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Implementing a social media marketing strategy can be a daunting task. Many practices assign the job of managing social media to a staff member who is comfortable using social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There is a considerable difference between running a personal social account and a business account, especially a medical practice due to HIPAA regulations. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition for any staff member.

Tip #1: Get Everyone Involved

Social media is most successful when the entire team is involved. Each staff member should add a link to the social media sites used to their email signature. Posting flyers letting your patients know you have a social account is important. Be sure to invite them to join you online by providing the address to your social sites.

Tip #2: Know the Rules

HIPAA regulations apply online, so it is important to create a social media policy and add it to your pages. You should also ensure that every staff member is made aware of the policy before they are allowed to start posting. The biggest takeaway is that patients should not be talked about online. If a patient asks for advice or thanks you for your great work, acknowledge their comment, but do not confirm that they are a patient. You should also avoid giving medical advice online. A simple response may be, “Thank you for your question, we would be happy to discuss this with you offline. Please call our office at ……..”

Tip #3: Be Yourself

Have staff members sign on as themselves rather than as the practice. This helps the patients better connect with the people posting. This is especially important for the physicians and other practitioners using the site. Fans want to know who they are “talking” to and are more likely to engage if they know they will receive a personal response from a staff member. That said, it is very important to keep the comments succinct and professional. Do not get into long winded conversations with patients online and I suggest not sharing with everyone what you are eating for dinner or doing this weekend unless it has something to do with the practice.

Tip #4: Stay Involved

It is easy to start a social media campaign and then drop it. Many practices quickly discover how labor intensive it is to manage social media accounts, especially when done properly. The strategy is then put on a back burner for months at a time. It always amazes me when I see a company that has a great site with many fans but nothing posted recently. Don’t abandon your fans, keep connected.

Tip #5: Don’t Discount the Amount of Time Devoted to Social Media

As stated above, many practices do not realize how time consuming a comprehensive social media strategy can be. It takes time to research topics to discuss, write blogs, add promo pieces, and engage with fans. The last thing you should do is bombard one staff member with the job of managing social media on their own in addition to other day to day responsibilities. I suggest dividing the responsibilities out among several staff members. This will help keep the content fresh and engaging. If you do not have anyone that can do this for you, MindStream Creative can help.