Marketing a healthcare practice involves special considerations. That made many medical practitioners cautious about social media in the beginning, yet it’s where your target audience is. In fact, more than half of adults in the United States get their news from social media. This goes beyond the social media platforms that may come to mind first like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn; it includes Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, and more.
Social media not only helps us all keep on top of national news and trends, but local as well. In fact, social media marketing to a local audience has special advantages. That’s why so many local businesses, chains, and franchises have an active social media presence in your area that helps them get the word out to current and potential clientele. Even medical practices can use social media to improve their business.
Why Would A Medical Practice Use Social Media?
A medical practice isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into your mind when you’re thinking of places to look up on social media, but it’s actually quite common. Nearly half of all Google searches are for local information and more than 85% of consumers doing online searches use it to find local businesses. Ultimately, having an active online presence lets the majority of your potential patients know your practice exists.
Your social media presence for many individuals is their first impression of a business, including medical practices. How your medical practice is perceived on its social media accounts is important to patients. If someone’s first impression of your medical practice is that it’s warm, friendly, and welcoming, you will increase the probability of someone wanting to try out your practice over other local options. You may even find people coming to you from farther away than you thought they would.
Can Doctors Have Social Media?
While privacy is a concern for medical practices, doctors can absolutely have a social media presence. Being able to utilize social media can allow doctors to educate current and potential patients through blog posts and sharing credible information that your patients would find valuable. Sharing educational information on healthcare can establish doctors as authorities and trustworthy to potential patients in their local area.
Just as social media for a medical practice is a patient’s first impression of that practice, a doctor’s social media presence will increasingly be a future patient’s first impression of that doctor. Keeping this is mind, it’s important to avoid negative comments and appearances of hostility toward people commenting on your social media pages.
You have a lot of options and tools at your disposal when maintaining your social media accounts as a doctor. Many platforms offer the ability to disable or hide outside comments, have privacy settings to allow you to filter your messages, and more. If you’re using Facebook for example, you shouldn’t use a private account as your main social media account, and you probably want to tighten the privacy settings for your personal accounts. You don’t want patients to be friending you, so a professional Facebook page they can like instead is the best route. Either way, before you get active on social media make sure you’re following any guidelines or rules regarding social media your medical practice may have implemented, if any.
Can Social Media Cause HIPAA Compliance Concerns?
It can and it has caused HIPAA compliance concerns. Instances even exist where doctors have violated HIPAA on social media and have been reprimanded accordingly.
HIPAA applies online and offline, so it’s important that you’re following those guidelines regardless. If you don’t share a patient’s name but are sharing information that makes it easy to discover the identity of the patient in question, you are in violation of HIPAA. Always play it safe, and if you aren’t sure it’s a good idea to post something; don’t post it. Your potential future patients value their privacy as well and having a social media presence that reflects that will put their mind at ease.
Efferent Media’s Social Media Team Can Build An Online Community For Your Practice
Our social media specialists use a combination of well-known and emerging platforms to create a plan to best inform and attract prospective patients for your practice. We can build up a unique brand across multiple platforms to speak to your patients. Contact us today and let Efferent Media help you bring in new patients while you focus on delivering the care they need.