Yes, There Is a Place for Social Media Marketing in Your Medical Practice

August 5, 2016

Marketing represents an incredibly important aspect of the business of medicine that doctors often overlook. But implementing social media marketing can be beneficial to your medical practice.

Marketing represents an incredibly important aspect of the business of medicine that doctors often overlook. Physicians, doubling as businessmen and women, are often so focused on patient care (reasonably so), increasing volume, and ensuring payment for their services that they overlook one of the key elements to ensure patients continue to walk through the door: marketing. Today’s business environment offers numerous ways to market — print, paid advertisements, web, and social media to name a few. Of these, social media marketing is one of the most cost effective methods and is quite easy to incorporate into the marketing plan of any practice.

Social Media Marketing — What is it?

Social media has completely taken the world by storm in the last decade. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become incredibly popular, boasting millions of users on each site. Given the enormous spread of social media, it has become a huge resource for marketing for businesses of all sizes, including those in healthcare.

One of the primary reasons social media marketing is so popular is because of the unique opportunity it presents to both businesses and consumers. Business pages on social media allow consumers to connect with their healthcare providers on a different level. It provides a great location for consumers to gain information, communicate with the business as well as promote and share the business if they see fit. A social media presence boosts search engine optimization as well as helps with branding. Social media is easy to set up, manage and use, and far less costly than other methods of marketing.

Social Media Marketing Policies

While social media can be incredibly beneficial to the success of your marketing campaign, it’s very important that office policies be set forth regarding its use. Keep in mind that social media is not private or secure, once an image, video, or post is out on the internet, it stays out there. Given that fact, it’s very important to be conscientious about posting for the business as well as personally. Office staff should NEVER post images of patients and should never contact a patient via a social media message. If a patient messages the page concerning their healthcare, they should be kindly directed to contact the office via the phone or other secure means of messaging.

All office staff, physicians included, should be educated about the importance of respecting patient privacy. Any social media posts about patients, even if they lack specific identifiers, can be deemed HIPAA violations. Any postings about patients, with images of patient or insecure methods of contacting patients, can all warrant an investigation of a HIPAA violation. To be safe, the best policy is that office staff and physicians should NOT post anything at all about patients, whether it is unidentifiable or not.

Social media is a great marketing tool, however, it can also be a dangerous tool if it backfires.

Look out for a post on August 12th covering some social media Do’s and Don’ts to help you start marketing with social media or make it even better.