Social media helps attract new patients, build practice loyalty — 5 insights

Physicians should be active on multiple social media platforms to build a trustworthy brand, according to a Medscape article.

Here's what you should know:

1. Social media can be an invaluable tool for physicians to build a brand, demonstrate expertise, collect reviews and educate patients; but to accomplish any of these tasks, practices need to have a social media presence.

2. Medscape's Managing Editor of Social Media Liz Neporent said, "If you are going to do social, you have to know what your purpose is. When you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. The same is true for social."

3. Social media needs to be thought of as an integrated marketing strategy. Instead of thinking of social media as a standalone entity, think of it as a recruiting tool — every like, comment or post on your page works as an independent referral.

4. Having patients like your page is an important aspect of social media. Dallas-based Genecov Orthodontics' Office Manager Tara Hudson said the practice uses social media to hold contests, post about staff accomplishments, share community events the practice is sponsoring and share "lots of smiling patients." The results have been noticeable.

She said, "The average person thinks a doctor is a doctor is a doctor. They assume the doctor has a certain skill level. They want to know who you are as a person, what makes you different. Social media helps you get that across."

5. As to what platform you should be investing in, an all-around approach is desirable, but efforts should be microfocused to ensure a practice is reaching an audience that'll most likely utilize its services.

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