Is there a place for social media in the medical industry?
Yes! But it may be worth it to hire a professional rather than try to do it yourself (or hire your neighbor’s cousin’s daughter’s 16-year-old friend as an intern – please don’t do that!). The rules are complicated and vary by state. If you do wish to try it yourself, remember to always check with your state’s Medical Board about local laws first. Then, try following a few of these tips:
1. Never acknowledge someone as a patient. This is so hard to do, but if you get a public message that says “You’re the best,” it’s tempting to say “We’re so glad you’re happy with your blepharoplasty,” and pat yourself on the back in front of their family and friends. But don’t do it. A simple “Thank You,” is all you need. If you want to expand on it, thank them for being a Fan on Facebook.
2. Don’t diagnose or assume candidacy. Every doctor I know gets the “don’t diagnose a patient you haven’t physically examined” part of this tip, but the second part is one I see misused on social media a lot. You can’t give away a free BOTOX® Cosmetic injection, for example, when you have no way of knowing if the winner will be a qualified candidate. Many states won’t allow surgery to be a “prize” for that very reason.
3. Be consistent in your message. This might just be the biggest failure I see in the medical industry on social media. You must know your unique selling position and speak the value of it through all of your social media channels consistently. Post, Tweet, Share, Update, or do whatever it is you like to do at least 4 times a week. The marketing portion of that message (the “buy my product/service” talk) should be 25% of that – at most. If you were watching TV and all you saw were commercials for 30 minutes straight, you’d change the channel, right?
4. Keep it PG-13. Social media is a fun, friendly environment and most platforms allow users to be as young as 13. Even if you’re a plastic surgeon and you’re not marketing to teenagers, you must keep your messages clean. Platforms will remove your account, especially Facebook and Instagram, and many patients are offended by anything graphic (or “raw” as I like to call it – we don’t want to see blood on YouTube).
5. Show appreciation. Nothing does better on social media than public appreciation. That doesn’t mean Tweeting a “Thanks for following” to each new person. That becomes obnoxious to your current Followers very quickly. Try posting a nice graphic on Facebook that says “Thank You!” (make sure you own the rights to use the image) or post an exclusive special here on LinkedIn and let your connections know this is something extra special and just for them as your way of saying thanks.
6. Have fun with it. If you’re enjoying sharing on social media, chances are others will enjoy reading it. Even though medical marketing is a hard thing to do, I enjoy it and it shows in my high engagement levels.
Social Media Marketing Expert, Lacey Clifton, specializes in leveraging dynamic media platforms for organic, customer-centric marketing. She has been working with surgeons and specialty medical practitioners since 2009, providing training, coaching, and full-service marketing for lead generation, but has been marketing through online social media platforms since their first adoption by small businesses.
Lacey received her Master's of Education and Bachelor’s Degrees from Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she graduated with Summa Cum Laude among other honors. Additionally, she was recognized with a Faculty Award of Excellence for her performance at the university. She greatly enjoys learning environments, as both a student and a teacher, keeping her ahead of changes in social media platforms and fueling her passion to teach others.