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The reasons for implementing social media into a medical practice go much deeper than just a need to get more patients. As we get back to humanizing medicine it is important to remember that social media doesn’t have to be distant. Social media is actually about connecting with others. A good strategy will connect doctors with one another allowing them to share medical treatment ideas, results and research. It also provides a meeting place for patients to connect with one another and share ideas, fears and provide support. Finally, social media allows medical practices to connect with both current and potential patients in a way that is often difficult while they are in the office.

Whether or not a social media strategy is deemed successful can vary from person to person. In fact, most businesses are still having difficulty measuring the return on investment (ROI) for social media. Facebook has helped with this by creating insights. According to Facebook, “Insights provides Facebook Page owners and Facebook Platform developers with metrics around their content. By understanding and analyzing trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, Page owners and Platform developers are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook.”

To improve engagement, notate when your fans are tuning in and the kind of posts they respond to. The time of day and day of the week that you post can alter the engagement fans have with your pages. You should also consider whether or not the content you are posting is interesting to your audience. Patients are more likely to “like” posts that are helpful, rather than the ones that self promote.

The moral of the story is that success does not equal the number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have. Success is best measured by the quality of the interactions you have with those on each page. Taking the steps toward helping patients and the online community by providing insightful medical information is priceless. When executed properly, social media will make a significant impact on your medical practice.