In this day and age of modern technology, the term Social Media has become very popular. It is most often used to describe posts or photos shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc. However, it is much more than that. So what is Social media anyway? Simply put, Social media is a set of tools that allow communication and exchange of ideas, thoughts, and information in a virtual environment. It enables creation and sharing of content in a social network.
So how does this help doctors? While you can talk to friends, share viral links, post photographs on these platforms, social media is not limited to personal interactions. Businesses across the globe are using these tools to market themselves, interact with their customers, and engage with them. Social media has helped individuals as well as businesses to build their brand. And, that is how it can help doctors too.
Imagine if you could engage in a lively discussion with peers about a recent development in your field, share with patients a recent success story, function as an expert by answer queries online, or conduct online lectures to share knowledge. Social media enables you to do all this and much more.
Let’s look at some of the common social media tools and how to use them. It is easy to create your profile page, either for yourself or your clinic, on Facebook. Here, you can share many different things like information about your practice, links to your official website, event announcements, photos, videos on a trending topic etc. This is a great way to reach out to your patients and peers, and engage with them in a relatively informal setting. While your content can reach a lot of people organically (through unpaid distribution), Facebook also has paid promotions and they can be used to promote your practice to a very large group of people.
On YouTube, you can create your own channel and add on it videos on a wide array of topics including health tips, lectures on an interesting topic, new services you offer, informational videos, treatment procedures etc. This platform enables sharing information and engaging your target audience in a fun way. Patients, other doctors, friends can either subscribe to your YouTube channel or you can share links to these videos on Facebook or Twitter.
Twitter is all about microblogging i.e. sharing content in 140 characters or less. (Spaces included). You can use this platform to share announcements, links, opinions, updates etc. in short burst messages. Patients, peers and friends who follow your Twitter feed can read these messages. Because of the cap on characters, you will have to be concise while sharing content. Similarly, when you follows others on Twitter, their feeds are available to you for a quick read. It is very useful to keep up with news, updates, trends and general goings-on by following interesting and relevant individuals and organizations.
LinkedIn is a more professional platform where you can build your network. You can connect with doctors and other professionals. Typically, patients won’t be part of your LinkedIn network. In your profile here, you can describe your professional history, highlight achievements, and even list any awards and certificates that you have earned. You can also join groups of likeminded professionals to keep up with latest updates, discuss ideas, and share your views and expertise. Through LinkedIn several opportunities might open to you such as consulting, panel expert, guest lecturer etc.
These are some of the useful tools that you can utilize for marketing. If managing content on so many different platforms seems like a daunting task, then applications like Buffer, Hootsuite, Jarvis, and Stacker are available to make your life simpler. Through these applications you can share one post on 3 or more social media platforms. Finally, good visuals are important in order to attract people’s attention, so you can use online graphic editors like Unstock, and Canva to help you create appealing imagery.
If used wisely, Social Media can help you gain visibility, build credibility, and create a strong brand for you. So go ahead and dive right in!