Social media marketing for doctors may sound like a misnomer. After all, physicians don’t need a strong online presence, do they? The truth is physicians do need social media. It allows them to build their brand and add to conversations already happening in their local communities and/or areas of practice.
In 2013, surveys revealed that only 25% of patients read online reviews when researching a doctor. Today, that number has leaped to 71%. This proves online reviews are a trusted and essential tool for most patients – and that the number of people reading them is steadily growing.
What’s more, these reviews are often the first things patients see when they type a doctor’s name into a search engine. User-generated content is heavily weighted by Google, Bing, and Yahoo, the three largest search engines in the world. With this in mind, it’s safe to say a patient’s first impression of a physician comes from existing patients. And this information is more than a means to satisfy curiosity. It’s used to evaluate and select a new provider.
Showcase Practice Information
When patients land on a provider’s social media page, they expect to see certain elements. Chief among these is general information about the practice to understand the people who will be caring for them. Physicians should therefore develop regular, low-key posts about:
- Staff members
- Products sold in the practice
- Innovative treatments and/or procedures available
- Patient success stories
Provide General Health Education
Patients want to understand a provider’s thoughts on trending medical news stories, and posting thoughtful reactions can effectively satisfy this desire. It’s no longer enough for physicians to sit in their offices and wait for patients to come to them with questions. Many patients never even get to this point because they want information that’s available 24/7. Physicians are therefore obligated to participate in bigger conversations that advance health literacy.
Education can focus on general topics like nutrition or fitness or on a topic a provider is especially interested in. Physicians can also share links to news or research articles along with their commentaries, or even produce original content in the form of videos and infographics.
Highlight a Provider’s Community Involvement
Sometimes, simply sharing a day-to-day experience with the community can have a meaningful impact on patients. For instance, discussing participation in a local charity event can motivate others to get involved as well. A passion for a local cause can also be highlighted on social media. Last but not least, social platforms are great ways to mobilize around community issues, such as the construction of a new hospital or walking path.
The point is that patients want a physician’s perspective on stories and events that impact the communities where they live. They need to know a provider is vested in the well-being of all local citizens, not just those who are patients of the practice.
Social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. It requires ongoing time and thought to make the most of your online presence – and to effectively connect with audience members. Our job is to understand your brand and then help you thrive by crafting creative posts, maintaining an excellent digital reputation, and helping you stay visible in a crowded space. To learn more about our services, contact Blue Zone Marketing today.