As you know if you’ve been reading this column for any period of time, I would love to see more physicians and healthcare professionals communicating online. In my experience, it has been challenging to convince most doctors of the value of social media and online communication. Once they start trying, though, many tell me that they have been pleased with the results.

So I am always interested when healthcare providers tell me that they “tried social media” and that “it doesn’t work.” When I ask these frustrated physicians to describe their efforts – website creation, Twitter, Facebook, etc. – their stories usually have three common themes.

So here is my list of these common reasons your online efforts are not “working,” with one very important caveat to remember at the end of the post.

You aren’t consistent.

You don’t publish blog posts on a regular basis. You don’t interact with the public and other healthcare professionals on Twitter or Facebook consistently. Writing three articles one week and then not writing for a month won’t work. Twitter and Facebook require the same consistency. You can’t tweet 20 times one day and then come back two weeks later.

Also read:
Concerns about using social media to grow your practice
Building your social media platform isn’t easy

Instead, set a schedule for blog posts and do your best to stick to it. WordPress allows you to schedule your posts. Even if you want to write four articles to post on your site, you can schedule them to publish one each week. People will gradually learn your schedule and come to your site to consume your content.

You aren’t relevant.

Give people the information they want to read, not what you want to write. Take time to figure out what posts resonate with your audience and write more articles or create more videos on those themes or topics. Google Analytics can help you identify what posts get the most traffic and how your readers arrive at those posts.

For example, you might be interested in the latest diabetic research and want to write article after article about new studies. If your audience consists of people with diabetes who care more about lifestyle and nutrition changes, you might lose readers quickly. (I have a similar issue. I love writing articles advocating rules changes in sports and showing trends in injuries. They make up a very small percentage of the traffic to my site, so I only write them once or twice a week.)
Woman searching for medical information online

You aren’t persistent.

Growth takes time. Just like you won’t get a ripped body by lifting weights for only two weeks, your exposure and brand require consistent effort over a long time. Stick with it. Write your articles on a regular basis. Get on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube every day or two. Interact and help people – not just for a week or a month – but many years. You will grow your traffic, fans, and followers, but you have to give it time.

Also read:
Identify your goals
5 excuses healthcare providers use for not blogging

Finally remember that you must identify your goals before you can decide whether your efforts are effective. What are you trying to accomplish? Decide what success looks like and take slow, steady steps toward those goals. And if your goals center around helping your audience and not just promoting yourself, you will get there if you avoid these three mistakes.