Social media is all about connecting. It is not about you - although it certainly can help raise your visibility. More importantly though, it creates new, and deepens existing, relationships, and its use lends credibility to your organization as forward-thinking.
How can physicians and other health care professionals/organizations integrate social media into their overall business development and marketing strategies? Where do they start?
A. Sharing Expertise
Physicians have felt more at ease using social media in closed professional communities. Through these sites, physicians can comfortably discuss specific (albeit anonymous) patient issues. They can also share information and collaborate with their peers.
Generously sharing your expertise is not only appreciated by your colleagues, but when others share your comments across social media sites, your reach has the potential of "going viral." These and other high profile blogs become an easy, inexpensive way of establishing you or your organization as a thought leader.
B. Your Own Website
Most health care providers/organizations have websites. You could create a media page on your website that chronicles radio, TV and print stories about you or your organization, along with listings of your own press releases. You could also post podcasts and webinars hosted by your organization or in which you are a participant. By building in a comment feature, you can better assess what stories peak community interest.
"Listening" is also an easy, risk-free way to get comfortable with social media, while also learning how to use social media to engage, collaborate and interact with others. You should read the responses to the comment
feature on your own webpages. You should read your patients' personal blogs, and follow discussion groups in your particular specialty or geographic region.
The next step might be to engage readers or other community members in conversations. Responding in a general, non-patient specific way to comments/questions raised on various discussion groups or blogs, such as TwitterDoctors, helps establish you as a meaningful participant.
You should also use GoogleAlerts or other similar mechanisms to monitor discussions about you or your organization. This will not only facilitate your ability to enter the discussion, but it will also allow you an opportunity to update your information or correct misinformation.