Social media is an integral part of our daily lives. It’s where we get our entertainment, our news, and how we keep up with friends and family. It’s also an effective way for businesses and those who provide goods and services to communicate with their potential customers, clients, and patients — this includes healthcare professionals.
If your medical practice isn’t on Twitter, it should be. If you’re trying to figure out how to engage with social media as a healthcare professional, here is some inspiration to help you get started with your first tweets.
Healthcare professionals need to be on social media.
- The National Institutes of Health say that social media “can be used to improve or enhance professional networking and education, organizational promotion, patient care, patient education, and public health programs.”
- The University of Scranton conducted a study that found that healthcare consumers use social media to make decisions about healthcare, from choosing a doctor or healthcare facility to committing to a course of treatment.
- 60% of doctors responding to a recent survey said that they believe that social media can improve patient care.
Yet medical professionals, including optometrists, dentists, MDs in private practice, therapists, and other health and wellness providers, often find it hard to get started with social media or to keep their social media initiatives going.
Obstacles include concerns about HIPAA regulations, difficulty with finding the time to invest in social media for their practices, or fears that short-form answers or announcements could spread inaccurate information.
But the most common problem is just coming up with something to say. We’ve had clients tell us that it takes them 40 minutes to come up with one good tweet or social media post.
So we’re offering a month’s worth of tweets to get you started. Here is some information to help healthcare professionals put together effective tweets.
Tweets that share
- Share your blog posts. This is a great source of social media content, and it’s also an excellent way to promote your medical blog. Share posts when you first publish them, but post again in a couple of days. You can share old but gold posts occasionally, too. Your fans don’t always see everything you post on Twitter or social media.
- Share your hours. Certainly share when hours change for a holiday or other circumstances, but also make an occasional post reminding people that you’re open late or early.
- Share great articles that you read. Providing a great source of accurate articles is a useful service for your patients. This helps improve the quality of health information that your patients see.
- Share special offers or promotions if you use them. Social media gives you a direct line to your audience. This is great for promotions, but you don’t want to lose likes or followers because they keep getting blasted with ads. Keep promotional posts to 20% or less of your posts.
- Share pictures from events and from ordinary days around the clinic. People love to get a behind the scenes look into a business. This is especially true as consumers increasingly put value in transparency. Just be careful not to show patients or identifiable information.
Seasonal and monthly reminders
- Announce medical awareness observations relevant to your specialties, such as World Aids Day or Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
- Clue your readers in to less serious observances like Festival of Sleep Day (January 3), too. This also gives you an opportunity to promote relevant content from your blog.
- Remind readers to get their flu shots, change their smoke alarm batteries, and get their daily recommended servings of veggies. Whatever your specialty, there are actions your patients or clients want to take, and they will appreciate the reminders.
- You may have reminders specific to your practice as well, whether it’s a reminder that your kids’ clinic day is coming up or a link to your new schedule of classes.
- One thing we often hear from new clients is that their long-term patients don’t know about all the services they offer. “Did you know that we offer Botox treatments?” or “Supplement your Pilates workout with Tabata — Saturday mornings right here” can be all it takes.
Engage with your audience by asking questions
- “It looks like perfect weather this weekend. What fun activities do you have planned to get outdoors?”
- “What’s for dinner today? Healthiest plate wins!”
- “Stress affects everyone. What do you do to cope with stress?”
- “Time, money, worry — what keeps you from getting to see your doctor?”
- “What’s your favorite source of health info?”
Provide facts and information
- Answer the questions you are asked most often, especially those which have quick answers. For example, “20-20-20 for computer users: every 20 minutes, focus 20 ft. away for 20 seconds” is a quick and helpful note from a vision care provider for patients who spend their days in front of a screen. Your patients have similar questions.
- Post intriguing facts. For example, your readers probably don’t know that everyone’s tongue print is as unique as a fingerprint. Whatever your specialty, you know some fun facts your patients don’t.
- Summarize news in your field. Chances are your readers won’t see the specialized news in their usual news sources and may not be able to read the articles announcing big news in your specialty. Give a summary in layman’s terms. For example, “New study says childhood bullying can affect long-term mental health.”
- Weigh in on controversial topics. Be diplomatic, but remember that issues like vaccination, frequency of mammograms, and intermittent fasting are on people’s minds, and they’ll value your expertise.
- Tell your followers when you speak at a conference, publish a paper, or gain a new staff member. When you provide a steady stream of useful content, your readers want to know about you, too.
If you’re in the healthcare field — whether you’re the owner of a busy gym or the marketing director of a hospital — you may find that doing your own social media posts is not the best use of your time.
Call Haden Interactive at 479.966.9761 for immediate help, or learn more about our services.