Social Media in Healthcare: Best Practices for Your Practice

Develop an effective social media marketing strategy for your practice, utilizing powerful channels and engaging content to attract new patients.

In today’s digital landscape, an online presence is essential. Social media platforms, in particular, offer an invaluable channel to connect with current patients and attract new ones. This post aims to demystify the process, showcasing how you can utilize social media to enhance your practice's visibility while maintaining a warm and trustworthy demeanor online.

Why Social Media is So Important in Healthcare

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, it’s crucial to understand the role social media plays in Direct Care.

In a recent article written in DPC News by Dr. Douglas Farrago, author of “The Official Guide to Starting Your Own Direct Care Practice”, he mentions:

 "We know DPC is the savior of primary care while the most affordable. We just have to get the word out. [...]
Patients want something better and our job is to educate them constantly about why DPC is their answer.
This makes them WANT us." 

For Dr. Farrago, it is crucial you show patients that your practice is what they want and need - and social media can be a powerful channel for that. If your strategy is well executed, you will be on the road to filling your practice. 

Consider these three main roles that social media plays:

Patient Education 

Social media platforms provide an accessible and engaging medium to share valuable health information, tips, and resources, empowering patients to be informed about their health, reminding them about vaccines, and perhaps suggesting that it is time to schedule the next call.

Thought Leadership

You can utilize social media to enhance your brand visibility, showcase your expertise, and build a reputable online presence. By actively participating in relevant healthcare discussions and sharing valuable insights, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry, gaining credibility and trust among patients and peers alike.

Community Engagement: 

Social media also facilitates the creation of online communities centered around specific health topics or conditions, enabling patients to connect with others facing similar challenges, share experiences, and provide support.

Social Media Channels

Each social media platform has its own set of strengths and caters to different content formats and audience demographics. It might be beneficial to have a presence on multiple platforms, but remember: the key is to choose platforms that align with your content strategy and where your target audience spends their time. 

Here’s a breakdown of some channels you can leverage, along with some ideas about what you can do in each one:

1. Instagram 

Instagram remains a popular choice due to its wide user base. With its visual-centric approach, it is ideal for sharing images and videos.

  • Stories & Reels: Share behind-the-scenes glimpses or quick health tips through Stories and Reels.
  • Posts: Share images or videos with informative captions to educate your audience.

2. Facebook

Facebook is a versatile platform allowing you to share posts, images, videos, and even host live Q&A sessions.

  • Groups: You can create a community around your practice by forming a group where patients can share experiences and support each other.
  • Pages: Maintain a professional page for your practice to share informative content and practice updates.

3. LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is a professional networking site where you can share more formal, industry-related content. It can be an excellent channel to start conversations with employers.

  • Networking: Connect with other clinicians, employers, and engage in professional discussions.
  • Articles: Write and share articles discussing recent advancements in direct care or other relevant topics.

4. YouTube 

A haven for video content, YouTube allows you to share longer, more in-depth videos.

  • Educational Videos: Create videos explaining common medical conditions, treatment options, or preventative care measures.
  • Patient Testimonials: Share video testimonials from satisfied patients to build trust.

5. X (Ex Twitter)

Xr’s real-time nature makes it a great platform for sharing timely information.

  • Tweets: Share short, crisp updates or information.
  • Threads: For more detailed information, threads allow you to string together several tweets.|

Crafting Quality Content 

The heart of any successful social media strategy is content. Here’s how to ensure your content resonates with your audience: 

Educational Material

Share articles, infographics, or videos that offer medical advice, explain common conditions, or provide wellness tips. Ensure the material is easy to digest and devoid of medical jargon. 

Example: Dr. Gregory Reid Lancaster, CEO of ETHOS Modern Medicine, shared five simple ways to improve your health today in the video below.

Human Stories

Share stories of how your practice has positively impacted your patients’ lives. It’s about creating relatable content that humanizes your practice. 

Example: Dr. Dolapo Babalola, CEO of Living At Your Finest Wellness, shared Wellness and Exercise Advice in a very engaging way in the video below, highlighting that one of the unique aspects of her practice is that she goes for a walk with each patient. 

On her Instagram, you can see Dr. Babalola has a unique and cheerful way of communicating. Finding your tone of voice helps you bring authenticity to your videos and feel more at ease. 

Special Dates

Identify special dates related to your industry or niche, such as World Health Day or Mental Health Awareness Month, and create content that aligns with the themes and messages of these events. 

Example: During Pinktober, Dr. Jacinta Anyaoku, CEO of Hibiscus Health, shared advice related to preventive exams like mammograms. 

Set aside time, perhaps weekly or bi-weekly, to plan and schedule your content. Having a content calendar will help in maintaining a consistent posting schedule.

Remember, quality over quantity is the mantra. It’s better to have well-thought-out, valuable posts that resonate with your audience than to post daily with less impactful content. Social media is about building relationships and providing value, and a consistent, thoughtful approach will go a long way in achieving these goals. 

Posting and Monitoring Frequency

The frequency with which you should engage on social media largely depends on the goals, the nature of the practice, and the resources available. However, maintaining a consistent presence is crucial for building and nurturing an online community. 

Here are some general guidelines: 

Regular Posting

Aim for a steady stream of content to keep your audience engaged and informed. This could range from three posts per week to once a day depending on your capacity. 

Daily Monitoring 

It's advisable to check your social media accounts daily to respond to comments, messages, and to interact with your audience. Prompt responses foster a sense of community and show that you value your audience’s engagement. 

Analytics Review 

Regularly review the performance of your posts and interactions to understand what's resonating with your audience. This could be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. 

Social media, when used effectively, can be a powerful tool for you to enhance your practice’s online visibility and foster a stronger relationship with your patients. By creating engaging, educational content and fostering a two-way conversation, you can build a thriving online community around your practice.

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