The relationship between patients and doctors has long been based on face-to-face communication and complete confidentiality. Whilst these fundamentals still absolutely remain, the channels of communication across all sectors have changed monumentally, with social media at the forefront of these changes.
Increasingly patients are taking to the Internet to find recommendations for healthcare professionals and to self-diagnose. By having an online presence your business can positively influence these conversations – engaging with the public and colleagues both locally and globally and can facilitate public access to accurate health information. The reality is social media is here to stay, so in 2014 why not make it your resolution to become part of the conversation.
To get you started and so that social media isn’t seen as such a daunting place, SocialB are providing a free eBook containing lots of fantastic advice on how to use social media within the healthcare sector ‘Twitter for Healthcare Professionals’ please visit http://www.socialmedia-trainingcourses.com/top-10-twitter-tips-ebook/ to receive your free copy.
Here are 5 top tips on using social media in 2014:
1. Decide on your online image and adhere to it
Decide how you would like to be portrayed professionally and apply this to your online presence. Create a tone of voice and a company image – in line with your branding and values – and stick to it.
2. Be approachable, whilst maintain professional boundaries
Connecting with patients via social media can help to ease their concerns and develop a certain rapport or trust with you prior to their consultation. However, this must remain professional at all times, and individual advice should not be given. The general rule is that personal ‘friend requests’ should not be accepted; connection over corporate pages and accounts is encouraged to maintain a traditional doctor-patient relationship.
3. Contribute your knowledge, experience and industry information
Social media is a fantastic way to launch an online marketing campaign. Interaction with your patients and potential clients via social networks is an inexpensive way to engage with, and learn from your audience.
As a healthcare professional, you will inevitably take part in conferences, training days and possibly new research. Social media allows you to share your knowledge, enabling your market to be better informed about you and your work.
4. Treat others how you wish to be treated
By engaging with other means that they are more likely to take notice of, and share, your social media updates. Sharing is key and it is this action that will substantially grow your audiences. Maintain your professionalism and pre-agreed tone of voice whilst communicating with others. Make it easy for peers and patients to recommend your level of skill and service, and ensure you recommend fellow healthcare professionals for the same reasons.
5. Consider your audience
Whilst you may be astute at targeting a particular audience as a result of careful market research, always be aware who else can see your online presence. Governing bodies, competitors and the press are just a few examples. Whilst social media tends to be a more informal platform, by following the above points will ensure your professional reputation is upheld.
Thank you Katy Sutherland at SocialB for providing this blog post.