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The Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Getting Started with Social Media

Find out how social media marketing can benefit your medical practice.

Social media is a triple threat: You can establish yourself as a thought leader, curate your practice brand, and boost return on investment (ROI) by engaging with patients online. Especially in order to meet the demands of patient acquisition in the digital age, it is an essential healthcare marketing strategy for even the busiest doctor when it comes to increasing online visibility.

If you aren’t already sold on social media or just need a little motivation to take the first steps, here is an introductory guide to the benefits of social media for healthcare providers.

Your Audience Is on Social Media

While the act of creating social media accounts might seem daunting, rest assured by the fact that 80% of internet users in the U.S. search for health information online, and of these, 74% use social media in their search.

One of the biggest audiences on social media is undoubtedly the Millennial generation, which accounts for $200 billion in annual buying power. Bring some of this money to your practice by targeting this audience on social media, where they are more than twice as likely to engage in health-related discussions than older generations.

Focus on Brand to Build Your Patient Base

With the breadth of online tools available, patients are more empowered than ever to take control of their health. A big piece of the decision-making process for prospective patients involves choosing who they want to administer their care. And now, choices can be made based on social media presence.

In fact, 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. The best social media profiles give followers a glimpse at what their patient experience might be like, similar to an online review.

Optimize your healthcare marketing strategy with social media profiles that have consistent business information, including your hours, biography, and imagery to help convert searchers into customers.

Take a look at these five doctors who serve as a great example of successful branding on social media.

Be a Follower to Become a Thought Leader

Online relationships are often no different from those in real life in that they are a two-way street. You must engage with other accounts — people in your area, people in your professional network, medical organizations and associations — in order to get the most from social media.

After all, being “social” is the name of the game. So, if you’re engaging with others through liking, commenting, and sharing, you’ll see that in return on your own valuable content.

Share your Expertise, But Comply with HIPAA

For the most effective healthcare marketing, create a schedule that cross-promotes your blog posts across all social media channels. Send out a post including a message that calls out a key point from the article and its URL. If you choose to blog on a timely medical topic, engage in the online discussion with relevant hashtags.

In any case, all information healthcare providers share online must comply with HIPAA. Don’t let this scare you away from growing your online presence, simply follow guidelines for protected health information before posting to social media.

If you choose to give responsibility of social media to your front office staff, be sure to educate them on HIPAA and establish a set of rules to maintain your practice brand.

Get Active on Social Media to Boost Your Healthcare Practice

The old rules of healthcare marketing such as sponsoring your local soccer team or sending direct mail no longer suffice as ways to grow your practice. Today’s patients are going online in search of meaningful and easily accessible information. Take initiative in providing this through social media and see the boost in your practice’s bottom line.

Looking for more information on how to set your practice up for success on social media? Check out this blog “4 Steps Healthcare Providers Should Take Before Using Social Media for Business.”

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