Written by Catherine Hales for Doctify
Social media is tricky. Whether you are using it for your own personal reasons or to build a brand, each different platform seems to follow different rules.

As a medical practitioner, using these platforms can be even more challenging. What is acceptable to post? Do people want to book with a doctor, dentist or medical professional with a strong social media presence?

Here at Doctify, we believe the key is learning how to use each platform appropriately and to its maximum potential. In this article, we will be covering the content side of social media, rather than paid but we will keep you posted with an article about paid social media soon!

Facebook

With over 1.2 billion users a day, Facebook is still one of the most important platforms for those trying to build a social media presence.

First things first – you need to create a page for your practice. If you’re an individual, you can still set up a page that is different from a normal, personal Facebook profile. This will be linked to your personal account and managed from there but will have no public affiliation with it.

Next, invite everyone you know to like it! You want to spread the word. Like relevant pages yourself to let people know you’re out there. It’s a network – you can’t get anywhere without making connections.

In terms of content, Facebook is a great place for sharing news. Have you just had your practice refurbished? Did you win an award? Have you recently installed some cutting edge equipment? All these announcements, along with photos to catch people’s attention, are perfect for Facebook.

Always bear in mind that “many use Facebook as a personal network to connect with their friends or loved ones. Your brand needs to fit into this atmosphere naturally in order to keep people interested in what you’re posting.” Make your posts personal and informative.

And remember, the more your content is shared, liked and commented on, the more it will appear on people’s news feeds.

Twitter

Twitter has always been an opinionated place. However, these days even the President of the United States uses it to convey his (somewhat alarming) thoughts. That should demonstrate how powerful this platform can be.

Although the character limit was recently upped from 140 to 280 characters, it still requires concise, catchy content designed to be read and absorbed quickly. “Twitter generates over 175 million tweets daily and allows you to share quick pieces of information and photos in an effort to drive people back to your site or landing pages.”

This means you need content that will stop people in their tracks. This is where having a blog or perhaps articles hosted on another site such as the Doctify Journal or Medium can be incredibly useful. These can be clicked through to from your tweet.

For medical practitioners, the key is to think about who your audience is; are you speaking to patients or to other specialists? Keep that in mind when you write your tweet and choose which blog posts to link to. “Try using quotes, statistics, or questions related to the link you’re tweeting as a way to people wanting to read more. Incorporate photos, polls, gifs, or even short videos.”

Twitter is also a great tool for communication on a more one to one scale. Reply to tweets, retweet your followers and favourite things you’ve found interesting or inspirational. With healthcare, there is obviously an element of confidentiality so the customer service aspect of Twitter doesn’t really apply.

Top tip: “Hashtags (#) are a key tool on Twitter. These tags allow you to reach a wider audience than just your followers by getting involved in existing conversations.”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has always been a slightly different proposition from the rest. It is designed for business and professionals, rather than for connecting with friends or brands.

“Users mainly go to LinkedIn to showcase their job experience and professional thoughts, making it one of the more important platforms to use for those in B2B.”

This platform is good for sharing your expertise as a professional. For those in healthcare, this can be an opportunity to spread technical knowledge to peers and colleagues. The best way to find the right audience on LinkedIn is by joining groups made up of people from the same industry as you.

Instagram

Instagram has developed a reputation for selfies and pictures of people’s breakfasts but don’t let it fool you:  65% of the top performing posts on Instagram contain products. This means it can be an effective tool leveraged by brands and professionals alike.

There are obviously some specialties that will lend themselves to the photo sharing site better than others. Nutritionists often use the platform to great effect to build their personal brands.

The pictures you share are obviously of great importance and it is just a fact of life that orthopaedic surgeons will not have the same range of images to choose from as a dermatologist or nutritionist.

As a result, Instagram is probably the least important platform for most medical professionals, although sometimes being part of an organisation that uses it can also be useful. At Doctify, we use Instagram to share the blog articles written by our specialists, carefully choosing images that will appeal to our followers.

 


 

For more information about making social media work for you, please contact us at catherine@doctify.co.uk