How to Utilize Social Media in the Medical Industry
Tips for Handling Social Media Followers and Subscribers
Almost every profession today can benefit in some way from social media. Long gone are the days of US postal mailed brochures and yellow page advertising. Social media, from Twitter to LinkedIn, are the pathways that a young professional starting to out to an established business already in place will use to drive folks to their neck of the woods.
But if you are a busy professional, most likely managing these outlets can be a daunting task. In the medical especially, a practitioner already overloaded with cases, patients and the like does not need another thing on their plate. Social media should make business come in, but not sacrifice the sanity of the user. Some tips for handling your followers and subscribers of social media for your medical practice are as follows:
A virtual assistant is a very easy way to manage this task. While it’s hard to ask an already overworked receptionist or office manager, and not cost effect necessarily to bring onboard more staff, hiring a virtual assistant whose only task is to manage your social media platforms can be a very smart move. No overhead, no added corporate expense, virtual assistants are contract employees that often times are already doing this work for others, so why not let them also do this for you? They work out of the home, have their own equipment, you only pay for the actual work performed. Even if the cost is more than you would pay an employee in your brick and mortar building, you have no obligations other than paying them to perform one specific task. And by it being managed every day specifically by this outside source, the work will be done and not get pushed behind other more pressing matters.
Set Aside A Block of Time
If you prefer to keep managing of your social media outlets in house, or do them yourself even, the key to managing them and not letting them run you is to schedule the upkeep of them as you would any other meeting during the week. Look at social media, the entire ball of wax, as its own entity. Set aside a block of time to dedicate to updating twitter, writing a newsletter you will post on Facebook, or other such work, then do nothing else but that. Likewise, do not get lured into updating anymore than that. You could possibly write a facebook post every few hours, but if that is taking you away from the work you are trying to do, then your patients will suffer and ultimately so will your practice. Schedule the time, and once the “meeting” is over, be done with it until the next week. As you do this more often, you will get better and better at upkeep of the sites quickly and effectively.
Set Up a Strong Site and Keep Good Notes
In the first weeks or months of managing your social media sites, you may find a bit more work will be required. Getting your pages, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter set up professionally and having all the information you need takes a bit of time and work. But don’t expect perfection right away. Get the mainframe up and running and then for the next few weeks, take good notes of what is working and not. If LinkedIn is getting no action but Facebook is cranking, then concentrate on updating the latter more. Network with other medical professionals as to what sites worked best for them and don’t try to use them all. Note what works, set aside what does not, and remember the ultimate goal: to bring you more interest in what you do and drive in business.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Remember your ultimate goal in social media is to get the word out about what you do and how well you do it. Use the sites that are free at first to get your feet wet and learn to use SEO articles and posts to drive people searching the web to you. A few well placed newsletters or articles can make a world of difference. And if they are are free sites, no paid advertisements, your mistakes cost you nothing but a bit of time. Also, comment on places you have searched out as well with a link in your comment to your site. Another free outlet that can drive business. Write a generic response that could fit into a lot of comment boxes and copy/paste it in multiple places. Soon you will have more and more social media connections coming your way simply from these comments that stay in the mix forever.
Social media is an amazing tool. Just make sure the tool is used to make your life better not the other way around. With a little trial and error you will find what works for you!
About the Author: Vanessa Wilkins writes all about the medical sector. Her recent work is on the Top Online MPH Degrees.