As a healthcare professional, social media can be a scary atmosphere. There are so many laws telling you not to share specifics about what you do in your office/hospital, so it becomes tricky navigating what you can and cannot talk about. Don’t let the public nature of social media scare you away, though. There are many creative ways you can use social media to your benefit without violating HIPAA and other laws. Social media is an effective way to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. Through sharing news about your industry and engaging in third-party healthcare conversations, you can establish yourself as a thought leader while also building more trust with your patients.
Here are five content ideas to get you started on social media:
This is an excellent way to connect with other healthcare professionals. Share your favorite healthcare stats in short and sweet posts. This also provides easy, snackable content for your patients as they go through your feed.
Word to the wise here: Before you share someone else’s stats, make sure you do your research to ensure they come from a reliable source.
Between white hospital walls and white hospital linen, the healthcare field can be a pretty sterile environment. Just like you would have photos of your family in your office, you should provide ‘snapshots’ of your personal life on social media. Patients want to know who you are outside of the overwhelming healthcare environment. It helps them to know that you are an actual human being that is out there living life out there just like them. The more they trust you, the more they will be willing to share all of their symptoms with you which means you can more effectively treat them.
You don’t have to go out and share your entire life story. There still should be a professional relationship maintained. However, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a few photos of you participating in your favorite hobby outside of work and high-level stories about your family.
Healthcare Industry News
With a simple search of #hcsm, or #healthcare, you can find a plethora of content to share. Just add your industry hashtag (for example, #cancer) to the two prior hashtags and you will be able to narrow it down to news specifically tailored for you. By sharing new advancements, treatments and studies in your field you will build up your thought leadership. This is also a great technique to reassure your patients that you know what you are talking about and you are staying up to date on the latest advancements.
Use social media to your advantage and create a mini focus group out of your posts! Ask your fans/followers questions that are relevant to your specific field. If you’re a nurse, you can ask them what qualities they look for in a great nurse. If you’re a physician, you can ask what qualities their perfect physician has. You can even go on to ask about what their thoughts are on news in the healthcare industry or what your office could be doing better to make them feel more comfortable. The list goes on and on.
Now, make sure that you have the rights to share your own patient stories before you go that route. This is a whole other blog post. In the meantime, search for patients that have successful stories in your healthcare industry. For example, if you are a neurologist, look for incredible stories of patients that have persevered through brain injuries. This shows your patients that you care about everyone dealing with injuries in your specific industry, and provides hope that they will get through whatever they are going through as well.
While social media is still new, especially to the healthcare industry, it’s nothing to shy away from. When used correctly, it’s a great way to get yourself out there and show your patients that you care.
Try some of these tips and see what happens!
– Marji J. Sherman