Facebook for Physicians

June 24, 2010

Facebook is a manageable social media platform for docs. It is easy to use, and allows our social and professional lives to be linked - if we so choose.

Facebook is a manageable social media platform for docs. It is easy to use, and allows our social and professional lives to be linked - if we so choose.

Facebook is in the top five most visited Web sites. This means it attracts a lot of traffic. It attracts a lot of people everyday. Facebook is no longer just for the kids.

Advertisers are flocking to this targeted audience. Even big pharma is on Facebook, not just with advertising, but with their own pages as well.

Becoming a "friend" - One of the keys to Facebook's success has been the ability to block out strangers from viewing your Facebook page. A Facebook page contains your personal items: pictures, videos, comments, contact information, etc. Only those people you accept as a "friend" are allowed to see your stuff (if you set your privacy setting properly).

Patients becoming friends - The major obstacle to docs creating a Facebook page is the potential for forming a doctor/patient relationship when a doctor "friends" a patient. With a traditional Facebook page, the only way a patient can leave a comment for a doc is for the two parties to become connected as "friends." Does this constitute a true doctor/patient relationship? It doesn't matter.

Create a "fan page" - The solution to the "friend" issue is to create a "fan page." Fan pages are free and do not require establishing a connection between the host (you) and the fan (a patient). Patients can just become fans of your practice, and are now free to leave comments, suggestions, and testimonials on your page for everyone to see!

You have achieved your goal.

Personal Facebook page - I still recommend that you set up a personal Facebook page and not just a fan page for your practice. You'll be amazed how many people you know are on Facebook. You'll also be amazed at how many might not know you are a doc, or even, what you do specifically.

A personal Facebook page accomplishes two goals: It provides a place to share all your personal information with your friends; It gives your friends an idea of who you are. Second, it provides your friends with some professional information. It says that you are a doc and what you practice. It is a nice introduction to your Fan page and/or your Web site. It bridges your social life with your professional life.

Social media is all about forming, and maintaining, relationships. These platforms can also serve as endorsements for you and your practice. Think about it, if you just discovered that your high school chum is now an attorney and you had been looking for one....who would you call?

Here are some other attributes of Facebook:

• Paid advertising - Use it to attract more "fans." 

• Sync with Twitter and your blog - No need to take extra time to update your fan page.

• Automatically connect your other social media platforms (I connect my blog and Twitter) to FB - For instance, any time I post a new article on my retina blog, it automatically is "Tweeted' on Twitter and Facebook.

• Set up links to your Web site - Interested fans can then easily find your Web site to learn more about your practice.

• Public and private messaging - You can send a message that all "friends" can see and contribute, or send a private message. No worries.

What does this mean? Facebook is a social media platform that is easy to navigate and understand. It is not just for your kids anymore. It is now used by everyone.It can be a powerful way to market yourself and your practice. Create a fan page, there is no fear in establishing a formal relationship. It is also a nice elegant way to let your friends know who you are and what you do. And, it is an effective medium for targeted marketing.