Practice Marketing

Should Physicians Use Social Media?

Should Physicians Use Social Media?

Social media has become an increasingly popular tool for communicating with patients, educating the public, and interacting with colleagues. Technology is growing at a rapid speed, and establishing a digital presence is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways for physicians to increase their online reputations. Nowadays, individuals are constantly turning to the internet for any health-related questions or concerns they might have. The great thing about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media platforms is they all offer endless opportunities for healthcare professionals to expand their network and connect with experts in their fields.

  1. Establishing Your Presence Online
    Facebook has become one of the most popular social networking websites, with active users exceeding millions. Sharing helpful content such as health tips or educational videos gives potential patients an idea of what you and your medical practice have to offer. Eventually, your presence in the social media space will reach a larger audience, and you will become known for your work. Studies show that more than 60% of individuals are more likely to trust social media posts by doctors over any other group.
  2. Developing a Strategy for Targeting Different Demographic Groups
    Posting success stories, reviews from other patients, and treatment options are just some of the ways you can reach out to your patients and the public at large. The beauty of social media is it acts as an equalizer across different audiences and encourages collaboration. It allows you as physicians to find creative and innovative ways of helping others. You can share your knowledge and figure out how to better serve patients’ needs.
  3. Helping Patients Find Reliable Health Information Online 
    There are thousands and thousands of blog posts, articles, video presentations, and forums dedicated to health-related matters. Not all medical content is credible, so this is where you step in. Social media is one way to share reliable health information and guide patients to reputable health websites. It becomes more valuable as it is integrated into communication efforts. Most often, patients will provide feedback on a physician’s viewpoints. As an added bonus, they tend to share this information with family and friends, thus increasing awareness.
  4. Distinguishing Yourself from the Competition
    Today’s advancements in technology have allowed social media channels to amplify professional networking efforts. For one thing, building a successful career depends on individuals recognizing your work. Content shared via social media can help you get your message across and reach millions of individuals. Yet, quality is just as important as quantity. Creating a unique website design or a catchy slogan will make it easier for you to stand out and build a successful online reputation. Individuals tend to feel more comfortable if they have consulted with a physician beforehand or are at least familiar with their work. As social media is becoming a more common feature of clinical practice, physicians who engage in social networking are more likely to rank higher on Google search results. After all, who goes past page four or five on Google?

Choosing a physician is one of the most significant medical decisions to be made. A patient must trust your knowledge and skills and, above all, have faith in you. With unlimited access to social media, patients are now in a unique position to pick from countless physicians, so why should they pick you? Demonstrating your expertise, dedication, and personality can help you establish a solid online reputation and build customer loyalty. If patients trust you, they will reach out to you. More than 40% of individuals have stated that social media would influence their choice of doctor, hospital, or medical practice. Think about it this way: do patients respond more to inspirational stories and interviews, or what they read in textbooks?

It’s a new era, and social networking websites have grown exponentially over the past few years. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, a growing number of healthcare professionals and medical practices are embracing social networking. It is the modern approach to promoting a medical practice and helping the greater good. Many of these practices post useful patient information online, such as wait times, specialty clinics, and outbreak announcements. 

Social networking websites have also become a place where patients can share their stories with other patients and raise awareness on health-related topics. When it comes to coping with the psychological aspects of certain diseases or side effects of treatments, many turn to social media for support. Online health forums have helped individuals share ideas, seek feedback, and, most important, contribute to countless associations in donations. The weight of such social circles should not be underestimated. 
At the heart of healthcare is the physician/patient relationship. It is a two-way dialogue that gives both physicians and patients the opportunity to speak, listen, and learn from one another. In the coming years, social media will continue to transform the medical world. We will see more health-related applications and more blogs for healthy living and better healthcare. So, if you are passionate about your work, share it and promote your cause. Healthcare may require time and commitment, however, social media is available at the click of a button. It is a great way to go beyond the four walls of a physician’s office and improve patient care. Social media platforms help individuals find the right physicians. They help them find YOU.