Posted on June 16, 2014

Using Facebook for Your Practice Doesn’t Have to be Intimidating

The thought of mixing social media and patients may seem overwhelming or even scary at first. In fact for many, simply finding their way around Facebook or Twitter can be intimidating. However, there are some very simple things you can do to get your practice present in their social media easily and without spending much time on it. We know doctors are in a tough spot when it comes to social media but it can be truly easy to manage. Here is our simple guide to Facebook for medical practices.

A Buyer’s Journey – Now Online

72% of all healthcare decisions now begin online. Is your practice part of this conversation? With the increased adaptation of social media in recent years, it seems everyone has a Facebook or Twitter, if not both. From young adults to senior citizens, many people not only have and use Facebook but they expect the business and companies they trust and frequent to be present on social media as well. It increases credibility and buyers’ confidence in a product or service when they can see posts about it, in real time, on social media as well as comments from other real people engaging with the company.

Facebook, Oh Facebook

The best thing to do first is to create a Facebook “page” for your medical practice. As a physician or even a nurse you will not want to be adding patients to your personal Facebook page as friends. Plus, with Facebook’s user-terms you will not want to create a regular account for your practice – it must be a business page to avoid violating the Facebook Terms of Service.

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In addition, there are a limited number of friends you can have on a page but there is no limit to the number of people who can “like” your page. One more great reason to use pages on Facebook is that the pages offer analytics and insight into who is engaging with your page, when they are engaging and what interests them. This free and valuable information is there for you when you create a business page.

Finally, if for no other reason than this, your friends and family who are friends with your personal Facebook page (if you have one) will eventually get sick of the promotions and information you would put out about your practice no matter how much they love you. It’s better to keep the two separate and then if they want, your friends and family can always “like” your business page as well.

What is okay to post…and what isn’t?

Generally speaking, you want to educate your patients about your practice and about their health. Sharing things about your office such as what you did to celebrate a particular holiday in the office or that you got a new TV for the waiting room can help patients feel involved and more comfortable with your practice. In addition, general health information from trusted, credible sources is valuable to patients. They could easily Google search how to best treat a dehydration and get a variety of answers from a variety of sources. However, if you post an article about staying hydrated over the summer and what to do if you become dehydrated, your patients can read this and be prepared to stay healthy and protected. Isn’t that what we all want – for our patients to be healthy?

Divide and Conquer

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the thought of social media, here are a few things you can do.

1. Schedule time each week to spend on social media. Don’t spend more than this time.
2. Create a spreadsheet with each day of the week and come up with something you can post that day.
3. If you write the posts ahead of time you can delegate the actual posting to a nurse or assistant.
4. Ask your patients after each appointment to “like” your Facebook page!

Why Bother with Social?

At this point you’re probably thinking that this is a lot of work and probably not worth it. While it’s true that being present in social media can be time consuming and require energy and focus, it is very valuable. In addition to increasing credibility and presence online, there are other benefits. You can not only increase the loyalty of your current patients but, through digital word of mouth, you can acquire new patients too. Plus, you will be educating and empowering your patients to take care of themselves and better their overall health.

A Simple Solution

So what if you don’t have the time, energy, focus, or ability to manage social media for your practice? Another way you can engage with your patients is to use a solution such as Brio Health. This option allows you to find content relevant to your patients and share it across multiple channels (i.e. email, website, Facebook, Twitter) from one central location. Now you have no excuse not to get involved. Brio Health was designed to “mitigate and eliminate the risks for physicians to conduct patient engagement campaigns on the internet.” This means it’s completely HIPAA compliant. Plus, with this single, cloud-based platform, Brio Health offers an easy-to-use tool for physicians to develop and maintain relationships with their patients easily and effectively. Want to try Brio Health for free? Sign up for our beta test group today!

 

 

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