Health Care and The Online Space: How Social Media Is Proving Successful For Physicians

Health Care and The Online Space: How Social Media Is Proving Successful For Physicians

According to a recent study by the American Osteopathic Association that surveyed 2,204 American adults, “54% of millennials and 42% of all adults either are or would like to be friends with or follow their health care professional on social media.”

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This may be surprising to some in the medical field who have yet to venture into the world of social media. While hesitant to join the explosion of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in the past due to grey areas under HIPAA and FDA regulations, doctors now have a better understanding of how to tow the line for incredible connections, new business, stronger patient communication and building a better medical brand. They are embracing social media and understanding it to be an effective tool for sharing important medical information.

Here’s why your medical practice or hospital should consider a healthy social media presence:

Introducing Your Practice On Social

Choosing Familiar Faces

Much like the resurgence in loyalty for the local mom and pop restaurants or retail businesses, patients looking for physicians or healthcare facilities are attracted to the idea of a familiar face. In that regard, social media acts as the ideal bridge to connect patients to their current or potential physicians. How can this be done? Introduce staff members, humanize them in a light that is uncommon for an industry known for being sterile and cold. Doing so will help to build both trust and loyalty to a particular physician or practice as a whole.

Promoting Positivity and Recognition

Unfortunately in today’s world of instant everything, instant negativity is also a possibility. More times than not, people only review companies to complain, often casting the attention on the few instead of the majority who enjoyed their experiences.

In the medical industry, this too is common, which is why it’s important to diligently work to promote positive events or experiences with each doctor or office.

Ways to do this include:

  • Highlighting a recent award or notable recognition on social channels.

  • Capturing referrals or testimonials, specifically on video to use on Facebook or Instagram stories (all with the written consent of the patient, of course.)

  • Use social channels to share patient success stories.

Educating Patients

While there’s no doubt that social media is overwhelmingly used by a younger generation, there should be no surprise that baby boomers (and sometimes older) are embracing it, as well, to stay in touch with family, view entertainment and find information on topics relevant to them. In fact, a study by Mature Marketing Matters showed that “43% of baby boomers are starting to leverage social media for healthcare-related information.” If 43% of the most hesitant or technology challenged generation is utilizing social media to learn more about health concerns, it’s likely that their generational successors are tenfold.

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For medical professionals, this provides an incredible teaching opportunity via social channels to inform their patients while also working to stand apart as an expert in their field. Using social media to inform and educate patients about new cancer treatments, FDA drug and procedure approvals, infant safety, and much more allows doctors to connect with their patients through the convenience of a mobile, laptop or desktop device.

Specialty Audiences

There are no shortages of diseases or handicaps in our world, and unfortunately, when dealing with these particular issues life can feel lonely. Thankfully, however, the Internet provides access to people around the world fighting similar battles through forums, social pages and private groups, such as Facebook and LinkedIn Groups.

For specialty physicians or practices, this is a rare opportunity to connect with their target audience and help close the gap with patients, provide expertise and education or simply to show unity during challenging times. For social channels that utilize hashtags- which is essentially all of them at this point- it allows you and your audience to connect and follow specific threads or topics together. Take for example the #TTC (Trying...Conceive), which can be used to find/link an entire community of women with infertility issues aiming to connect with/support one another. Other examples include: #EndCancer, #GetYourBellyOut, #ScoliosisStrong- all bringing together and empowering patients and their families to join in the conversation.

Platforms To Use

Similar to other industries, not every social channel will be appropriate or useful for connecting patients with their physicians. It’s fairly obvious that LinkedIn is popular with medical professionals but more for networking amongst colleagues, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. While Instagram is widely popular for lifestyle, food, interior design- it’s becoming more and more popular and effective in the healthcare space. Physicians, hospitals and medical practices are finding success one picture at a time by posting captivating photos and videos of procedures, patient testimonials (with consent of course), before and after shots - all with the goal of educating followers. The same effective strategy can be applied to Facebook- every practice should have an official Facebook business page for search engine purposes- and make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to verify your business with Facebook. Just like Instagram, Facebook provides a physician or medical practice an opportunity to educate and connect with patients.

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One area of social media where physicians should remain cautious is accepting friend requests from patients. Some larger healthcare organizations have policies in place prohibiting or discouraging their employees from connecting with patients using their personal social accounts. It’s always wise to check with administration on social media policies regarding online presence and staff interaction.

Other platforms such as, YouTube and Twitter are quickly becoming more relevant as long as they stay within HIPAA guidelines. Twitter is effective by tweeting out stats, interesting medical facts or inspiration in 280 character bursts throughout the day- including relevant hashtags.

And finally, thanks primarily to the fact that “video is king” online, YouTube has become a mecca for people looking for information on illnesses and their treatments. YouTube provides surgeons a platform for patients to watch procedures, which is beneficial in providing education and an understanding of what to expect for those waiting to undergo similar treatments.

No matter how a practice chooses to get started on social media, the most important step is to get started. Still, we understand that most doctors and health care providers have less time than others to spend hours posting and engaging on social media- let alone optimizing their accounts for the most visibility. While some may choose to go at it alone, it’s recommended to utilize a marketing firm has the tools, experience and knowledge to successfully position a physician or practice front and center with their community and patients- all the while remaining HIPAA compliant. Hint Hint….MOXY Company. :)

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

In the last 10 years social media has absolutely exploded- and with it, the unique opportunity to reach thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of possible new customers  faster than ever before. Choosing the right social media network (aka platform) to market your business, however, can be a daunting process. With so many options to choose from- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIN, Pinterest, etc.- knowing which to use and which to steer clear of is half the battle. According to Social Media Examiner’s annual marketing industry report, “Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were the top three platforms used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack by a long shot.”

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Are you in the business of attracting Millennials? Does your business cater to professionals in their 30s, 40s and 50s? Or, perhaps you’re the COO of a cancer center. The demographics of your audience-  such as age, sex, occupation, location, etc.- are major deciding factors. To help determine the best platform to invest your time, energy and marketing money into, it’s important to think about two things: 1) Who does your business serve? and 2) What do you want out of a marketing plan?

Here’s why:

Facebook

While it does seem that everyone has a penchant for Facebook- proven by the fact that there are more than 2 billion daily active users on the platform- its still necessary to ask yourself, “Can my business connect with potential customers and will it grow from being advertised there?” If you’re a retail business, then yes! Running ads or capturing potential customer information by using lead generation, is a great place to start connecting with current and potential customers. Facebook is also very effective when utilized as a networking hotspot where you can engage, connect and build relationships. In this instance, online coaches, medical practices, and financial institutions tend to do extremely well on this platform.

Instagram

If you have a product to sell then Instagram will help you get the job done. As an image-centric platform Instagram- conveniently owned by Facebook- helps businesses grow one photo at a time. Now with their ability to insert prices and links inside of the product photos, it’s easier than ever to showcase your interior design business or items from your retail store for your followers to scoop up. Artists, makers and influencers do extremely well growing their businesses on Instagram.

LinkedIn

For companies, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, LinkedIn is where you want to spend your time. While you won’t necessarily make a sale straight from the platform, the lead generation and networking will help you get new business indirectly. It’s also a great space to share articles to establish yourself as an expert in your field while building your brand.

Twitter

Admittedly, Twitter is a monster all of its own and doesn’t play by the normal marketing rules. With only 280 characters to utilize at a time, Twitter is more about having your brand in on the action than it is selling. Twitter is your digital chalkboard. Have an idea or a thought, throw it out there on Twitter and see who catches it. How often to tweet? It’s suggested to post to other platforms every 2-3 days but for Twitter, your business will want to tweet 4-5 times a day- in between of commenting, liking, and following, of course. The real goal for Twitter - growing a healthy following. It’s those people that will become automatic brand ambassadors for your company and if we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that a single tweet can spread like wildfire in the blink of an eye.

Pinterest
Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is actually less of a social network and more of a search engine. And it also happens to be incredibly underutilized by businesses. For those looking to drive traffic to their websites, blogs or online stores, Pinterest is a must. Additionally, you can get valuable insights into what your audience likes and wants to see/ use just by paying attention to what they’re pinning to their own boards.

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So, if you’re all about the numbers, let’s break it down. Check out the most used social media platforms according to Social Media Examiner:

  • Facebook 94%

  • Instagram 66%

  • Twitter 64%

  • LinkedIn 56%

  • Pinterest 27%

At the end of the day, it might take some trial and error to see where your business is getting the biggest value. While engagement is fantastic, it’s ultimately about converting leads, connections, interest and engagement into sales (aka money in the bank) that makes a social platform worth it. Understanding your target audience will go a long way towards narrowing down your platform and from there it’s all about consistency, visibility and authenticity.

Unsure which platform is right for your business, shoot us an email at team@moxycompany.com and let us help you strategize and get started growing your business.

Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for companies looking to connect and engage with both current and prospective clients, while establishing trust and loyalty in their brand. As effective as it is, being on social media is also a double-edged sword: it allows you to have fantastic exposure, while simultaneously giving anyone and everyone an open window to your business, for better or worse. For the raving reviews, it’s obviously a welcomed win- but what happens when something goes wrong? It’s important to remember that for every positive review, there can also come negative ones from unhappy customers, disgruntled former employees and Internet trolls with too much time on their hands. And yet, that’s OK; it’s not about getting the negative comments or reviews- but how you handle and respond to them that can make or break your company’s reputation.

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DON’T IGNORE THEM

Be sure to never remove or ignore negative comments or reviews, even if you are certain that someone is explicitly trying to abuse you or your brand without cause. Ignoring the comments not only has the potential to make the customers even more frustrated, but also shows a lack of care to those waiting to see how you respond. And in fact, negative comments are not necessarily the worst thing in the world; they show that your company is made up of real, everyday people, who just like their customers make mistakes once and a while. Despite this seeming negative, it can actually humanize the company and help to strengthen the brand- as long as it is dealt with accordingly.

STAY CALM, COOL & COLLECTED

So you want to make lemonade from lemons, right? Then, don’t get sour online. We know it’s difficult to not take negative comments personally- especially when you have been working hard to keep your customers satisfied and grow your business- but it is vital to respond in a professional manner. Keep a respectful demeanor and even for the rudest of customers (or trolls) try to keep a sunny disposition. Remember, once it’s online, it’s out there forever, and a company can easily go viral for responding to an issue with grace… or tactlessness.

Thanking people for their opinion, apologizing for inconveniences, and even encouraging private messages are all ways to show you care about the customers opinions and experiences.

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Seek to Address the Issue

Finally, this is your time to shine. Always make a public effort to remedy the issue at hand, showing those paying close attention that you strive for excellence even in the face of adversity. Of course no one likes to have a problem to complain about in the first place but if handled respectfully and in a timely matter, people often appreciate the effort and overlook an isolated situation. In many situations doing so may have saved you a lost sale and helped you to win a lifelong customer.

Is getting negative reviews fun? Never- but we all understand and accept that it’s an unavoidable risk when operating a business, especially with a social presence. That being said, it’s worth the attention and connection with your audience if you can manage the infrequent negativity successfully. Maintaining your online reputation is no easy task - we totally get that. Finding someone with the time and expertise ( hint: MOXY Company ) to keep your online reputation in place is a vital part of any marketing strategy. If you’re not sure where to start, how to monitor your online reputation or how to respond, let us help! Your business can come through with shining colors with the right strategy.

Instagram and Medical Marketing: The Social Media Tool You’re Likely Missing

Instagram and Medical Marketing: The Social Media Tool You’re Likely Missing

We get it- Instagram can seem like it’s only for fashion influencers, celebrities, athletes and flawless photos of your latest foodie feast. And yet, thousands of businesses, including those in healthcare, are beginning to capitalize on the photo-focused platform for authentic growth and unparalleled exposure like never before.

So how exactly are you supposed to marry the serious nature of medicine with a social voice that will attract a following? Here are 4 simple ways to make the most of your Instagram account:

Engage Your Patients

Let’s face it, every business has a specific audience in mind, and with medicine being one of the largest businesses in the world, it should be no surprise that each individual practice or doctor knows exactly who should be their patient.

For plastic surgeons, the typical ideal patient might be women between the ages of 25 and 60; while those specializing in pediatric care would have an audience of men and women with young children. No matter your medical speciality, there are patients who will engage via social media.

Share Exciting Updates

Nothing says social media quite like exciting news to share with the world. From new locations opening to innovative treatments and equipment, if you have something to shout from the rooftops, then Instagram can help you get the job done. Think of social media as the new way to issue a press release.

Try utilizing Instagram Stories for LIVE behind-the-scenes happenings at your office or post photos of incredible before and after results (that could very well be the deciding factor to scheduling a consult!)

Introduce Your Medical Team

We know each doctor has their own individual personality- and a few fun facts to share with the world- but to your patients, they could easily be seen as just another stuffy doc in a white coat- and who wants that?

Let Instagram help you to introduce your team of compassionate and experienced doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants by spotlighting them throughout the year, allowing them to “take over” the practice’s feed for a day or week or holding a Q + A with them on one of the newest tools, IGTV.

And you staff - We all know each and every person that works at your medical office plays an important role in caring for your patients. Give them a shoutout, share pics of them working hard, and most importantly, show their passion for caring for your patients. (with patient consent, of course)

Promote Positive Messaging

At the end of the day, we know there’s a fine line to walk between entertaining the idea of being active on social media and still upholding the guidelines and protocols set forth by the FDA, HIPAA and others. While there are absolutely stricter rules to follow than a celebrity or fashion icon, that doesn’t mean each practice can’t use Instagram to promote themselves and positive messaging at the same time.

Ways to do this include:

  • Highlighting patient stories (with the patient’s permission, of course!)

  • Bringing attention the important causes in your field (Hello Breast Cancer Awareness!)

  • Sharing inspirational quotes to promote mental health and body image acceptance

  • Promoting fundraisers within your organization

We could keep writing with ideas and tips, but the blog post would go on and on. Simply put, use Instagram to tell the story of your medical practice. Why did you go into medicine? Why did you choose the the medical speciality that you did? Inform, educate and provide hope to patients that need your medical care.

Additionally, Instagram has made the radical decision to make it easier for those suspected of being at risk of harming others, themselves or attempting suicide to get help through new reporting and support tools. Unlike any other platform (and IG is owned by Facebook) this allows users to anonymously flag posts that seem dangerous. (WAY TO GO IG!) Instagram is embracing mental health and the need for people to find support or be helped within their platform.

By now it should be overtly obvious that when used right, Instagram can help to break down the daunting barriers that sometimes stand between patients and their doctors- and more importantly, patients and the care they truly need. By welcoming followers behind the curtain of intriguing treatments, demystifying illnesses and introducing revolutionary procedures, doctors can engage new patients, and ultimately, grow their practices right from the convenience of their smartphones.


Are you back picking up your phone to check Instagram? Great. 

If it's time to get your medical practice’s social strategy in order, look up, click on "Contact" above and let us know how we can help you.