine to adapt or change your posts when necessary to fit current events--for example, many medical practices changed their posting schedules and calendars during the pandemic--you should have an idea of what you want to post and when you want to post it set out well in advance.
6. Know where on social media you're more likely to find your target audience.
If you're marketing a pediatric practice to parents of young children, you may find that Facebook is the ideal place for your audience. On the other hand, if you're marketing to younger people themselves, you may find that you're more likely to find them on Instagram. Get to know your target audience and their social media habits so that you can more effectively design as strategy that will help you reach them.
7. Work with a qualified social media marketing provider to help you achieve your goals.
Social media marketing can be a time-consuming practice if you're trying to handle it in the office--and chances are, your staff already has more than enough on their plates. Working with a social media marketing provider like DearDoc that understands your unique needs as a medical care provider, how you can best achieve your social media marketing goals, and what you need to do to reach your target audience to make it easier to set your goals, meet them, and continue to see improvements in your practice.
Do you have a social media presence for your medical practice? Contact DearDoc today to learn how you can get started.