Social Networking for Physicians – Tips and Options

November 15, 2011
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With millions of patients seeking medical help and information on social media and the Internet, it has become imperative for physicians to connect with existing and potential patients as well as the medical community across the globe using social media and other means of electronic communication. A study by the online physician learning collaborative QuantiaMD in August 2011 indicates that nearly all physicians in the United States are social media users.

With millions of patients seeking medical help and information on social media and the Internet, it has become imperative for physicians to connect with existing and potential patients as well as the medical community across the globe using social media and other means of electronic communication. A study by the online physician learning collaborative QuantiaMD in August 2011 indicates that nearly all physicians in the United States are social media users. However, the study also reveals that most physicians engage in social networking for personal purposes only, appearing rather reluctant to adopt it for enhancing professional interactivity and building a web presence for their medical brands.

Social Media Tips for Physicians

Social networking can help physicians manage their online reputation. Signing up for a static profile on Facebook or Twitter does not make for an active social media presence as it contributes zero value to doctor-patient relationships or the physician’s positioning in the medical and patient community. A good social media strategy must consolidate your presence and identity over a number of social media communities.

Here are some tips on how physicians can improve their social media presence to build a strong online medical brand for themselves.

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Content Creation – Blogs and Social Media Sites

Social media websites give you access to a valuable network of prospective patients looking for credible medical information. Naturally, the best way to reach out and connect with them is to provide the information they need. Creating and publishing medical content like your medical experiences, breakthrough cases, innovative medical practices and other crucial medical information on your website, blog and also guest medical blogs can help you create a reputation of credibility and goodwill.

Posting links to such exclusive and valuable medical content on social media websites and other medical blogs will boost your visibility and reach. Over time, such consistent and organized social media linked blogging will make you a trusted name in the medical community, helping you position yourself as an influential thought leader in your specialization.

Informative Videos

Another effective way to engage patients is by posting informative and educational medical videos on You Tube and similar sites. Conversion rates from You Tube are found to be about 20% higher than search engines. A good social media strategy will include this tool to achieve greater reach, link building and visibility.

Social Media Attitude

Social media plays an important role in influencing opinions and perceptions. With so much information available on the Internet, patients often resort to online medical communities to conduct background checks, read patient reviews and testimonials before consulting a physician. Doctors must therefore maintain strict social media etiquette and decorum at all times. Upholding a positive attitude towards patients and other professionals in the network, willingness to help, answer questions, address concerns and being accessible can go a long way in building strong social media relationships as well as your medical brand and practice.

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Social Networking Options for Physicians

Apart from general social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, specialized physician communities are a great way to connect with other professionals in the industry. 

Some popular social media sites for physicians are DocGlobal, Sermo, Ozmosis, DoctorsHangout.com, MomMD, DoctorNetwork and StudentDoctor.net.

These medical networking circles help you interact with the international medical community. They are also a valuable resource for critical medical information and research.

Patient communities are also very effective in leveraging social media to encourage patient-doctor communication. Even though they are not very popular with physicians as compared to other social networking platforms, practitioners must use these forums to learn about their patients and inform themselves about patient concerns, needs and healthcare requirements and utilize these to improve the quality of care.