It’s been a while now since social media invaded the medical cocoon. Gone are the days when patients relied on word-of-mouth referrals to choose a physician. In this new era, the Internet and social media have a strong impact on the decision-making of healthcare consumers, i.e. the patients. This revolution has brought along a unique set of opportunities and challenges for physicians. If channeled and harnessed wisely, it can be a powerful marketing tool for physicians.
Marketing social change in the field of healthcare
Social media has expanded the sphere of social life of health. The physician-patient relationship is no longer confined to a physician’s office as it travels far beyond that through social media. Patients share their experiences about a physician, staff, work ethics, etc. on social media and physician-review websites. Based on their research and analysis, they determine who provides better care and make the decision of choosing a physician accordingly.
Digital healthcare consumers also seek accurate, reliable and easily accessible information about medical conditions, the latest treatments, updates about newer and safer drugs and disease prevention tips.
Social media is an ideal platform for physicians to address the above factors for patient engagement. It gives them an excellent platform to enhance their practice visibility and connect directly with patients and prospective patients. Marketing is all about changing and influencing consumer decisions, and social media marketing can be used as a powerful tool.
How can you tap the social media channels to build your brand online?
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
You may or may not be using social media, but it’s important to note that your patients definitely use it to learn about your practice or share their experiences with others. Being on social media gives you an edge and you can stay updated about what people are saying about your practice. You can also join in some of these conversations or initiate new ones to give people the confidence that you care about them. If there are some negative experiences, you can address them and give your patients an assurance that you’ll provide nothing less than the best healthcare services. If you handle the negative experiences tactfully and reinforce the positive ones, your online perception is bound to change among those who posted about you and may also influence prospective patients who happen to go through the online conversations.
Benefits of social media marketing for physicians
Every effort you put into a social media platform is an opportunity to convert potential patients. Whether you post some informative health tips on Facebook, initiate group discussions on LinkedIn, tweet with some general fitness tips, post a blog on some advanced treatment options all of them will help you connect better with patients. When people like what you have posted, they will share it with others, so you’ll have access to communicate with more people while interacting with your existing patients. Your brand will be visible and your active online presence will help develop a sense of credibility. A positive online reputation is imperative for physicians as many people refer to all possible sources of online information before booking an appointment.
The increasing cost of healthcare services has been a primary reason for patients becoming more conscious about their health and health decisions. There is an unquenched thirst among patients for information on healthcare options as they seek nothing less than the best when it comes to their health. Social media and physician-rating websites are powerful tools for consumers to research their options. Physicians who have understood this change in consumer perception and decision-making patterns have already established a strong presence on social media. Physicians who have recently discovered this phenomenon are investing their time and efforts to win over patients through various social media channels.