Social networking sites are more than just a way for your teenagers to “Facebook” each other. Today, social networking sites have become very powerful tools for doctors to add to their arsenal of medical marketing vehicles. If used strategically and professionally, social networking sites can help physicians and doctors in all practice areas make valuable connections.
Initially, social networking sites were designed to provide their users (typically friends and family) with a platform to communicate and keep in touch with one another. Now, social networking is used by everyone from major corporations to mom and pop shops. In this capacity, social networking is used to help establish relationships with current and prospective clients. Social networking is essentially relationship marketing. This means your focus should be on using social networking to attract patients to your medical practice by building relationships with them online.
To do this, you must select the right social networking site for your needs. MySpace and Facebook – the most popular of all social networking sites – are typically used for personal social networking; however Facebook offers professionals the option to create “pages” for their businesses. For this reason, Facebook is a better option for physicians and doctors seeking to use social network marketing as a medical practice marketing tool.
In addition to MySpace and Facebook, there are also several social networking sites that focus on health care, physicians and specialties in the medical field. Some of these sites include DoctorsHangout where physicians interact with each other, exchange clinical experiences, review their cases and share clinical knowledge. Another site is SERMO where physicians collaborate on challenging cases, share clinical insights and improve patient care in real-time. These sites as well as LinkedIn and Twitter can help physicians establish relationships with colleagues and clients, which can lead to increased referrals and new patients.
Connect with you target audience
Identify your target audience and seek to connect with them accordingly, it is important to be selective in connecting with other site users who may become your patients or referring colleagues. More and more physicians are recognizing the value of social networking as a vital aspect of their medical practice marketing. Today, people are online, so take advantage of the opportunity to build relationships with referring physicians and attract new patients by being where people are.
Use these sites help you establish professional contacts, find fellowships and form research partnerships. An added benefit to having an online presence on social networking sites is that these sites are crawled by the search engines. This means if you create a good profile page and link it to your medical practice’s Web site, your social networking page can help you rank higher in the search engine results.
Keep it professional and applicable to your audience
It is important that you use your social networking site properly by maintaining a professional image that communicates your brand and expertise. Always be sure to use your social networking tools to communicate relevant, useful and accurate information to your connections. One of the very unique and valuable features of using social networking sites as a medical practice marketing vehicle is that you can seek feedback from your connections. Use your social networking sites to uncover the needs and wants of your target audience so that you can more effectively care for your patients.
Most social networking sites will allow you to control what your audience sees using privacy settings. To keep unnecessary contacts at bay, specify that you are not on the site simply to make friends, but to provide information for patients. Also, never post personal information about your patients or employers. If you use your site to discuss specific clinical matters always maintain your professional code of ethics and uphold HIPAA standards of privacy. Social networking can be leveraged in medical practice marketing to attract new patients, so long as you stick to the correct etiquette.
Rx MD Marketing Solutions provides full service marketing for doctors, marketing for physicians, marketing for cosmetic surgeons, marketing for dermatologists, marketing for aesthetics, marketing for general practice physicians, and marketing for dentists. We are more than medical marketing consultants; we help explode the profits of your medical practice!