By Casey O’Quinn, Gravity Digital.
Social media can be daunting for any business. It’s difficult to keep up with platforms, changes, and best practices. Marketing for doctors and medical practices have the added challenge of Protected Health Information and HIPAA.
We see doctors taking all kinds of approaches to addressing social media for their practice. The first question that begs to be answered is, “why address social media at all”?
Because it’s important: 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. (The Spark Report)
For the reasons mentioned above, some doctors have a strategy of simply avoiding it all together. Others have tasked a millennial within the practice to “do” social media.
Whether you are a physician trying to develop a strategy for social media, or a practice manager looking to understand some best practices, here are some do’s and don’ts of social media for doctors.
Do have a purpose.
Before pulling the trigger on that Facebook post, make sure you have a reason for posting… and it needs to be more than, “because we haven’t posted an update in a while”. Share a resource or other content that is relevant for your patients. It’s great to create your own content, but don’t let that stop you. Curate good content from other sources and share that with your patients and prospective patients. Don’t be afraid to pull back the curtain and post something that makes the practice more personal. Does the staff dress up for Halloween? Can you offer congratulations to everyone’s favorite nurse that recently had a baby?
A best practice that can help you have a purpose: Use social media to talk with people, not at people. It’s a two-way street meant for communication, so engage with your audience.
Do keep your name, address, and phone number updated and consistent.
There is a lot of debate around social media’s effect on search engine rankings, and we’ll leave those debates to the search engineers. For a local medical practice (or any local business), it’s important to look at social media as a citation – a verification that you “are who you say you are”. Citations are a big part of which listings Google and the other search engines choose to show when it comes to LOCAL intent searches.
The key elements of a citation are a business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP), and the more citations you can get, the better. These citations must be consistent to get all of the juice out of the squeeze. A practice’s social media profiles are a natural, and free, citation.
This article was originally posted on Gravity Digital’s blog.