Digital and social media have become necessary elements for practicing physicians. These are considered high-value interactive platforms by industry experts as physician-patient communication is faster and easier. Statistics say that nearly 80 percent of US adults use the Internet and approximately 60 percent belong to at least one networking site.
Many healthcare providers are still reluctant to make their active online presence on social media as they feel that having a social presence could be risky for their practice. Perhaps they fear violating the HIPAA regulations and are apprehensive that communicating with patients through social media platforms could ignite controversial conversations.
While physician concerns and challenges may be quite a few, social media is here to stay. Irrespective of the fact that they aren’t active in conversations that take place on social media platforms, their reputation will still be formed through what people say about them online. So it’s better to embrace it and make the most out of it. A little bit of caution and a lot of common sense can make social media worthwhile.
Let’s have a look at some major reasons why a social presence is a necessary ingredient for the success of your practice:
Wider bandwidth for brand exposure
Experts say social media is the most important factor for brand management these days where you can showcase your brand and build brand credibility. A strong online presence enhances a physician’s trustworthiness and boosts traffic and search engine ranking. It provides additional exposure to your practice as through the content on social media, you can provide links to your website that can bring additional traffic and higher ranking on search engines.
Shares, likes, comments and retweets provide a wider reach
The more followers you have on social media, the more will be the chances of getting shares, likes, comments and retweets for your posts. Every time a follower shares your posts, your practice can gain new followers who have the potential to become patients and referrals, helping to expand your patient base.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
For digital reputation maintenance
Physician reputation on various social media platforms has taken center stage, and managing a positive digital reputation is becoming more important than ever. According to a report by PwC-HRI social consumer study, about 45 percent of patients said social media would affect their decision to get a second opinion. Unfortunately, not all patients are satisfied with the services provided by a practitioner. Under the condition of anonymity, anyone can post reviews about their experiences. What makes matters worse for physicians is the fact that even a few unfavorable/biased reviews from unsatisfied patients can wreak havoc on a physician’s online reputation. This can be a setback as these are visible to all other patients/prospective patients, who will make a decision to visit a physician or not based on these reviews.
By being proactive on social media, healthcare providers can respond effectively to online customer reviews and can turn the tables around in their favor. For the bad ones, a well-crafted response can help protect your reputation, minimize the review’s negative impact and help create a sense of credibility. On the other hand, a humble response to a positive review can reinforce customer satisfaction and act as a catalyst for positive word-of-mouth.
Helps providers play a more active role in managing patient health
Healthcare marketing strategies that aggressively include social media can help healthcare providers take a more active, engaged role in managing patient health. Healthcare organizations should effectively analyze and integrate information from the social media space and utilize it to connect with healthcare consumers in more meaningful ways that provide value and increase trust.
By tapping into the correct social media channels, hospitals and physicians can directly connect with people who are increasingly turning to these for finding answers to their wants, needs and preferences. Insights from social media also offer instant feedback on products or services, along with new ideas for innovation. Incorporating this information into operations can help healthcare organizations position themselves better to meet the needs of today’s consumers. While interacting on social media, be cognizant about the HIPAA guidelines and keep patient privacy and confidentiality as the top priorities.