As a physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider, you must be always “on.” Your patients need answers and a lot of time you must think on your feet, respond quickly to situations and look for solutions. As we continue to grow as a global society, the needs of patients will only grow too. Especially when it comes to having access to practitioners and the medical information they possess. Most research about possible conditions or practices begins online these days, so it would make sense for your practice to join social media or one of the numerous healthcare websites. And for the most part, it is a great idea to reach your patients where they are online; however, it is vital to do your research beforehand to avoid costly mistakes. If you are making the move to creating an online community, find out where your patients are and follow these dos or don’ts for success.
7 Dos and Don’ts for Healthcare Providers’ Social Media
Post and Share Quality Information—Your social media presence is the face of your practice to the world. Make sure that you post verified and accurate content. Gaining and keeping the trust of your followers and fans, who are also patients and colleagues is of the utmost importance.
- Do Train Staff—If you will be having anyone other than yourself post on your page, train them to avoid HIPAA violations. This meanshaving a HIPAA policy in place and reminding staff that they cannot comment on patients or the office either on the professional page or even on their own personal page.
- Don’t Give Advice—If you receive any questions about conditions or care, encourage the commenter to call the office for advice. Do not offer any advice online.
- Do Post Regularly—The best way to remember to post consistently is to set up a writing calendar. If you are not able to post regularly, train a staff member to handle the pages. Keep in mind that regular postings foster good relationships between the page and your fans and it also keeps your page high in the search rankings.
- Do Have Fun—Just because your page is about a serious medical practice, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with it. Interact with your fans in a conversational manner and share light-hearted, trusted information.
- Don’t Friend Your Patients—If you have a personal Facebook page, it is a good idea to never friend your patients, unless you want them to see everything you post. Keep it strictly professional and encourage them to like the business page to keep tabs on what’s happening with the practice.
- Do Complete Your Profile—Fill out the About section on your company and include the credentials of you and your staff. Make sure that information shared is correct across all pages.
By using social media wisely, you can set your practice apart from the hundreds of others out there. A great online presence can mean referral after referral from your fans and followers. Remember to play it safe and professional and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Got some more tips for healthcare providers and social media? Chat us up in the comments.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download Five (5) Free PR and Press Release eBooks ($67 Value) here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/bundle.html