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Social media’s ever growing presence has created a sense of need among many medical practices. The need that is felt is to have an online presence because that is what the competition is doing. While it is important to keep stay tuned in to the competition, it cannot be the only reason to implement a social media marketing strategy. Here are five tips to determine if you are ready for social media in your medical practice.

  1. You have at least one staff member (or outside source) who can manage your social media strategy. If you are going to take the time to implement a social media strategy, you must also invest the time and resources to continually update it. It is bad for business to set up a Facebook account and ignore it. Social media marketing takes time and effort. Expecting a staff member to write posts between patients is unrealistic. It is also important to that your team is up to speed on the HIPAA rules to social media marketing so you do not put your practice or patients at risk. Set up alerts so you know when people are talking about you. It looks very professional to respond to a post shortly after one is made!
  2. You have developed a social media marketing strategy and goal. For social media to be a success, you must have a reason to implement it. As stated previously, it is not wise to implement social media just to keep up with the competition. The most effective medical practices that use social media do so to educate and engage with their patients online.
  3. You have the patience to let it work. If you want to grow quickly, social media marketing is not necessarily the best option. Social media marketing is however, an excellent way to reach out not only to your local community, but also the world. Patients all over can find the useful information posted by your practice. This is important especially when there is an abundance of misinformation available online. By inserting your medical opinion online, your posts can potentially be found when someone is searching for information on a procedure, illness or product. That is priceless, not only to your practice, but to the person searching online.
  4. You welcome feedback. Whether you participate in social media or not, the Internet has become a place for information sharing. Patients are posting about medical providers online and as a medical provider, you have the ability to join in the conversation. By keeping a pulse on what is being said online about you or your practice, you can take a proactive stance. If a negative review is made, it can be diffused by a simple professional response from the practice.
  5. You are prepared to join in the conversation too. Yes, it is easier to delegate the social media responsibility to a staff member. You will be more likely to succeed though if you join in the conversation too. This does not mean you are the only one posting in your practice. This does mean though that you join in the conversation. Let your public know you are listening and engage with them. Social media should be a shared effort. Position your practice as a team that can also be found online. This will help strengthen patient relationships and build camaraderie.