It’s safe to say that most people have an opinion about social media—and some of those opinions aren’t good. In fact, one recent study directly correlated the frequency of Facebook usage with unhappiness; the more you looked at Facebook, the less happy you were. It’s no wonder, then, why some professionals may be hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon.
While social media may have its faults, its benefit to physician marketers is clear: quantifiable results, targeted marketing, community engagement, education and reduced costs, chief among them. However, how do you change negative (perhaps justifiably so) feelings about a tool that can benefit your client? Let’s look at some of the most common complaints:
1. There’s nothing relevant on social media.
This is easily one of the most justifiable concerns. Traditionally, medicine has been seen as an elevated profession. When physicians see their content lost in a sea of click-bait articles and quizzes, they may feel like it demeans the profession.
Take the time to share some success stories with your client. There are countless physicians on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets that have built strong followings by providing useful, relevant, reliable information to their followers. Show them how that content can benefit their patients and their practice.
2. Social media is not for serious professionals.
Donald Trump, Grumpy Cat, Kim Kardashian: all fixtures on social media. The constant sharing and bombardment of frivolous “news” stories may lead doctors to feel like social media is not an appropriate place for their practice.
This perspective is often the result of a poor user experience with personal social media accounts. Social media interfaces often rapidly change, leaving the casual user frustrated and confused. The result is that they may not be adequately using the controls at their disposal to filter the content they see. For example, an infrequent Facebook user may not know he or she can hide posts from a person without “unfriending” them.
This invariably leads to a negative user experience. Some doctors may feel that social media is not for professionals because they do not understand how to tailor their own user experience. Working with the physician to show them how filters can improve the quality of content may change their opinion.
3. The clients I want don’t use social media.
A misconception! Many doctors are interested in attracting seniors to their practice, and believe that seniors do not use social media. A recent poll reveals the opposite: 56% of users 65 years of age and older use Facebook, which constitutes 31% of all seniors. This rapidly growing population—the Boomers—are more and more accessible through social media. This population will have an increasing need for healthcare, the means to access medical treatment, and will be increasingly reachable through social media.
If a physician is hesitant to participate in social media, it is important to get to the heart of his or her concerns. Take the time to identify why he or she has negative feelings about social media, and address those concerns with examples and facts.