How patients are searching and interacting with doctors is evolving. They formulate their opinions using search engines. They begin by reading the reviews of others about practices, as well as physicians, prior to booking initial consultations. This means doctors must remain competitive, optimize their reputation online, and engage utilizing social media.
When looking at 81% of adults in America accessing the Internet, at least 72% of them have used Internet searches to find health information, according to Pew Research Center. This research also indicates that, of these individuals owning smartphones, 52% of them searched for health information using the Internet.
1: Choose Channels Appropriately
The sheer volume of channels doctors have access to is not only difficult to manage, but it is also confusing. The decision can be tricky. Therefore, this list has been created to help boil it down for you.
a) Marketing Locally: get involved with sites including CitySearch, Google+ Local, online Yellow Pages, and Yahoo Local. Make sure each site has the correct information listed, so potential patients are not missed.
b) MD Reviews Sites/Directories Online: become listed on sites including Angie’s List, Doctor.WebMD, Find a doc, Healthgrades, RateMD, Vitals, Wellness, ZocDoc (this site allows for patients to make appointments, as well), and many others.
c) Professionally Designed Site: patients typically begin by Google searching to look up potential physicians’ online. Doctors who have professionally designed websites have a 24/7 marketing tool controlling their online image. This site defines services provided; lists contact information, provides hours of operation, and allows patients an area for social media interaction.
d) Social Media Platform: this is a free tool allowing for connection with potential and existing patients. Create accounts with Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The only downside to social media is it is a big time commitment because it requires continued engagement and account updates.
2: How to Know Which Social Media Channel to Pick
Posting regularly to social media is essential for increasing awareness and building community. It’s okay to post the same content across all channels so long as it is relevant. Choose text in the form of an article or blog post either from your site or another sharing medical content.
a) Twitter: this is an attractive, rapid-fire platform for short (140-character) posts. Tweet links and makes replies.
b) Facebook: engagement and brand building occurs through long and short posts. This is considered the most used social platform, so targeting potential patients here the most makes sense.
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