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Attract Patients & Keep Them (Healthy) with Social Media

Submitted by on December 23, 2011 – 10:18 AM

By Katie Matlack

Over on the Software Advice blog, we discussed ways doctors can use social media for a variety of purposes. A recent study reported over half of all doctors use social media because of the benefit it can add for marketing and business development purposes. Beyond this marketing utility, however, some research has shown that getting information from a doctor after an in-person consultation can make patients more likely to take medicine properly and follow their physician’s instructions.

If you’re ready to get social–social networking, that is–you should prioritize knowing your audience and its habits first, before you ever log in to Facebook or LinkedIn. This involves knowing whether or not they even use social media, first of all. Then, you should figure out what they would like to learn about from you. An easy way to find this out might be to leave a quick paper survey in the waiting room for patients to fill out. Once you know that your patients are on social networks and know what kind of information they’d like, you should identify what kind of content will appeal to them:

Think about your audience. For example, if you’re a pediatrician, preteen patients will probably appreciate links to YouTube videos where Justin Bieber talks on the importance of an active lifestyle. But if you’re a physician serving largely college-aged patients, sharing the Bieber video would paint you as out-of-touch.

The next step is to create a schedule and publish regularly. Start out with a Facebook business page that links to your practice website. Then make the move up to LinkedIn, and create a strong profile that accurately reflects your experience, before you reach out to your current and former colleagues. After you’re publishing one to two times each week and feel comfortable at this rate, you can round out your social media presence with a Twitter account. If you approach social media with the intention of creating a two-sided conversation, and you know what kind of information your patients like to hear, you’ll be in good shape.

To read the rest of the article, you can check out the entire post on the Software Advice Blog.


Katie Matlack is the Medical Market Analyst for Software Advice, a company that helps people make choices on electronic medical records software and health information technology.

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