It’s Time to Get Social

Written by on April 1, 2014 in Features - No comments

Promoting the Right Image for Your Practice

“Staging your practice,” means paying extra attention to perceptions- that which is created by you with your staff and those that are shared by the public of you. Each is important and will be discussed specifically.

Create a persona of the “caring and engaging physician”

A great way to promote a positive image or persona is with social media.  After all, “sharing is caring”.  Engage patients with instructional videos and new information about healthcare.

Social media is a chance to let clients and patients know about medical breaking-news, interesting articles and the results of new studies in your niche, along with maintaining a useful dialogue.  Adding fresh and useful content on a regular basis makes your viewers want to return to your site again and again.  It also establishes you as an authority in your field, puts you ahead of your competition and spreads the word about you in the community.

Encourage your patients to learn from your social media sites for information and general questions but let them know that if there were specific questions pertaining to them, an appointment to the office would be prudent.

Take a look at the HIPAA regulations in the state you dwell in for any restrictions, so that posts that you make are in compliance.  Check out: http://www.hipaasurvivalguide.com/hipaa-regulations/hipaa-regulations.php.  Note that according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, “a covered entity (which applies to healthcare providers) is not responsible for the actions by a patient’s friends or family.”

Social Media Plan

Decide which site is the one you want to dominate.  You will want to set up a profile for both your practice and yourself on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest since your patients are on them.

Don’t forget Google+. 

This year promises to be an active one for this site as it has been slowly refining the services it offers. As we transition into Web3.0, Google+ links people with providers of the services they are searching for and helps to establish business relationships, strengthen branding and increase your visibility.

Content shared on Google+ creates discussion groups, forums and communities, furthering your exposure online and improving online ranking. People within Google communities share experiences and help others, which is perfectly aligned with healthcare.

Resources for Valuable tips in Google+

Here are some communities where you can get valuable tips and solutions to actively market within Google+:

1. http://plus.google.communities/111485579524064707357  (for small business marketing)
2. http://plus.google.communities/116964887426108499397  (Plus your business)
“A community and agency to help you get the most out of using Google+ for business.”
3. https://plus.google.com/communities/100733314294792518208
            (Google Plus for Small Business)  “helping businesses use Google Plus”

Public Perception of You and Your Practice

Even if you don’t personally have a website for yourself or your practice (which is shortsighted these days), you are still on the web.  Your patients rate you on various sites:

  • Vitals.com
  • Healthgrades.com
  • RateMDs.com
  • Yelp

Though most patients still see new physicians by personal referrals of friends and family, people do go onto online sites to check on providers before making appointments.  Once, people checked mainly to see whether a doctor accepted the insurance they participated in, or hospital affiliations.

Now, people are also searching for:

  • Length of time doctors have been in practice
  • Education and training
  • Certifications and licenses
  • And most importantly patient satisfaction
Patient Satisfaction

Information here provides:

  • Wait time to see the doctor
  • Whether the doctor is attentive
  • Pleasantness and efficiency of office staff

Patients can use a star rating (with 5 stars being the best) as well as a review where the patient may state how the decision about the doctor was made or what occurred during the patient-doctor transaction that one was pleased with (or irritated by)

Damage Control

It is important to go in periodically and check these sites out for comments that were made about you.  If they are negative, you can add comments of your own (or flood the site with patients that are enamored of you).

Register your name with Google Alert.  This is a free service that Google provides.  When your name comes up in conversation online or appears on any pages of the web, you will then be notified.  This enables you to read comments about yourself so that you can take action.

Ignoring the situation is very naïve at best.  Damage control is a crucial aspect to “staging your practice”, ensuring that your brand is positive and not marred in any way.

Kudos to You

Many of you are already engaging your patients with social media and making a presence in your community.  Good for you!

For those that would like to be proactive but can’t seem to find the time to do so, it needn’t be a problem.  Simply outsource it!

By Barbara Hales, M.D.
www.thewritetreatment.com

Leave a Comment

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box