As a healthcare provider, you might think having a social media presence isn’t important to your practice’s success. However, it is a straightforward marketing strategy to implement with a high return on investment (ROI).
Social media has become prominently adopted across all generations, making it a great way to reach prospective patients. According to the Pew Research Center, the demographic breakdown of people with at least one social media profile is:
- 18-29, 88%
- 30-49, 78%
- 50-64, 64%
- 65+, 37%
It’s clear that millennials are majority users of social media, but the older patient market has also become quite digitally savvy in the last few years.
With a wide variety of platforms to reach these patients, marketing your practice through social media can surely fit within any healthcare provider’s strategic business plan. But it is necessary to narrow down a direction for your brand’s online presence amongst all these options.
If you’re in need of inspiration, here are five examples of famous medical doctors who have found success using social media to their advantage.
1. Doctor Mike
Dr. Mikhail Varshavski — better known as Doctor Mike — is your average family medicine doctor but with a combined social media following of eight million people. Doctor Mike has risen to the ranks of celebrity-status becoming one of the most famous doctors today, with features in Time, Cosmopolitan, Business Insider, and People Magazine, just to name a few.
Doctor Mike amassed his 2.8 million Instagram followers by posting photos of his daily life — on the job, at the gym, with his dog. Now you’ll see a similar stream of content, but with a slew of celebrities and sponsored events mixed in. His Instagram presence promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, alongside his busy professional work.
He keeps his followers consistently updated with a new post every few days and daily snippets shared on his Instagram story. Doctor Mike follows a strategy that relies heavily on visuals, making Instagram a perfect platform. Photos are a great way to connect with patients when it comes to online marketing for doctors. Prospective patients will get a glimpse of who you are before even stepping foot through your practice doors.
See More: Instagram 101 for Healthcare Providers
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2. Kevin M.D.
Kevin Pho is “social media’s leading physician voice.” On his website and blog, Kevin M.D., Pho shares stories from all aspects of the healthcare system. He provides a space for doctors, nurses, medical students, and policy experts to share their insight and experiences. As the founder and editor, Pho publishes articles on everything from physician suicide to electronic health records to, of course, social media tips for doctors.
Naturally, Kevin M.D. also has successful social media profiles of his own. His largest presence is on Twitter, with 160K followers. @KevinMD is a great example of content syndication on social media. On his Twitter account, he regularly shares articles published on his blog, inviting users to give them a read. The posts are short and sweet, with an on-topic hook and URL.
As a healthcare provider marketing your practice online, social media can maximize your content strategy. Blogging on healthcare services, trends, or topics of patient concern will allow your website to show more prominently in search results, but sharing links to these posts will offer an additional way for patients to find you online.
Follow Kevin M.D. on social media:
3. Eric Topol
Dr. Eric Topol’s 2015 book The Patient Will See You Now took inspiration from what the physician refers to as medicine’s “Gutenberg moment.” In other words, just as the printing press transferred knowledge control from the ruling class to the general public, mobile technology is transferring control of healthcare from a select few to all of us.
Consequently, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand how Topol might be the perfect example of using mobile technology to make healthcare more accessible. Topol, a researcher but cardiologist by training, tweets multiple times a day to share medical studies and direct his followers to articles that cover the intersection of healthcare data and technology.
Topol predominantly shares industry articles and retweets other accounts. His curated feed and interjected opinions serve as a news source for his followers, establishing him as a thought leader in the field. Thought leadership is also a great tactic for healthcare practice marketing. Patients will recognize the elevated level of expertise and authority, giving a greater sense of trust in your services.
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4. Howard Luks
Dr. Howard Luks, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in New York, has an active presence on all social media channels. Without the same celebrity-prestige as the three prior examples, Luks is a great example of how your typical doctor can also upkeep a stellar social media presence.
Luks regularly uploads videos to YouTube, where he discusses common orthopedic injuries and patient questions. In one video, Luks explains why meniscal tears are so common and whether surgery is always necessary for this type of injury. This video has been viewed almost 200,000 times.
“Studies report that 85 percent of patients are researching their diseases and their physicians online,” Luks says in his YouTube channel trailer. “Healthcare is not social, sports medicine is not social, but human beings are. Shouldn’t your physicians also be social?”
Again, digital consumers love visual content. Just think about the Dr. Pimple Popper empire. Most other healthcare provider’s online success won’t be in the same niche as her grossly intriguing video clips, but filming a short video explaining a new procedure or common diagnosis provides an efficient way for followers to engage with your practice.
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5. Wendy Sue Swanson
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a very successful doctor at the forefront of using online tools to communicate and connect with patients. As a pediatrician, she has been able to build a close relationship with her patients, in and out of the office, with her brand Seattle Mama Doc.
Following Dr. Swanson’s Facebook page is like following any other of your friends online. She frequently shares news and blogs about health issues that interest parents in particular. Her posts are conversational and personal, supporting her goal of keeping your family safe and healthy.
Swanson herself is a great advocate of social media use in healthcare and even spoke on this topic in a 2013 TEDx Talk. As a mother, she understands the importance of being able to access information online. Her social media presence also reflects her own experiences in parenting. Swanson exemplifies the perfect balance in opening up to your followers and marketing your practice brand as thoughtfully aware of a patient’s feelings.
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Online marketing for doctors is essential in the digital age. For healthcare providers looking to craft their practice brand, social media is the perfect avenue to create and disseminate shareable content that is relevant to your practice, specialty, and patients.
But prior to posting, be sure to avoid common online mistakes. Check out the blog “4 Steps Healthcare Providers Should Take Before Using Social Media for Business” for the best practices when implementing social media at your practice.