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. One way to promote your social media pages is to have each staff member add a link to applicable pages in their email signature. Another way is to post flyers that advertise your social pages. Be sure to invite patients to join you online by providing the address to your social sites and don’t forget to include a reason why they should like your page. They will want to know what’s in it for them.
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. Avoid getting into long winded conversations with patients online and limit social sharing to things that have to do with the practice or services offered by the group.
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 us when we see a company that has a great site with many fans but nothing posted recently. Don’t abandon your fans, keep connected.
Tip #5: Keep a Pulse on the Content Shared
One of the most important take-aways from this blog is to keep your fans engaged by providing information that resonates with them. Keep track of what posts people comment, like and share and include more of what they want. Social media pages are not intended to exclusively advertise the practice. They are supposed to provide a way to share information that is relevant to the practices’ specialty. Tell your fans what is going on in your practice but also include health information that will help them live better lives. With so much misinformation online, your fans will appreciate that the information you share has your stamp of approval.
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 promotional 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. Instead, divide the responsibilities out among several staff members. This will help keep the content fresh and engaging. If you want to leave social media posting to the pros, consider MindStream Creative for the job!