Social media optimization is now a very important field in healthcare. Practices need to reach out to prospective customers through the social networks. If your practice has not adopted social networking, here are some statistics from Referral MD that could convince you to change that:
- Over 40% of consumers believe that information circulated through social networks influences their approach towards health.
- People between 18 and 24 years of age are twice as much likely to turn to social networks for health discussions, and 90% of this audience trust medical information which people share on social media networks.
- 41% of people said their choice of specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility would be impacted by social media.
What Social Media Can Do for You
Social media has transformed advertising, shopping and communication, and now it is also set to transform healthcare. Just like businesses, hospitals and physician practices are realizing the effectiveness of driving business through the social networks. The right blend of social media platforms could enable physicians to reach out better to and engage their audience:
- Social media is a great platform to gauge public opinion or that of your target customer base. That can help you in your social media outreach and in health content marketing.
- It can give you ideas on how to engage with people, how to start a dialog, and how to build a relationship.
- As a physician, you could also become reliable sources to impart accurate medical information. This is valuable at a time when there is so much unreliable information on the Internet.
- The aforementioned stats prove the people take health information on social networks seriously. The authority you establish can help draw people to your practice.
- This also enables you to build reputation for your practice and generate public awareness.
Know your Patients and Build Authority
Social networking platforms are a great place for you to get to know patient requirements and expectations which you can apply to your practice. They also allow you to connect with other physicians, exchange notes, learn about certain medications and their side effects, and get to learn about their experiences with patients. Physicians and surgeons can track experts and industry leaders and gain their insight on important matters.
The more you engage responsibly in the social networks, the greater you will be known as and considered an expert. It makes it easier to build goodwill and draw people to your practice. Social media optimization is certainly something physicians and practices need to be involved in actively since the benefits, as we have seen, are immense.
Ensure HIPAA and Other Legal Compliance
Physicians need to be very careful when using social media for their practices. HIPAA norms come into play here, and violations would invite legal penalties. There are rules and regulations governing public communications involving medical information. If you assign staff to manage your social media communications, you must ensure that your electronic records are tamper-proof and secure. They also need to be complete for the purposes of audit and record retention. Non-compliance could drastically affect the reputation of your practice.
Outsourcing social media optimization wouldn’t be a bad idea. Reliable companies know the rules governing health communication and can help you use social networking effectively to boost your reputation and your bottom line.