Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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7 ideas for physician content marketing on facebook

7 ideas for physician content marketing on facebook | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Not many physicians have heard of content marketing. But it’s a new way to keep current patients engaged and to attract new patients.

 

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of acquiring customers. It is the art of communicating with customers and prospects without selling.


“Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”


According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing works. Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere have embraced this new way to attract customers. Small businesses and independent entrepreneurs are also using it.

 

“Consumers have simply shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant).”

So, how can physicians use content marketing? It starts with creating content that is valuable and relevant to your patients and adding that to your web site, blog, or patient newsletters. Here are seven ideas for content to help get you started.

 

Practice changes: keep your patients updated on any practice changes, such as adding a new physician, change in office hours, new practice services added, etc.

 

What you do: if you are a family physician and you offer sport physicals for students, explain what you look for during a sports physical. If you offer travel medicine exams and immunizations, explain why these are important.

 

FAQs: keep track of the questions your patients ask and answer those in-depth.

 

Video: people read less and watch more. YouTube is now the number two search engine, after Google. And patients are searching for videos to answer specific questions, such as “What can I expect after my colonoscopy” or “Should I have a PSA screening?” 
 
Adding video to you site is not complicated. Use a flip camera to create a video introduction of yourself and your practice. Is there a health topic you feel strongly about? Create a video explaining why the topic is important and what steps you want your patients to take. 
 
Health in the news: Let’s say a new study has been published on colon cancer screening, and the study has been misconstrued by the media. Set the record straight for your patients by posting the correct information about the study on your web site and encouraging your patients to see you if they have any concerns about colon cancer.

 

Health topics relevant to your patient base: Think about your patients and what most concerns them. What top 10 patient conditions do you treat? Write a short blog post about each of them and encourage patients to seek treatment for these conditions from you.

 

Importance of immunizations: there is a lot misinformation out there about vaccinations. Explain to your patients why vaccines are important and how they should discuss their concerns with you. Provide links to reputable web sites and credible information about immunizations.

 

A version of this article appeared on Affynity Web Solution s blog. 

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Facebook Page Apps Every Medical Practice Should Use

Facebook Page Apps Every Medical Practice Should Use | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Ever doctor who is “in” is now using facebook pages to improve communication with patients. Though the number of facebook apps available to do this is in the well over 100,000, too many for physician to look through.

Start here to build out the tools for your medical practice. The goal of every doctor using facebook pages is to give information to new and existing patients, also get patients to engage with the physician in a social supportive way.

Below are five essential Facebook apps.


1. Twitter Tab — Display Your Twitter Feed

Twitter Tab, which has 1+ million monthly active users, will create a tab on your Facebook Page that displays a timeline of your medical practices most recent tweets. This is a great feature for providing additional, real-time information to Facebook patients and medical staff who don’t have a Twitter account and for avoiding the annoyance your fans would feel if you were to constantly stream your tweets to Facebook as wall updates. The app is very easy to set up.


2. Static HTML: iframe Tabs — Create a Custom Landing Page

Static HTML: iframe tabs, which has 61+ million monthly users, will simplify the process of making a custom landing page by automating many of the steps. Forget about creating a developer account and your own application — this app provides copy and paste textboxes for your custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It also offers checkboxes to remove the scrollbars. If you want to incentivize Likes on your Page, the application enables you to “like-gate,” and show different content to those who have and haven’t “liked” your page.

It’s worth noting that you will still need to host your own files, and designs over 520 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall will have the scrollbars.


3. EHR online facebook scheduling — Place you free appointment schedule on Facebook

Let patients schedule appointments in a HIPAA compliant way!  Use the Static HTML iframe Tabs to get this done.

Step by step instructions on how to do this can be found here: http://blog.drchrono.com/facebook/can-facebook-have-a-ehr-yes/


4. ContactMe — Add a Contact Form

ContactMe, with 180,000 monthly active users, adds a tab on your organization’s Facebook Page with a contact form. This allows anyone visiting your Facebook page to easily get in touch with you at the very moment when they’re most interested.

The biggest advantage of this app is its customization options. You can choose whether you’d prefer to show your company’s contact information or social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Skype. This is very customizable.


5. RSS Graffiti – Automatically Post Updates

RSS Graffiti, with 1.5 million monthly users, allows you to automatically post wall updates any time there’s a new item in one of your specified feeds. For example, if you publish to a medical blog every day, RSS Graffiti can automatically post an excerpt of the article with a direct link onto your Facebook page’s wall. That saves you the time and effort of creating a new wall update every day to distribute your company’s content.

It has customization options making it stand out. You can automatically post more than one RSS feed, adjust how the post looks when published, schedule how often the feed is checked, and specify how many posts should be published per check. And most importantly, with all these options and more, the configuration interface is still easy to use and intuitive.

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25 things we learned by getting 25,000 Facebook fans

25 things we learned by getting 25,000 Facebook fans | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Gina Czark, director of social media and Jessica Fillinger, community manager at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital share what they learned from building a robust Facebook page.


Getting to 25,000 Facebook fans seemed more like a far off feat than a realistic milestone we’d achieve within 15 months of joining NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, (NYP).


We were new to the organization and our challenge was developing a Facebook page for a hospital spanning six campuses, while at the same time, learning about its rich history.


We valued each new fan that liked NYP’s Facebook page and felt personally connected to each one. We took pride in building a community and searching for great stories and information that not only told NYP’s story, but also encouraged conversation and educated our community.


It was a lot like creating a family. While they might have come from anywhere across the world, they were routed in one commonality, their connection to our hospital. We sometimes have a difference in opinions, but all opinions are valued, positive or negative, and the conversations are plentiful. We rarely have a post with little interaction and in many cases our community begins one-off conversations with one another. We’re just the ones brokering the introduction.

We created the “25K Strong” image as a thank you to our community. After all, it couldn't have happened without them. If you look closely, you’ll see images from our Facebook page that includes our patients, doctors, nurses and staff. We hope you’ll find our 25 tips helpful as you build your own Facebook pages.


1. Content is king.


    2. A picture is worth 1,000 words. Don’t underestimate the need for visuals. 

    3. Be passionate and thoughtful. If you don’t believe in what you’re posting, it will show and your content will suffer. 

    4. Every fan and interaction counts. If a community member leaves a positive comment, thank them or like it. Respond to the negative, as well. 

    5. Be human. Your fans should think real people are responding to them because they are. 

    6. Shares are most important. Likes and comments are wonderful, but shares lead to organic growth. 

    7. Use calls-to-action.

    8. Don’t use medical jargon. 

    9. Use your cover image to convey the story of your brand. Change it often. 

    10. Find the best time during the day to post your content. 

    11. Tagging is important and builds community. 

    12. Get outside the office to find content. 

    13. Think like a reporter and always have your eyes and ears open to a great and compelling story. 

    14. View your Facebook page as a media outlet. It’s a way for you to tell your brand’s story and share exclusive news and announcements. 

    15. Build a team to help you, both internally and externally (this should include your legal team). Even if your social media team is small, find others within your organization to be your advocates and rely on your community for help. 

    16. Partnerships are crucial. Reach out to associations or groups with a connection to your brand and ask them to share your content and return the favor by sharing theirs. 

    17. Treat your brand’s page as you would your own. Interact with other brands by liking, sharing and commenting on their content and create more than just posts. We did this by creating an events calendar. 

    18. Incorporate your brand into larger trends (#tbt), awareness months or timely events. Sometimes a simple status update will do to tastefully get your page involved in the conversation. 

    19. You can make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world, especially if you build a community the right way. In most cases, the mistakes will be forgiven.

    20. Create content aligned with your mission. Ours is to inspire hope through patient stories. We feature many patient stories on a variety of health topics.

    21. Be open to new ideas based on what your community is asking for. At NYP, we receive so many wonderful comments about the patient experience that we created a “Share Your Story” app through Facebook so patients could easily share stories with us. 

    22. Set standards for your page. Not everything you receive should be posted. Create a strategy and be selective of what’s best for your community. No one knows them as well as you. 

    23. Don’t discount your internal audience. Sometimes telling stories about your employees is the way to authentically articulate your brand’s story. 

    24. Have fun. Not everything needs to be serious. Think about the people coming to your page every day during the commute home who are looking for inspiration, a good story or just interesting content to read. 

    25. If you’ve spent your time right, you’ve likely built a great community. Now enjoy watching the communities you’ve created connect with one another.

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    Physicians and Facebook: 7 Reasons to Get Social on Facebook

    Physicians and Facebook: 7 Reasons to Get Social on Facebook | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

    These days, it seems everyone is on Facebook. There are over 500 million users worldwide, and half of those people log on to Facebook on any given day.


    Physicians who create a Facebook page for their practice are able to leverage this huge user base as a way to stay connected to their patients and attract new customers.


    If your practice doesn’t have a page yet, here are a few reasons to seriously consider creating a Facebook page:


    1. Keep patients informed – Tell your patients any time there is news about your practice. Whether you’re going to be closed on a certain day, now offering a new service or opened a new location, you can keep your patients in the loop.


    2. Share verified information – The Internet is full of misinformation. When you read an article that would be valuable to your patients, the CDC releases a health warning or a groundbreaking study is released, post it on your page to keep patients armed with the best possible info to stay healthy.


    3. Interact with patients – You can stay top of mind with your patients by posting articles, tips and announcements. Patients may only see you for a matter of minutes each year, so keeping a conversation going online will help build a lasting relationship.


    4. Network with other physicians – You can discuss best practices, recruit physicians or learn new things in your online community by participating in Facebook discussions.


    5. Build an online presence – When potential new patients go online and search for a doctor in your area, you’ll want to show up. Facebook is great at getting you seen when people search, so take advantage of this.


    6. Create referral business – When someone searches for a doctor, mechanic or any other service provider, they tend to ask their friends for recommendations. If prospects are seeing your posts on a friend’s Facebook page, then that can start the conversation and lead to a referral for your practice.


    7. It’s free and easy! It won’t cost you any money to set up a page and you can do it in minutes. You can make managing it part of a trusted staff member’s job and they will probably be happy to get paid to use Facebook.

    There are so many benefits of putting your practice on Facebook, but many physicians are concerned, and rightly so, about patients posting private information. The best thing to do is to create a disclaimer about what is appropriate for Facebook and post it prominently on your page.

    If a patient does post private information, try to remove it as quickly as possible and send that patient a private message to contact the office directly.


    Bonus: Mobile Media Tip
    While Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla of social media, there are other ways to reach your audience. The location-based mobile platform Foursquare is also a rapidly growing social media player with 8.5 million users — adding an average of 27,000 new members per day.


    Using Foursquare can be a great way to get found when someone searches for a doctor on their smartphone. With 2 million check-ins per day, there’s no reason not to take advantage of all the potential customers found on this free service. Simply create a profile and let new patients find you.


    Of course, there are so many other social media paths to take, but these two are a great place to start. Marketing doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming in the social media age. Take advantage of technology and don’t get left behind!

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    Facebook and Your Medical Practice: Making ‘Friends’ with Social Media

    Facebook and Your Medical Practice: Making ‘Friends’ with Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

    Though the medical community has been slow to adopt social media as part of its business model—and possibly for good reason—social media is here to stay as the new medium of communication. While there are certainly pitfalls associated with healthcare providers’ use of social media, the fact remains that Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets can be effective tools to promote your practice, disseminate information, and share ideas.

     

    Social media should not, however, be used by healthcare providers to communicate directly with patients, provide medical advice, promote products, or warrant outcomes. Further, physicians and other healthcare providers need to be cognizant of the potential permanency of a social media post. While social media account managers can delete or remove posts and other information shared online, subscribers and “friends” can take screen shots or print errant posts before they are deleted. These potentially damaging posts can live forever.

     

    Social Media and Patient Privacy

    Patient privacy is probably the most significant consideration when mixing medicine with social media. The lines of the physician-patient relationship often can become blurred in the social media context if appropriate precautions are not taken. Further, because of the potential for anonymity among bloggers and other social media commenters, there is no guarantee that “patients” actually are who they say they are, and vice versa. That’s why healthcare providers need to follow a few simple rules when establishing a social media presence in order to ensure they maintain appropriate boundaries, respect patient confidentiality, and best promote their practice:

     

    (1) NEVER post about patients. When using social media, it’s not enough to simply eliminate patient-specific data such as name, date of birth, or social security numbers. Physicians have been disciplined for blogging or commenting about patients or the care provided, even when the post seemed completely devoid of personal information. If there is any way for a third party to identify the patient through the information contained within your post, it should not be posted. When in doubt, don’t post.

     

    (2) Keep personal accounts separate from business accounts. Business pages can be set up to provide practice information only, such as business hours, holiday closings, new additions to the practice, upcoming events, etc. These business pages do not include “friends” or allow “comments” by non-approved administrators.

     

    (3) If you maintain a personal Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, always decline friend requests from patients. A professional boundary must always be present between patients and physicians. This boundary can be blurred or even dissolved when social media communication is allowed.

     

    (4) Maintain the highest levels of security for your personal account(s) and business page. Routinely check your account settings to ensure that the privacy and security settings are constantly updated since many social media sites, particularly Facebook, change their security settings on a fairly regular basis. If you have a business Facebook page or Google+ page, then disable outsiders’ ability to comment, post or tag photos in order to make sure that the communication is one-way (from you) only.

     

    (5) Do not provide medical advice, whether solicited or not, on blogs or social media posts. Even innocent comments on others’ pages can be deemed “advice” and should be avoided. For example, a friend of a friend might post a comment about post-appendectomy incisional pain, to which you respond “Don’t worry, that’s normal.” Such a post is technically a comment on the patient’s medical status and could potentially impact that individual’s treatment decisions. It also raises the question of whether a physician-patient relationship exists as a result of the communication.

     

    (6) Implement a social media policy for your practice, and ensure your office staff is familiar with the policy. In fact, it’s a good idea to have your employees sign a social media agreement and maintain that in their personnel file. Your policy should be clear that staff members are never to post about patients, period. Staff also should be prohibited from “friending” patients or communicating with patients through social media sites. Likewise, instruct your staff to maintain proper privacy/security measures, and make sure only allow responsible, trained staff members are allowed to administer your practice’s social media page(s) or blogs.

     

    (7) If a patient somehow contacts you or a staff member about her care using social media, then immediately respond that you will call to discuss the issue. During your phone conversation, let your patient know that social media is not a suitable method of communication, and suggest that the patient call the office for future needs.

     

    (8)  Do not blog anonymously (see rule 5).

     

    Final ‘Comments’

    The number of social media outlets is growing every day, so it can be time consuming to monitor and ensure patient confidentiality, adequate security and proper boundaries. However, if properly managed, these sites can be a fun social outlet for communication with family and friends, and an effective tool to help promote your practice. Though social media has enormous potential, it is important for healthcare providers to ensure their online involvement is ethical, with a clear divide between personal and business uses.

     

    The Texas Medical Association provides a social media guide on its website, which can also be a helpful tool when navigating the wide world of social media.

    One final word of advice, whether it’s a professional blog, your practice’s Facebook page, or your personal Twitter account: Take a moment to reflect before posting. (Note: public Tweets are archived by the Library of Congress!)

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    Boosting Facebook Engagement for your Medical Practice

    Boosting Facebook Engagement for your Medical Practice | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

    When it comes to social media, the name of the game is engagement. After all, what good are all of those fans and followers if they don’t care about or pay attention to what you’re doing?  Just last month, my team and I guided one of our orthopaedic clients into the top ten national “medium-sized” companies competing to win the Social Madness Competition presented by The Business Journals.


    Below are some of the strategies we employed to become the “little orthopedic practice that could.”

    Identify Your Facebook Target Demographic


    Be sure to determine your Facebook page’s demographics before attempting to craft your messaging.

    When your office utilizes social media, whom exactly are you trying to reach? If you just say, “Patients,” you haven’t looked into your page insights deep enough. By clicking on the “People” tab you’ll get a top-level overview of who your followers are – gender, age and even location. This information is key when crafting your messaging, as you wouldn’t have the same message for an 18 year-old-male that you would for a 64-year-old female. For this client, we target 35-44 year old females using key imagery and posts that appeal to the mom demographic.

    Find Your Most Successful Post Types

    Facebook is great for communicating with patients in part because it’s so versatile. You can post a myriad of topics and ideas that appeal to your specific fanbase and Facebook will keep track of how successful each post is for you. For free. Photos, status updates, links, videos – post some of each to find out which ones resonate with your fans. We’ve found that photos generally work best from an engagement standpoint – both in terms of clicks and interactions (“likes”, “comments” and “shares”).  After photos, our most successful results have come with status updates, followed by links and then videos.

    Create Interesting Content That Fits Your Successful Post Types

    A snapshot of the Facebook reach and engagement levels for one of our clients.

    Sounds easy, right? For the most part it is (though it gets a little more difficult when competing against the top companies in the country for months on end, but I digress). If photos work well, be sure to plan ahead and have some fun, creative ones scheduled for the month. Remember, Facebook – and social media as a whole – is supposed to be personal, so not everything has to just be an office photo with a doctor. Those are great and they shouldn’t be ignored; however, don’t feel like you can’t put up a crazy themed photo or a popular meme, too. When updating your status, let people know what’s going on in your office. Having a staff appreciation day? Show your fans your office has some personality. Happy it’s Friday? Tell the world. Odds are, they are, too.

    We’ve also found that our followers really enjoy posts that relate to charitable giving and those that ask them questions while presenting facts. For example, come up with a statistic that relates to your practice and have your followers fill in the blank. Or, ask them to answer a true or false question about something you treat in your office. It may sound silly, but simple exercises like this will get people engaged, and it will get them to share the content with their friends and family (i.e. potential new patients).

    The End Result

    Ultimately, engagement should be your goal with social media, not click through rates to your website. Social media is your way to become more than just a medical practice to your patients. It’s your way to become a part of their lives outside of the office.

    As an added benefit, when done correctly, you’ll see benefits within your practice walls as well. For example, just within the contest period alone, we had several patients tell us they scheduled an appointment with the practice because they found them on Facebook or saw a post their friend “Liked”. We were also able to schedule at least one surgery, thanks to someone finding the practice on, you guessed it, Facebook. Thanks to an increase of more than 800 page likes, we were also able to exponentially grow the practice’s organic reach to thousands of potential patients in just a few short months without spending a dollar. It’s all about engagement.

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    Medical Group Practice Marketing: 5 Common Facebook Pitfalls

    Medical Group Practice Marketing: 5 Common Facebook Pitfalls | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

    With marketing efforts increasingly shifting to online activities like blogging and search optimization,
    marketers at medical group practices need to keep up and be able to communicate effectively with their large patient base and future prospective patients. One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others make it so much easier for you to communicate, connect, and nurture all of your patient leads. This can be especially effective in group practices who have the critical mass to enjoy greater engagment from social media activity. The biggest social media site is, of course, Facebook.

    However, you need to make sure that your Facebook marketing is tip top or you won't see the results you're trying so hard to achieve. There are major pitfalls that all group practices need to be wary of. When you avoid these pitfalls, your online marketing and social media will start to produce a real,measurable ROI.


    1. Not Being Interactive

    The biggest key of social media is going to be the first part of the word itself: social. If you're not making an effort to respond and interact with your Facebook fans, then you risk appearing like an organization that has poor service. This is especially true if patients are actively seeking and reaching out to your page with questions and concerns that go unanswered.

    Instead, establish a policy that includes prompt timing when it comes to responding to posts on Facebook. The most ideal time frame would be within just a few hours. It may seem obvious, but you should train employees to treat patients on Facebook just as you would if they were calling you, courteously and professionally. Otherwise, they are going to have a bad memory associated with your practice.

    • Word of bad experiences travels fast on social media. 


    2. No-Show Group Practices

    When you create a Facebook page, the next step in the process is posting frequently enough to give a little reminder to patients that you're active on their news feed. Ideally, you will want to post content (special promotions, original content, articles, and the like) at least once a day, even asking
     a simple question or mentioning an interesting article can be enough to touch base with your patients.


    Facebook allows you to schedule all of your posts for certain hours of the day, making the task of posting something that can be handled in small blocks of time.

    • Having a page on Facebook that looks like a ghost town leaves a bad impression of your organization.


    3. Not Considering Your Facebook Audience

    It is important to recognize what type of services your medical group practice provides and who your actual audience on Facebook is. Let's consider the example of an oral and maxillofacial surgery group. 

    Like many groups, their Facebook community is made up mostly of patients who have come into the office for a procedure and were compelled to "Like" the group on Facebook. So far everything is great, working just like it should. However, many of the patients at an oral surgery group practice are coming in for a procedure like dental implants or wisdom teeth removal. These patients hope to never have to come in again for these procedures. 

    Posting articles on Facebook about dental implants may fall on deaf ears, so to speak. Sure, your fans may hit "like" or even share the article with others. However, these are patients who have already come in for implants. You're presenting the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time. 

    A better approach may be to discuss the implant maintenance and cleaning program your office just developed. Or promote cosmetic services like Botox, something a Facebook fan may still have interest in. 

    • Are your Facebook messages aimed at the right audience? 


    4. Not Keeping It Somewhat Casual

    Facebook is all about connecting with others and, sometimes, posting some lighthearted stuff. When most people are following brands, including group practices, they may be seeking out deals or "incentives," or they may be searching for helpful information about their health situation.

    However, not lightening things up a bit from time to time will quickly make your business seem boring to your Facebook fans. While there needs to be a level of appropriateness, you can still keep it casual by discussing things that aren't directly related to work. Posting about how to eat healthy at a Fourth of July cookout while still enjoying yourself, for example. 

    • Is your Facebook page engaging and lighthearted enough to keep people's interest?


    5. Posting Too Often

    Yes, I just said to be careful and make sure you post often enough. However, there is a fine line and once it is crossed, your business actually starts to annoy people. A good rule of thumb is to post no more than 3-5 times per day. We know that Facebook does not show your posts to all of your fans. That said, people will get put off if your medical group practice is posting 2-3 times an hour with seemingly irrelevant information. 

    • Keep a close eye on the comments. If you start to read that people are getting annoyed it may be time to pull back on the throttle.


    Avoid these pitfalls and your group practices will go very far with their social media. In fact, it can make everything seem a lot more fun!

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