3 Social Media Tips for Healthcare Professionals
Social media: it’s not just for college kids anymore. According to Pew Research Center, around seven in ten Americans are using social media, with Facebook and YouTube being the most popular social networks. Most people are on one social network now, but younger generations are still dominant users with 90% of 18-29-year-olds with at least one social media account.
Social media is a great place to engage with prospective patients and spread information about your practice and its services, especially if you’re looking to reach out to younger audiences. And social media accounts, even for businesses, are free. But as a healthcare professional, it’s important to remain compliant with HIPAA and the FDA’s advertising guidelines. So how can you break into the social media scene?
We’ve got some tips to help you get started with growing your practice with social media.
Tip 1: Share Valuable Content
Sharing informative content on your social media is a great way to build yourself as a thought leader. While it’s great to be able to share your own content, sharing relevant, helpful articles from other reputable sources also works. Creating content can take time, so curating a feed on your Facebook or Twitter keeps social accounts active and your followers engaged.
Some kinds of content, such as video, have become a lot more accessible. Cameras on smartphones, tablets, and computers are much better than they used to be, and there are plenty of free video editing programs available online. If you’re looking to create your own content, consider trying out video. It’s also one of the most engaging forms of content. One-third of online activity is spent watching videos.
Tip 2: Create Social Media Guidelines
You’ll want a clear set of guidelines for your social media accounts, especially if your accounts will be managed by multiple people or you will be curating content from other sources. Your guidelines should include information like the style of posts, relevant hashtags for your practice, and topics for content to be shared.
The internet is full of misinformation, and one benefit of social media for healthcare professionals is the ability to be a source of reputable, trusted information. When creating your social media guidelines, it’s important to include topics and sources of information that are off-limits. These might include avoiding sharing information from your competitor’s websites or guidelines for determining the reputability of a source or article.
Causing a stir on social media can damage your reputation. Social media guidelines prevent such incidents.
Tip 3: Have Some Fun
Social media is ripe with opportunities to have a good laugh. You can use social media to showcase your practice’s personality, which is engaging for prospective patients and potential employees. Healthcare can be a stiff subject, but taking some time to share employee successes or a fun healthcare comic or pun can make your practice’s social media more human, especially for younger audiences.
Word of Caution
Practices do have to be extra careful with what they share on social media, and nothing is allowed to violate HIPAA or FDA advertising guidelines. Here are some guidelines to follow to avoid potential conflicts:
Never share private information about a patient and avoid posting photos of patients
These are obvious patient privacy violations. Breaching patient privacy has serious consequences, and it’s best to avoid sharing anything that could give away identifying information or details on the care a patient has received.
NOTE: You sharing information versus your patients sharing their experience in a review or testimonial is different. Reviews left by patients are given voluntarily and can boost your practice’s image.
Always get consent from your employees
Not everyone wants their private social media accounts connected with their professional life. Before you post any photos, tag an employee, or share any information, always get consent to do so, and respect your employees’ right to privacy as well.
Social media is a great, cost-effective way to engage with patients online. You can utilize different platforms to reach new patients and build awareness about your practice for younger audiences. You can also use social media to build up your practice’s reputation and build yourself as a thought leader.
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