By Ashley Watson
While many doctors are using social media to educate patients and promote their practice, there are still quite a few practitioners out there who aren’t fully aware of the advantages of social media. Or they don’t think it will fit into their already overloaded schedules. Posting useful information on Facebook and Twitter a few times a day is not a lot of time to invest for the reward.
And you don’t have to be an online marketing expert or understand SEO (search engine optimization) to use social media effectively. Even if you aren’t looking to expand your practice, there are plenty of reasons to connect to your patients through social media. At DaVinci® Laboratories, we know that your patient’s health is your top priority, so that’s why we are providing a two-part blog post on the importance of social media and which platforms to use. This week, we’ll discuss the many benefits of using a variety of social media platforms for your practice.
Why Should I Use Social Media?
One of the reasons doctors have yet to tap into social media’s full potential is that they may not see a reason to use it in the first place. But this puts doctors and their practice at a disadvantage for a number of reasons. Reaching a large audience to discuss wellness and general health topics is one of those reasons.
According to eMarketer, the number of people who use social networks in 2013 is expected to increase 18% from last year. This number includes social media users around the world, and at that rate, the total number of users is estimated to be 2.55 billion by 2017. That’s an enormous audience, and doctors would be missing an equally enormous opportunity to educate and connect to people outside the medical world.
As discussed in a recent blog post, there’s a lot of misinformed medical advice on the Internet. Self-diagnosis via the Internet is a growing concern for health practitioners, along with being a sensitive and difficult topic to discuss with patients. With the vast number of blog posts, articles, and even Facebook posts written by people who lack medical authority, it can be easy to confuse legitimate literature from bunk.
Posting a well researched, concise blurb about antioxidants or the issues with too much sugar in the diet can help authenticate Internet use – because people aren’t going to stop using it for medical information. Doctors who aren’t utilizing social media could be adding to the problem.
If you are using social media to educate people, however, it’s important to post the same information on multiple platforms. In other words, not everyone will use Google +, but some people will use it instead of Facebook. But you don’t have to use every single tool, app, or join every social media site to do this. All you need are the basics. Next week, we’ll cover some basic tips and what you need to know to get started.