The beauty of Twitter lies in its simplicity and speed of delivery which facilitates the dynamic sharing of ideas and collaboration in healthcare. Doctors, nurses, health researchers and patients are using the social network to educate and build a global healthcare community. While there is undoubtedly a lot of noise in the constant stream of tweets (every second, on average, a staggering 6,000 tweets are tweeted), Twitter can be better managed by using some tools and techniques to tame it. In today’s article I will share with you ten tips to engage effectively and get more out of the Twitter healthcare experience.
#1 Optimize Your Twitter Profile
Many healthcare professionals are using Twitter as a means of establishing themselves as authorities in their field. Your Twitter profile is the first place someone will look and it should reflect your credibility. Take some time to create a professional bio with a suitable profile picture. Use a close-up headshot of yourself or the logo of your business. Twitter has recently changed how your profile image appears so that you now have more options to brand your profile. Add some relevant keywords to your bio to help people find you. You may also wish to add a medical disclaimer which states that you do not offer medical advice through social media, and/or the views you express are yours and not that of your employer (as the example below shows).
Bonus Tip: Read What The New Twitter Profile Means For Healthcare Marketing for more ideas.
#2 Join The Healthcare Conversation
Listen, engage and share in the healthcare conversations most relevant to you. You will find a wealth of knowledge and an opportunity to contribute your expertise through following health related hashtags. Some of the best conversations happen through the medium of Twitter chats. These are pre-arranged chats which include a predefined #hashtag which links the tweets together in a virtual conversation.
Bonus Tip: You will find a full list of health hashtags via Symplur’s Hashtag Project. Choose the one most relevant to you and join the chat.
#3 Engage With Your Followers
Twitter is about conversation; it’s about making it more about your audience than you. Mention other users by their Twitter username (preceded by the @ sign) in your Tweets. Retweet (preceded by RT) interesting updates from your followers. Help keep your followers up to date by retweeting the latest journal articles and healthcare trends.
Bonus Tip: Use a tool like Commu.it to build and manage your Twitter relationships.
#4 Add Health Related Hashtags To Your Tweets
Hashtags are a tool to make words more searchable; they help you connect with users who have similar interests. To create a hashtag, place # before a word. A hashtag on Twitter is a very popular way of creating and monitoring a conversation around a particular health related topic.
Tip: Don’t use more than 2 hashtags per tweet. Tweets with more than two hashtags get 32% LESS engagement.
#5 Tweet Responsibly
Social media have blurred the distinction between personal and professional identities, challenging health care professionals to redefine professionalism in the digital age. The professional standards expected of health care professionals do not change because you are communicating through social media. Rather social media presents you with new circumstances to which the established principles still apply. Think before you tweet. Anything you post online may be seen by an unintended audience, and once it is online, it creates a lasting digital footprint. Be professional at all times; avoid flippancy or irreverence which may be misconstrued.
Bonus Tip: Click here to learn more about how to maintain your professionalism on social media.
#6 Be Personable
While it’s important to maintain ethical and professional standards, don’t be afraid to show a little of the person behind the title.
#7 Tweet More Images
Photos and video have become more prominent with the latest Twitter redesign. The Twitter scheduling tool, Buffer, released data which shows that adding photos to tweets results in significantly more engagement than text only tweets. Tweets with photos get 18 percent more clicks and 150 percent more retweets, so start adding more pictures to your tweets.
#8 Tweet Less
You may have 140 characters at your disposal to say what you want, but this doesn’t mean that you must use them all. Twitter science shows that tweets with less characters are retweeted a lot more, with tweets with under 60 characters seeing 1/3 the engagement of longer tweets (Source: Simply Measured).
#9 Create Twitter Lists
Twitter lists allow you to listen to relevant conversations, identify influencers and filter out the noise so that you can focus on the people and topics you care about. Creating a list is easy – simply click the List link on your profile, click Create A List, enter the name of your list, a short description, and select if you want the list to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list) and finally, click Save List. You can find interesting people to follow by checking out the healthcare lists of others on Twitter.
Bonus Tip: Use List.ly to supercharge your Twitter lists.
#10 Schedule Your Tweets
The internet is global and if you want the spread of your content to reach further than your own backyard, you need to hit multiple time zones. Scheduling your healthcare tweets allows you to reach followers when they are most likely to be online (even if you aren’t there at the same time) and allows you to maintain a regular and consistent online global presence.
Bonus Tip: Click here to learn more about how best to schedule your tweets.
So there you have it – ten of my best tips to manage Twitter more effectively. There are plenty more tips and tecniques which I will be sharing with you through Beyond the Buzz, so be sure to stay tuned. In the meantime, do you have any tips you can share on how you use Twitter for healthcare?