How Social-Savvy Physicians Can Increase Hospital ROIMariah Obiedzinski
For years, healthcare marketing teams have agonized over physician social media policies: no external blogs, no additional websites, no going rogue on Twitter. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that doctors have no social media presences whatsoever — nothing to detract from the organization’s brand.
But today’s consumer-centric healthcare environment demands the opposite. Not only should doctors “be allowed” to have social media channels — and let’s face it, social media policies are largely unenforceable and time-consuming to monitor — but physicians also should be encouraged to actively participate in digital communities. A doctor with a strong personal (yet professional) social media footprint can increase patient acquisition, widen your physician referral network, and even improve physician morale.
Ready to learn more? Connect with our content marketing team.
How hospitals benefit when doctors get social
As marketers are well aware, physicians are the face of your organization. Many of today’s patients weigh doctors’ digital bedside manner and reputations just as heavily as their clinical expertise. A social media presence makes the doctor and, by proxy, your organization more personable by putting a face to the brand. Physicians who are active on social media can:
- Increase patient acquisition: Physicians can connect and build relationships with local and regional providers who might refer patients to your organization.
- Widen your referral network: Following, retweeting, and messaging between physicians expands opportunities for collaboration and sharing expertise that ultimately can benefit your patients.
- Improve personal morale: Online communities of like-minded individuals can provide moral support in a field as demanding and stressful as healthcare.
Doctors and other providers are taxed for time, so it’s essential to make it easy for those who are willing and interested in social media to get started and maintain their accounts.
How to make it easy
Some physicians are eager to collate, create, and publish social media content on their own. Many others are willing to share their expertise and hand off the implementation to support staff or the marketing team. Either track is a progressive move that potentially can benefit your organization’s bottom line over time.
Once your physicians buy in, follow these tips to ease them in and start generating return on the time investment.
Tag your doctors on branded social media posts
- Help your doctors build their brand by tagging them on posts related to their content or their expertise
- Leverage their audience reach if they have a large base of followers
Package and deliver social posts to their inboxes
- Write and email your physicians unique tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn updates they can share on their accounts
- Include URLs to their ghostwritten blog articles
Create and publish posts for them
- Write posts based on interviews with your subject matter experts
- Request their login information or work with their administrative staff to post to their accounts on their behalf
- Facilitate live chats and post updates using their social media handles
Doctors who do social media well
Twitter is an easy platform for physicians to get started on social media. It’s quick and easy to connect with colleagues and easily share tidbits of consumer-friendly, clinical, and research information with relevant audiences.
Here’s a sampling of physicians who have successfully established personal brands on social media that elevate and amplify their organizational brand on Twitter:
- Shaalan Beg, MD, gastrointestinal oncologist at UT Southwestern: 1,038 followers (@shaalanbeg)
- Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA, chief innovation officer at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: 19.7k followers (@RasuShrestha)
- Allen J. Taylor, MD, chief of cardiology at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, Washington, D.C.: 505 followers (@TaylorMHVICard)
Additionally, many physicians are finding success with LinkedIn as a blogging platform as well as a digital networking space. For physicians who are fond of photography, Facebook and Instagram are great options to connect with potential patients in a personal, friendly way.
Ready to help your doctors get social?
We offer a variety of social media workshops and services for physicians and marketing teams, including:
- Group physician social media training: guidelines and implementation
- One-on-one physician social media training: personal and organizational brand lift
- Social media monitoring, responding, and posting best practices
- Facilitation of social media chats and live video events
- Organizational social media strategy, support, content creation, and management
- Physician social media strategy, support, content creation, and management
Looking for something more? Feel free to reach out to our content team.
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