Fostering Your Medical Practice's Social Media Presence

March 6, 2014
Audrey Mclaughlin, RN

When planning your social media strategy, remember that social networking is called social and not promotional for a reason.

Many times when I am writing an article or working with a new client, I am out hunting for examples of practices utilizing social media.  Occasionally I run across some that are doing very well in their social media endeavors.  More often, however, I find fan pages that are barely present or purely promotional, with little to no interaction. 

Consider this: Face-to-face interaction and social networking are very much the same. Both are important for growing your practice and in both places you are aiming to build a personal connection.

In face-to-face networking, you go out and shake hands, chitchat, maybe hug, but you are usually interacting with only one person at a time.  In social media, you must create that same connection, but you have the ability to connect with more people at once (and more targeted people than any other form of advertising).

In order to build a connection in social media, you must show up, connect, and contribute. Recently a prospective client started a social media page on Facebook, and came to my firm because they felt that avenue wasn’t working for them.  One quick peak at their fan page, and two main issues were clear:

1. They had made no posts since January
2. All of their posts were promotional in nature

They had been doing the equivalent on social media as going to an in-person networking opportunity and walking around blurting out, “check out my blog post,” “big sale on supplements today,” “new allergy treatment available." 

The big lesson here: You have to show-up in social media, you have to be present, you have to be transparent and let some of the real “you” behind your practice and brand show up for people to connect with. You have to engage in the conversation happening in your ideal patient market across your preferred platform.

It is really simple. You must build a connection and a relationship through your social media page to get people to know, like, and trust you; and to attract patients to your practice. (FYI, it is the same in person.)

When planning your social media strategy remember that social networking is called social and not promotional for a reason. It is all about connection and relationship building. Using it properly can mean a big difference in audience engagement and ultimately in attracting new patients to your practice.