Facebook has more than 1.6 billion active users worldwide, making it the most popular social media network on the planet. There are several reasons why it has become so popular: it is user-friendly; it includes power-packed features, such as games, videos, and applications; and it is an excellent source of information. As you are probably aware, one of the main reasons why Facebook has gained immense recognition is due to the network’s ability to let you contact old acquaintances and stay in touch. Seeing as it is a social network with an extremely large following, it is important that you present yourself in the right light.
Launching a Facebook page can be fairly simple, and having an effective Facebook presence can do wonders for your credibility as a healthcare professional and for your practice’s reputation. However, before signing up, there are a few important factors to take into consideration. First and foremost, there is a major difference between a personal Facebook page and a business Facebook page. If you are not aware of the difference between the two, do not worry—you are not the only one!
All the features on Facebook are designed to help users stay connected, however, each type of profile (personal, business, or group) serves a separate, unique purpose. A personal Facebook page is an online profile that represents who you are. Your personal profile includes a profile picture, cover photo, and personal information, such as your birthday, relationship status, where you went to school, where you currently work, and more. The idea behind this type of profile is to allow you to share statuses and life events with the users you are connected with. On the other hand, a business Facebook page is a profile for a business—in this case, a profile for your practice. Similar to a personal profile, you can post stories, pictures, and updates. The main difference is your business page will not show on your personal profile, and vice versa; both accounts are separate from one another. While any user can create a Facebook page, only official representatives can create and manage a business page.
That being said, a personal Facebook page should be kept private and, as a healthcare professional, you should consider before “friending” anyone or sharing any information about your personal life with your patients. Keep in mind that anything on the internet can be shared by someone else in your network, so you should always be aware of who you are “friending,” whose friend requests you accept, and what you are posting. For instance, posting pictures of your vacation on public pages is never a good idea. It is best to use privacy settings to maintain boundaries and always keep your personal and professional online personas separate.
A business Facebook page is also a great place to promote your business and raise awareness. You can make announcements, share information about your practice, such as office hours and promotions, and even share posts from your FindaTopDoc Expert Blog. What’s more, every business Facebook page has unique features, such as an “Activity” tab and an “Insights” tab. The “Activity” tab allows you to schedule your posts and updates, while the “Insights” tab can help you keep track of which posts are most read, who is reading them, where they are coming from, and what time during the day your page is most active. This can help you determine what time during the day is the best time to post new updates. Furthermore, the “Insights” tab can break down your fan base into different demographics so that you can have a better understanding of who your fans are and what they are most interested in reading. Seeing how it is possible to share pictures, articles, and other newsworthy information from anywhere on the internet, consider connecting your FindaTopDoc Profile to a business page, or even post links to your FindaTopDoc Profile and Expert Blog.
To start off on the right foot, it is important to set up your business Facebook page properly, with a profile picture, cover photo, your office address, contact information, and a short description of your practice. If the page is left blank, you may give users the impression that your page is incomplete and unprofessional. Believe it or not, most users love being nosy when they have found someone on Facebook, especially when it comes to healthcare professionals. They want to check you out and see if you actually live up to your standards. By committing time and effort to a business page, you can offer current and potential patients a greater understanding of who you are, what your area of expertise is, what your practice has to offer, and why they should consider you and not the competition.
Next, you need to use your business page to share information and tips on your specialty. For instance, if you are a cardiologist, you may want to share tips on the importance of eating healthy and exercising, or even post articles on the latest medical research news and effective treatment options for various medical conditions. Whatever type of healthcare professional you are, you need to be able to meet your patients’ needs and demonstrate your specific expertise. It is your job to improve your patients' care, and Facebook can help you emphasize your cause.
When it comes to social media and doctors on Facebook, it is important to set clear, concise boundaries in order to strengthen doctor-patient relationships and avoid any misinterpretations along the way. Remember to:
- Always share accurate and truthful information
- Keep your Facebook page neat and appropriate at all times
- Avoid providing medical advice under any circumstance; instead, generate a response that will instruct the individual to schedule a private consultation
- Stick to posting newsworthy content that expresses your area of expertise
- Educate yourself on the best approaches to Facebook on a continual basis
- Always be considerate of what you post, and keep privacy and legal matters in mind
- Listen to feedback you receive so you are able to make the most of your efforts
- Never reveal any individual as a patient
- ALWAYS respect the privacy of your patients’ medical histories
In terms of content displayed on Facebook, it is up to you to be the judge of what you post, keeping in mind both privacy and legal matters. If you are actively seeking feedback, you may be able to determine what type of users you attract and what type of content to prepare in the long run. Facebook can build continuous visibility of your medical profession and meet target expectations as long as you avoid any conflicts that could break the doctor-patient confidentiality. By building a strong network of connections, you can improve existing patient relationships and meet new and prospective connections along the way.
As to whether Facebook for doctors is considered good or bad, the answer lies in how you set the boundaries, or, rather, how you choose to interact with current, potential, and former patients. As a healthcare professional, there is a fine line between appropriate and personal on Facebook, even when it comes to a business Facebook page. Your main goal is to stir up talk about your particular expertise and medical practice, all the while providing insightful content. The more you listen and interact with your Facebook connections, the more they will be intrigued to open up and interact with you. Compared to traditional content marketing and advertising, the ideal outcome of a business Facebook page is being recognized as a valuable and reliable source of information. In other words, it is recognized as a trustworthy and reputable healthcare professional in your medical field.