Healthcare professionals across the United States are finally starting to recognize the power of social media. According to research from Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group, 26% of clinics and hospitals use social media to engage with existing patients and reach new ones. More doctors are starting to participate in social media as well, but they often make mistakes that can ruin their reputation and damage relationships with patients. Fortunately, they can be easily avoided if you are aware of them. Social Media Mistakes to Avoid Here are some social media mistakes that every doctor needs to avoid at all costs. 1. Using Poor Headers and Images The aesthetics of your Facebook page are very important. Many patients are interacting with your brand for the first time, so using poorly sized headers and low quality images can severely hurt their impression of your business. Make sure all visuals look professional and are properly sized. 2. Blurring HIPAA Regulations Every doctor understands the consequences of breaking HIPAA violations. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to overstep HIPAA regulations by addressing patient ailments over social media. Dr. Dike Drummond wrote a post on The Happy MD and addressed this dilemma in the comment section. Most doctors understand that they are allowed to give educational information over social media, but cannot publicly diagnose patients or address personal concerns without violating privacy laws. The problem is that it can often be difficult to tell where that line is, because it can easily be blurred. You should consider running your social media policy by a lawyer. 3. Focusing Too Much on Quantity of Your Posts The social media sphere is oversaturated with useless posts. Part of the problem is that many brands believe that the success of their social media campaigns hinges on the number of posts that they provide. Unfortunately, doctors are no exception and they often sabotage themselves for a couple reasons:
- They tend to produce lower quality posts when they focus on quantity over quality.
- Consumers often feel like they are being spammed with too many posts, so they tend to unfollow brands that post too regularly.
Put thought into every social media posts. You will gain more traction by focusing on quality over quantity. 4. Being Overly Promotional Doctors often view social media as an advertising platform. Unfortunately, customers don’t share this perception. They are looking for high quality information that helps them better their lives. You need to avoid being too promotional. You will ultimately earn more patients by engaging and offering value. 5. Failing to Respond to Feedback This is one of the biggest mistakes brands make. You need to respond to followers in a timely manner. Otherwise, you come across as disinterested, which will affect their view of your services. Patients understand that you are busy, but you still need to respond as soon as you can. Make a concerted effort to respond to all posts and messages within 24 hours. 6. Not Building Enough of a Follower Base You need a strong follower base to create a viable social media strategy. The best way to build a sustainable follower base long-term is by sharing great content, but you may also need to buy Instagram followers and Facebook likes in the early stages.