Your patients are turning to social media. So you should be there.
A recent study by Mediabistro found that more than 40% of consumers say information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.
That means many of us turn to Facebook, blogs, forums, and beyond when we need a little health advice. And that might not be such a surprise if you spend a lot of time scrolling through Facebook. Lots of us turn to our socialsphere for guidance or to just test the cultural climate of big issues and personal interests. So why would health information be any different?
This doesn’t mean people are forgoing physician guidance, though. Unlike other types of businesses, patients got to the doctor solely for the doctor’s expertise. But people trust their friends to make referrals. We share health tips and referrals on social media because we genuinely want to help other people. We want to be useful. It’s a type of peer-to-peer healthcare, but on social media, physicians and healthcare professionals have the opportunity to join the conversation.
People follow businesses on social media because they’re looking to benefit through special offers, humor, or education. Education is, more often than not, the most useful thing you can offer your followers. So become a valued resource for them. Thought Leadership is the practice of making yourself an authority through content sharing.
Your expertise can become an ownable part of the brand. From a business perspective, it makes sense to market that knowledge as part of you organization’s image. It’s necessary to share your knowledge online to build your brand. Creating educational content and regularly engaging on social media will help accurately inform consumers about health related issues and out shine misleading information. The opinions of others on social media are often trusted but aren’t always accurate sources of insights, especially when it comes to a subject as sensitive as health. But as a healthcare professional, you matter.
But you’ve got to have a balance of sounding like an authority figure and speaking to someone like an actual person. It’s a fine line to walk, but it’s crucial to gaining trust. The trick is to not talk over someone’s head. Remember that these are real people following you on social media, so speak to them that way. Instill a human sensibility in the things you write and people will feel the person behind the keyboard.
Being a healthcare authority on social media is all about engaging can sharing your knowledge. Over time, this will build credibility in the community and eventually establish some trust in the minds of prospective patients. They’ll be more likely to turn to your practice when they’re in need because you’re top-of-mind now.