10 ways doctors can make the most of social media

Phanish Chandra
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There is no denying the magnetic allure of social networking sites. 66% of all the people using internet worldwide, are present on social media.

Medical professionals, albeit being late adopters, are now increasingly accessing social media for both personal and professional reasons. Doctors’ presence on social media, if managed effectively, can lend them a solid online reputation. Additionally, it can increase their digital footprint. This will contribute to their offline growth and success.

Here are some tips on how can doctors optimize their social media presence...

Be Active

One post every few months does not count as ‘being present’ on social media. Passively viewers of others’ online activities will not help you meet your social media objectives. Active participation through regular updates that invite discussions, sharing of interesting articles posted by others, and making informative comments on their updates are vital for building an online image. Try to be aware of the trending topics, upcoming medical events and health awareness days and plan your social media activities well in advance.

Pick the Right Platforms

As doctors it is extremely important to choose the right kind of platforms. Networks that do not guarantee privacy and data security should be strictly avoided. When professional advancement is the objective, it is advisable to join exclusive doctor-only communities or professional groups where peers and seniors in the medical field come together to exchange ideas and collaborate on innovative treatment approaches. It is advisable to register with platforms that restrict membership to those belonging to a particular treatment system.

Be A Part of the Right Circle, Widen Such Circles

Doctors are extremely busy professionals. They cannot let an all-inclusive platform drain their time and energies. It is essential to carefully pick only the relevant forums and discussion groups so that they add value to your practice and give you time for other pursuits. Once you have found the right circles, widen your audience by sharing interesting and informative content.

Know Your Audience

Clinicians must make a clear distinction as to whether their audience is comprised of patients or fellow professionals. The content needs will vary according to the type of audience. Every piece of content should be customized as per the targeted segment. Only then will it make the desired impact and drive engagement.

Carefully Choose Your Post Topics

A great advantage of online media is that they eliminate physical barriers and widen your real-time reach. On the other hand, their broad accessibility and informal nature make it necessary for the medical community to stay extra cautious while using them.

Medicolegal aspects and patient privacy issues need to be considered while discussing specific cases over social media. Clinical advice should not be given to individual patients. However, generic information on health and medicine may be shared to educate your network. Care should be taken to limit online interactions with patients to professional purposes.

Ensure Correctness of Content

Make sure your profile information is consistent across platforms. Always keep your profile updated to reflect your latest certifications/achievements. Doctors are expected to maintain high levels of accuracy and perfection in all their dealings and social media is no different. Therefore, every update should be carefully scrutinized for correctness before being shared. Content accuracy will lend credibility and create a great reputation.

Use Mixed Content Format

Make your content interesting by using a mix of text, audio and video. It has been proven that human brain processes visuals much faster than text. Videos also allow you to convey the various nuances of your communication that plain text can’t. Webinars are an effective mode of imparting educational information.

Update and Upgrade Yourself

Social media platforms for professional networking help you to connect with the right people in your field of work. They educate you on the current medical practices, medico-legal issues and healthcare policy guidelines. You can also seek clinical guidance from your seniors and specialists on rare or complex cases. Online CMEs are a great way to educate oneself in order to deliver the best healthcare possible.

Establish Yourself As a Thought Leader

To enjoy more engagement and audience, it is necessary to publish insightful articles on your field of expertise. In case of the newest developments, throwing your two cents in while the topic is trending will give you a unique, early-mover advantage, positively impacting your online and offline persona.

Use Tools to Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Insights

The biggest benefit of social media is that it is extremely interactive. The response to your online activities can be measured in terms of traffic as well as mindsets. Rather than merely sharing updates, feedback from the audience should be sought through surveys and polls. This will not only break the monotony, but also make the audience feel valued and interested. Most importantly, it will allow you to assess their sentiments and opinions.

When used effectively, social media can be a powerful tool for medical professionals who are striving to adapt to the digital era.

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