I doubt there is any healthcare provider who hasn’t heard some marketing consultant say that we need to get involved in social media. Some of those healthcare providers will simply refuse to do it. Fair enough. Others will try to tweet for a few weeks or set up a website to write a few blog posts before they give up.
Only a small percentage of doctors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, nurses and other healthcare providers make a significant impact with their efforts. In these cases, there are certain keys that make their social media efforts successful.
Here are my five P’s to social media success:
Social media growth takes time. Whether you are measuring growth by comments to blog posts, Twitter followers, Facebook fans or unique monthly visitors to your site, large jumps will not occur right away. At first, it will feel like you’re talking to an empty room. Stick with it and don’t get frustrated by the lack of immediate results.
Given the slow growth you are likely to see, persistence is essential. Keep writing blog posts. Continue to record videos or podcasts. Stay active on Twitter or Facebook. With time and consistent effort, you’ll influence more people.
Sitting down to write a blog post and staring at a blank computer screen each time is a difficult way to create content for very long. You need to create processes to create content for a long time. Have systems to collect ideas for articles. Create an editorial calendar to plan the types of posts you want to write and when you will post them. Consider hiring an assistant to upload posts to your site. It might take you grinding out content on your own for a while before you figure out ways to do it better. You must develop processes to help you create content easier and quicker.
Healthcare providers who create websites, write posts, and tweet or post on Facebook solely to grow their practices usually don’t last. First, that strategy usually fails to attract fans. People want to learn about topics in your field of medicine, not hear that they should see you as a patient. Second, you’ll burn out if that is your only goal. You have to love it. Sure, it’s hard work. If you love communicating with the public, though, it won’t feel like work.
Healthcare providers successful in social media understand what they’re trying to achieve. For most of us, it is communicating medical information to help the public. It could be developing a community of healthcare providers with similar goals, such as athletic trainers trying to promote coverage for high school and youth sports teams. It could be educating other healthcare providers on healthcare reform. Heck, you could be promoting social media to other healthcare providers. Whatever your purpose is, understand and embrace it. Make every effort to help people, and you’ll make an impact in your own way.