I admit up front that this post reflects my personal opinion. I expect that many healthcare professionals will disagree. I welcome your comments – positive or negative – so Contact me if you feel strongly.
One of the most common reasons I hear doctors and other healthcare providers use for getting involved in social media is growth of their practices. They start tweeting or posting on Facebook. They might even create a personal website to increase the number of patients they see.
While I know that social media can absolutely increase your visibility and subsequently increase your requests for appointments, I have concerns about it being your main social media goal.
Essentially my concern is simple. If you strive mainly to increase your number of patients, and if you track social media success using only that metric, it becomes far too easy to fall into the trap of promoting yourself all the time.
Don’t delegate social media to a marketing consultant
Identify your goals
I see it frequently with surgeons on Twitter, but it happens on websites too. In tweet after tweet, post after post, it’s all about you. You see more patients with a certain condition than anyone in your area. You did the surgery on a famous athlete. You won an award. You, you, you. (Ironically, it’s usually the doctor’s marketing consultant writing the tweets or posts, as they are frequently written in the third person.)
Here’s the problem. People don’t care about you. They don’t care about me. They only care about us in the sense that we can help them.
Instead of promoting yourself, create content that actually helps people.
Instead of posting about how skilled you are at shoulder arthroscopy or that you perform 300 shoulder surgeries per year, educate your readers instead. Write posts about recovery from arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Create short videos about return to sports after labral repair. Record a podcast about prevention of shoulder injuries.
Provide content that educates and benefits the public
That strategy – putting the needs of the reader first – will help grow your practice over time. A 43-year-old female reader might not need your skills at the time, but she might grow comfortable with your way of explaining medical information. When her son dislocates his shoulder playing football, or she develops pain serving in her tennis matches, she might then choose to see you.
Focus your efforts on educating your audience and helping the public. Provide valuable content, and your exposure and practice will grow.