Using social media sites can be a wonderful way for medical practices to connect with their patients, potential patients and the community at large. After all, most practices only see their patients in the office when they are sick and not feeling their best. Not a great time to share and impart information.
While there are more than 400 different social media sites (and more are being added each month), each site has its only unique demographic mixture. For example, Pinterest attracts a largely female audience and Instagram is popular with the younger set. Twitter appeals to a broad demographic mix. Its 140 character "tweets" are easy to digest, even for people on the busiest schedules.
Ways to use Twitter to grow your medical practice
Twitter boasts more than 600 million registered users, second only to Facebook in total audience. At first glance, Twitter's short messages may not seem to be a good fit for a medical practice. However, there are several good ways to make use of this popular social media site.
1. To announce wellness programs. If your office hosts periodic wellness events, such as health screenings, nutritional seminars or exercise classes, Twitter is a great place to announce such events. The beauty of social media is that when one person shares it with their friend list and one of those friends shares your post with their friend list, you can reach many, many more people than you initially targeted.
2. To learn more about your patients. According to "American Medical News," asking questions on social media sites like Twitter is a great, non-threatening way for doctors to learn what their patients are willing to do (and not willing to do) to improve their health. Patients are likely more willing to be truthful behind the (relative) anonymity of their computers than they are when sitting face-to-face with their doctor.
3. To share important information from the medical community. Using Twitter is also a good (and easy) way to share information that you think will be useful and beneficial to your patients. Examples include new nutritional information or the results of a new medical study in your area of expertise.
While setting up a Twitter account and tweeting regularly might not be the right choice for every practice, don't automatically dismiss this social media site as irrelevant to the medical community. Connecting on Twitter can help you to learn more about your patients, reach them in an unthreatening environment and help to promote your office's wellness initiatives.