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.
Curated by nrip
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Social Media and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Medical Device Firms

Social Media and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Medical Device Firms | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a phenomenon that has replaced email as a primary means of communication in recent years and is especially popular among youth. Following the news of Twitter’s initial public offering (IPO) on November 7, 2013, the online social networking and microblogging service rapidly sold 70 million shares for $26 each, and is poised to overtake Facebook in usage. Twitter is a high growth company that demonstrates a trend in internet communication methods. The question then arises as to how social media can be a force in the medical device and healthcare industry. 

Social media efforts by medical device companies so far have been abysmal overall, with very few firms having a strong presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Pharmaceutical firms play a much greater role in social media, as it has been more integrated into their marketing efforts. Patients are more apt to give feedback and be swayed by communication from manufacturers regarding drugs. This has not been exactly the same for medical device companies, although social media still presents a major opportunity for those firms that take the first step. 

With medical devices, patients are still more swayed by their physicians’ opinions. Even so, Stryker had a direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing campaign that was successful. This campaign helped rebrand its Triathlon knee product and was based on the model where patients go to their orthopaedic surgeons and inquire about or request it. The financial figures have demonstrated the success of the campaign, as the company’s knee business grew from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion from 2011 to 2013. It is also important to note that this product has been around for over five years. Similar to the DTC marketing approach that Stryker has taken, a strong supplement to that would be social media...

seanhoneycombe's curator insight, October 1, 2014 10:01 PM

Today's society is heavily influenced by technology and more specifically, social media. This article discusses the potential for medical device firms to take advantage of the huge following on social media sites such as a Twitter, Facebook etc. 'Stryker' ran a 'Direct-to-Consumer' campaign which in two years took them from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion. In my opinion there is a huge market for medical device firms to market through the social media channel. 

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Social Media & Physicians

Mike Sevilla, MD talks at Social Media & Medicine Panel at 2013 RWJF Aligning Forces For Quality Annual Meeting #AF4Q in Austin, TX on November 7, 2013. Also...
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Top Trends in Social Medical Marketing

Top Trends in Social Medical Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare |

Wrangling in new patients is difficult in areas with competitive healthcare. This is especially true for specialty clinics and small hospitals that are dwarfed by large hospitals, though there are strategies via social medical marketing that can help boost your local exposure.

As everyone knows, having a strong online presence is a necessity for every industry. Marketing teams over the last few years have researched and developed strategies for generating likes, shares, followers, and other Web disciples to no avail, largely because theInternet is always changing. Simply put, every online strategy needs to be unique based on a business’ personality. As a healthcare specialist, you need to find ways to ensure your online followers know that you are an authority in your field and a practice they can trust.

Building up a reputation as an expert with social medical marketing is easy with the right approach. Firstly, you need to develop a strong social media presence by securing accounts on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform you think will help. Not only do these allow you to share information and stay in touch with patients, you are also taking control of your practice’s (your brand’s) name. Even if you decide to leave one account alone because you’re not seeing results, you can always go back to it later.

Next, you need to fill your profiles full of information that makes it easy for patients to find out who you are, what you do, and where your practice is located. This links back to branding basics; you need to develop a marketing platform, brand imagery, and messaging that relays info back to your patients that is easy to understand. Stay consistent throughout your profiles, too, in order to reduce any confusion.

Incentivizing Social Media
Having media accounts is useless without followers. Few patients have a reason to follow their doctor on Facebook — it’s up to you to convince them otherwise. Start by asking patients to like your pages and profiles (put your info on a business card, perhaps?) and even incentivize the process with deals. Or, if you’re really into making a splash in the online community, send patients information via social media about upcoming appointments and health information they may find informative. The same idea applies to emailed newsletters, text message appointment times, and other reminders.

Marketers have found that people react better to bright, attractive imagery rather than boring blocks of Web text. When you’re making posts or publishing blogs on social media, accompany them with multimedia like videos, infographics, and images. People are more likely to halt their newsfeed scrolling if they come across something that pops off the page. Think visual when you start out on your campaign and find pictures and graphs that accurately reflect your information.

Website Linking
Websites are like secondary storefronts for modern businesses. In terms of social medical marketing, link to and from your website with your social profiles and keep it stocked full of new, original, and accurate information about your practice and the healthcare industry. As mentioned, the best marketing campaigns set you up as a professional authority in a field. Writing pamphlets, articles, and blogs can help support this idea — all you have to do is link them through to your website.

Enlisting the Masses
It would be impossible for you, a busy doctor or healthcare professional, to do all of this on your own. Instead, enlist help from your staff and other experts. Did you get a new x-ray machine? Call up a radiologist and have them write up a few hundred words that you then publish on your website. Don’t be afraid to try new things, either; sometimes the most successful strategies are the ones no one has ever tried before.

Going Forward
The most important thing to do is to keep at it. Don’t give up if you don’t have every Facebook follower in town; focus instead on the long-term goal of creating an online brand and presence. Healthcare is a difficult, competitive field on the Internet. It is your job, and you should employ social medical marketing in order to support your practice as an authority and to provide patients with information.

Sedra T.'s curator insight, November 25, 2013 6:10 AM

SMEs should have a strong online presence to stay competitive in online market and, particularly, produce unique and valuable content.

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Create a Greater Voice: How to Get Doctors and Nurses to Write an Engaging Blog

Kimberly Schrack, public relations and social media manager for Magee Rehabilitation Hospital presented at the 2013 Health Care Social Media Summit held at M...
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Social media brings academic journals to general readers

Social media brings academic journals to general readers | Social Media and Healthcare |

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Dermatology shows that a handful of academic journals have successfully leveraged social media to reach many times the readers of the journals themselves. But the majority of journals have yet to embrace social media and so lag behind professional organizations and patient advocacy groups in their ability to disseminate information in a culturally relevant way.

If a  journal wants to educate people, this is a way to do it," says Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dellavalle also manages the Facebook page for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Fittingly, Dellavalle worked on the project remotely, collaborating with a handful of medical students now included as co-authors.

The study evaluated the social media presences of 102 dermatology journals and also dermatology organizations and patient-advocacy groups. The social media followings of the most popular patient advocacy networks were about double the followings of the most popular professional organizations, which were about double the followings of the most popular journals. For example, at the time of study the Skin Cancer Foundation had 20,119 Facebook followers, the Dermatology Network had 11,251 Facebook followers, and Dellavalle's Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Facebook page had 5,286 followers.

That said, "you look at the New England Journal of Medicine and they're getting hundreds of thousands of reads through their social media presence. They're not getting nearly that many reads on the journal itself," Dellavalle says.

The study also showed that more prominent journals tend to have stronger social media followings. "Especially in terms of Facebook followings, the journals with the highest impact factors have the most followers," Dellavalle says.

At the time of study, the New England Journal of Medicine had 439,022 Facebook followers. However, as good as the leading journals undoubtedly are in creating and managing social media presences, there's a steep decline in the usage and success of lesser-known journals. Of the 102 dermatology journals studied, only 12.7 percent had a Facebook presence and 13.7 percent had a Twitter presence.

"Some journals haven't recognized the potential of fully embracing popular social networks," Dellavalle says. "Even in the community of academic researchers, there's an ever-changing goal post of relevance. If you don't remain active, you fall behind the times. With continued technological evolution, organizations that fail to recognize the opportunity provided by social networking sites risk becoming marginalized by their inability to assimilate to social media as an expected form of communication."

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Physicians and social media: #Innovation

Physicians and social media: #Innovation | Social Media and Healthcare |

Can social media be used to modernize medical education?  The modern medical education system still uses didactic lectures and objective testing as the main method of education. The traditional “Grand Rounds” has evolved over the years, from a primarily case-based discussion about a patient’s diagnosis (as written by William Osler himself in JAMA in 1910), to a didactic lecture. Some educators and learners in medical education have even questions its relevance as an educational venue entirely.

In order to meet their patients’ and students’ needs, some physicians are embracing social media and applying it to their own learning. In particular, social media has proven a great forum for physicians to connect and share ideas. Through various platforms (particularly the microblogging service Twitter), physicians can build connections with mentors and collaborators at other institutions and in other disciplines.

Since 2011, participants have “live-tweeted” the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds. Each week during the conference, faculty, students and others create tweets (less than 140 characters, for the Twitter novices) using the hashtag “#IUPedsGrRounds”.

The hashtag functions as an indexing tool, allowing faculty in attendance to provide real-time information about the content as well as commentary. This allows other physicians and interested parties to follow along and providing evidence of a reach beyond just the participants in the room. When broken down into different themes of Research-related, Clinical-related, Education-related, or Advocacy-related, those sessions on Advocacy provided the highest number of “retweets” or comments about the content.

Like most new technology, social media is accompanied by positive and negative consequences, both intended and unintended. Maintaining a professional and informative tone is a necessity to make this type of endeavor successful. Additionally, the benefits of a social media presence are still being undetermined, as are the metrics of success. One certainty is that the connections provided by social media are changing the face of health care; patients are using these platforms to connect to information and each other, and health care providers must do the same to stay relevant.

Digital-Opportunities's curator insight, November 25, 2013 6:56 AM

Superb Article on How Technology is Breathing Life in Our Lives !!!

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Does age affect doctors’ adoption of technology?

Does age affect doctors’ adoption of technology? | Social Media and Healthcare |

I love the dialogue happening today on Susannah Fox‘s blog, where a group of readers ponder whether there’s a generational divide in regards to physicians’ use of digital technology. The post is in part a response to a post from Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH, who argues that technology will lead to massive changes in health care only “when the under-40 generation takes control.”

One physician wrote to Fox that she felt “there was a divide, but it doesn’t seem to pattern itself on gender, or age, or comfort with technology.” She told a story of implementing a secure physician/ patient e-mail system and being surprised when some of the “young, online natives” – those she thought would full embrace the program – had issues with it.

Another reader agreed, saying he believed it’s “not just a technology and/or age issue but a mindset issue. I’ve encountered a number of MDs who are very authoritative in their interactions with patients. I believe new technologies – especially those with a significant social component – can be seen as a challenge to authority.”

And speaking of social, a pediatrician wondered about the connection between his patients and his social-media activities. He’s fairly active on Twitter, he said, but most of his followers are other doctors and those in health care. “The overwhelming majority of health-care is still done in a face-to-face setting and I feel it will continue to be so for a while to come,” he wrote. “So, how does what I do in the on-line world actually benefit my patients? Do they actually see what I do online as having benefit for them?”

A commenter named Erin expressed her desire for evidence on such patient benefits:

I believe that docs who engage with patients outside of the traditional clinical space are showing their willingness to collaborate and learn things together. If there was data to show some sort of relationship between [social media] doc usage and patient involvement/ adherence/compliance whatever, more clinicians might be willing to embrace the idea, regardless of age, seeing the value of its use.

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The Socio-Digital Doctor

The Socio-Digital Doctor | Social Media and Healthcare |

I come across many people using the terms social and digital interchangeably. Some doctors are digitally savvy. Yet that does not mean that they are practiced communications experts, or that they have the skills to make the most of today’s digital social tools. I thought this might be a good opportunity to open up this discussion.

As physicians, we were among the first professionals to adopt smartphones and iPads into our workflow – and healthcare leads the way in proliferating new, innovative apps. From diagnostics to practice management, healthcare technology is giving digital doctors the chance to make their workflow more productive and efficient.

However, while social media has become ubiquitous in countless professions, many digital doctors are only “social” when it comes to physician-to-physician social media. The real promise, in my opinion, is using digital technology to improve physician-to-patient communications.

Don’t get me wrong: Using social media to advance industry knowledge or to grow a professional network is very important. But the incredible scope of insights, knowledge, and understanding we can get from patients, patient support groups, and individuals who are seeking health information online is something we shouldn’t pass up.

There is also much more patients can learn from us, their trusted advisors. Being a social doctor means you are interested in collaborating, sharing information, and lending your expertise, be it clinical knowledge or your ability to facilitate patient-to-patient connections and even physician referrals. When we draw on not just social media but also other digital tools to do this, we start to translate what it means to be a doctor in the online world. We go socio-digital, if you will.

These are the challenges for the 21st century physician: Bringing what we do to where our patients increasingly are – online. How do you use digital tools for effective social communications with peers, and with patients?

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An Exploratory Infodemiology Study on Electronic Word of Mouth on #Twitter About Physical Activity in the US

An Exploratory Infodemiology Study on Electronic Word of Mouth on #Twitter About Physical Activity in the US | Social Media and Healthcare |

Twitter is a widely used social medium. However, its application in promoting health behaviors is understudied.

In order to provide insights into designing health marketing interventions to promote physical activity on Twitter, this exploratory infodemiology study applied both social cognitive theory and the path model of online word of mouth to examine the distribution of different electronic word of mouth (eWOM) characteristics among personal tweets about physical activity in the United States.

This study used 113 keywords to retrieve 1 million public tweets about physical activity in the United States posted between January 1 and March 31, 2011. A total of 30,000 tweets were randomly selected and sorted based on numbers generated by a random number generator. Two coders scanned the first 16,100 tweets and yielded 4672 (29.02%) tweets that they both agreed to be about physical activity and were from personal accounts. Finally, 1500 tweets were randomly selected from the 4672 tweets (32.11%) for further coding. After intercoder reliability scores reached satisfactory levels in the pilot coding (100 tweets separate from the final 1500 tweets), 2 coders coded 750 tweets each. Descriptive analyses, Mann-Whitney U tests, and Fisher exact tests were performed.

Results: Tweets about physical activity were dominated by neutral sentiments (1270/1500, 84.67%). Providing opinions or information regarding physical activity (1464/1500, 97.60%) and chatting about physical activity (1354/1500, 90.27%) were found to be popular on Twitter.

Approximately 60% (905/1500, 60.33%) of the tweets demonstrated users’ past or current participation in physical activity or intentions to participate in physical activity. However, social support about physical activity was provided in less than 10% of the tweets (135/1500, 9.00%). Users with fewer people following their tweets (followers) (P=.02) and with fewer accounts that they followed (followings) (P=.04) were more likely to talk positively about physical activity on Twitter.

People with more followers were more likely to post neutral tweets about physical activity (P=.04). People with more followings were more likely to forward tweets (P=.04). People with larger differences between number of followers and followings were more likely to mention companionship support for physical activity on Twitter (P=.04).

Conclusions: Future health marketing interventions promoting physical activity should segment Twitter users based on their number of followers, followings, and gaps between the number of followers and followings.

The innovative application of both marketing and public health theory to examine tweets about physical activity could be extended to other infodemiology or infoveillance studies on other health behaviors (eg, vaccinations).

more at

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Hospitals, late to social media, begin to connect with patients online

Hospitals, late to social media, begin to connect with patients online | Social Media and Healthcare |

Health care organizations are late adopters of social media; as recently as 2009, a Brooklyn-based physician told the magazine Health Affairs that the medical profession "is fundamentally flawed relative to how today's world communicates and functions. ... It needs to be Facebook-ed (and) wiki-ed."

But now providers have joined the hospitality, entertainment and retail industries in using Facebook, along with Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and more to connect with their customers.

The goal of social media efforts is "to engage our community members in meaningful, two-way conversations and in doing so build brand awareness and customer loyalty," said Jenn Dearborn, Web manager for Concord Hospital in New Hampshire. She handles the hospital's social media content and strategy and the hospital's internal and external websites.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, also in New Hampshire, has had a full-time social media coordinator for the past year.

"It's hard work. This person is supposed to gauge the landscape, taking in, monitoring, listening to the conversation and looking beyond what people are saying on our pages to what people are saying about other providers, and what are they saying in the wellness space about how they can stay out of the hospital," said Roddy Young, Dartmouth-Hitchcock's vice president for communications and marketing.

His department is committed to maintaining its presence on social media because that's where people are and it's what they expect, he said.

"The way people consume music, media and movies, how they shop, how they access higher learning, it's all changed in unbelievable ways ... Someone who is 28 and lives life in the digital space, they want their health care experience to conform to the way they interact with other companies. We're trying to do the right thing to serve the wants and needs of the consumer and the demands of the consumer to have it served up at home, in real time, on their time."

For example, just last week, a patient wrote a Facebook post saying her dermatologist is "far from thorough," and asked for a number to call for a second opinion. The page moderator posted back less than 20 minutes later with a phone number for the dermatology department in Lebanon.

Two minutes after that, the patient posted a note of thanks.

Social media interactions aren't always so rosy.

In June, a Facebook user posted about his disappointment that most of the beverage options at the cafeteria are diet products, claiming the diet ingredient aspartame causes cancer and migraines. The next afternoon, the moderator posted a reply from a staff dietician. She noted that the cafeteria stocks naturally sugar-free options, and that the jury's still out on aspartame.

The good news, socially-speaking? Two other posters chimed in and had a conversation about what does and doesn't trigger their migraines.

No organization is going to hear only praise once it connects to the social-media hive, and there's no point trying to sweep digital complaints under the rug, said Brian DeKoning, director of social strategy for digital agency Raka.

"Really, any organization is going to hear complaints, whether they're on social media or not," DeKoning said. "Social media gives an organization an opportunity to respond quickly and be part of the conversation, rather than not know there are negative comments happening. For any organization, it's a benefit to be part of the conversation sooner rather than later."

One of the biggest challenges for health care organizations is the patience it takes to build a following on networks like Twitter.

"We have a lot of savvy people here, but the aggregation, the numbers you'd get in a market like Boston, that just isn't here," said Young. "We post, but we haven't hit resonance, but we're not going to stop."

That's good, DeKoning said.

Twitter, with its 140-character limit on posts, is an especially good way for health care organizations to interact with people, he said.

"It breaks down the barriers their traditional communications have to adhere to. If you've ever read a press release from a hospital, it's very formal and concerned with legality. Usually it's been edited by five different people. Twitter breaks that down and allows people to one-to-one communications, if the organization allows it.

"And the audience is there. Or, the audience will be there sooner or later."

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What's News in Healthcare Social Media

A recent InCrowd survey reported that 59% of those surveyed did not have access to social sites inside their hospitals. Even more telling was how those "not ...
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Take Two Aspirin And Tweet Me In The Morning: How Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media Are Reshaping Health Care

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Ten DOs and DON’Ts of Healthcare Social Media Marketing

Ten DOs and DON’Ts of Healthcare Social Media Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare |

When it comes to using social media to market to patients, healthcare organizations need to walk a fine line between being accessible and engaging while still retaining professionalism and credibility. With the abundance of available information on how to develop an effective social media marketing strategy, getting your bearings can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why we’re simplifying things today with a clear-cut Do and Do Not list. While each healthcare organization’s marketing strategy is individualized to their particular needs, these hard and fast rules will keep your social media habits in check.  

10 Healthcare Social Media Marketing DOs and DON'Ts
  1. DO take it slow. As tempting as it can be to jump headfirst into developing a presence on numerous social media sites, you want to make sure you take the necessary time to think about the information your healthcare organization is putting out there. It might feel like you’re behind the curve, but don’t worry—there’s time to catch up and you don’t want to rush it.
  2. DON’T be afraid to lurk. One of the best ways to get your feet wet when you’re learning to navigate a new social media site is to observe. Don’t hesitate to click around and see how other healthcare organizations and professionals are establishing their presence. Take notes on what seems to be working and consider how you can apply their social media marketing strategies to your company’s needs.
  3. DO show some personality. Yes, you want to maintain the professionalism of your organization, but you also want to allow your patients to get to know you. This might seem like a bigger challenge for larger healthcare organizations than individual practices, but that makes it even more important. Having a relatable personality that your patients and perspective patients can recognize works to establish trust and loyalty.
  4. DON’T shy away from negative feedback. Though critical comments on your social media pages certainly aren’t ideal, ignoring them—or worse, deleting them—will do more harm than good. Acknowledging and responding to negative feedback shows and commitment to growth and improved service to your patients. However, there’s always a line. If you’re facing an internet “troll” who isn’t bringing anything productive to the conversation, don’t indulge the debate further than a polite initial response.
  5. DO engage with patients and followers. If someone posts on your healthcare organization’s Facebook wall or Tweets a note, do your best to respond, even if it’s just a quick thank you. Obviously this depends on the volume of interactions and how realistic they may or may not be to keep up with, but the more engagement you can bring to your social media presence, the better.
  6. DON’T post personal patient information. Though this should almost go without being said, being mindful of patient privacy is always worth mentioning. Even if a patient initiates the contact and reveals personal information publically, you should direct the conversation away from social media. Provide a phone number or alternate contact means to address their issue. [Related: Develop aSmart Social Media Policy]
  7. DO vary your content. Rather than always just linking to your latest blog post, keep your content fresh and interesting by also posting videos, photographs, and articles of interest. Take care not to fall into the trap of only using social media to promote your own content. Rather than just using your social media marketing to increase traffic to your website, you’re also aiming to forge connections with patients and establish your healthcare organization as a resource. 
  8. DON’T over-post. Maintaining an active presence is important to your social media marketing strategy, but over-posting can be just as big of a turn off to your followers. The best rule of thumb is to post at a frequency that allows you to maintain your purpose. Don’t bombard your followers with unnecessary posts and risk losing their interest. 
  9. DO be flexible. The marketing needs of your healthcare organization will likely change over time, as will your social media marketing strategy. Adapting your strategy over time and learning from what works and what doesn’t is the key to effective marketing. While it’s great to begin your strategy with a clear plan, be flexible when things don’t work as well as you’d like. 
  10. DON’T forget to use social media marketing analytics. Take the guesswork out of it and rely on the numbers to inform the choices you make. Knowing which posts generate the most traffic to your website or lead to the acquisition of more followers is essential to evaluating your marketing process.
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How Social Media can Help your Medical Practice Get More Clients

How Social Media can Help your Medical Practice Get More Clients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Most medical practice websites today rely on some form of social networking or social media marketing to help their company reach strategic goals. Social media websites do an excellent job at sorting their users into smaller networks. It makes your job of targeting them much easier with your message. This article will discuss the powerful concepts behind social media marketing.


You must first understand what a social media website is before you can truly utilize the features that it brings to the table. All social media sites require you to create a personal profile. You will use this profile as your business card when encountering the rest of the world. Sites like YouTube focus on user-published content and grouping users that find the same content relevant, engaging or entertaining.

Social media allows medical practices to spend less money on securing a place for their content or advertisement. They can put their saved money into producing quality advertisements instead. The networks and media will handle most of the marketing for you if it is a well-designed piece of content.

Social media has a variety of popular sites and strategies. It is best to choose social media sites that have a substantial user-base. Each different site will have its own strengths, features, and audiences that you can utilize. Start by listing the different sites used most often and finding out if your clients use them.

As long as you can produce excellent content, you can easily incorporate social media into your medical marketing strategies. It may begin as simple as a bookmark, favicon, or embedded video, but it will get your practice exposed to the public. The traffic will begin following close behind. The further your video spirals through your client’s friends list, emails, and social networks that you target, the more people will become exposed to its content.

If your media catches on once, don’t let it stop. You should post your content on a regular schedule. When your posts catch on over a period of time, potential clients will want to know when they can expect your content. When certain content makes noticeable changes on your practice, find out what the clients liked or disliked about the content. Alter your strategy when it doesn’t work.

There are many potential clients looking for answers. Apply the tips above and return with the content that answers their needs.

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Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine

Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine | Social Media and Healthcare |

Dr Joe-Anthony Rotella, in a letter to the editor in the latest Early View issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia, the journal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, describes his investigation into the use of Twitter by individuals or organisations involved in clinical toxicology and poison control. 

With Dr Anselm Wong and Dr Shaun Greene, all from the Victorian Poisons Information Centre in the Emergency Department of Austin Health, Dr Rotella conducted an audit of Twitter in August 2013. 

Using the in-built search engine, with "poison", "poison control", and "toxicology" as search keywords, the audit yielded a sample of 51 relevant accounts with an average of 1,084 followers. 

Nearly 34 were organisations (including @Erowid, a user reporting and harm minimisation website for recreational drug use), of which 20 were poison control center accounts. 

17 were individual clinicians working in the field of clinical toxicology and/or poison control. 

Of those accounts, 38 accounts had sent out a tweet relating to toxicology in the past 90 days: 1418 were tweets with information relating to diagnosis, management, investigation or conferences; 1042 contained links to articles via journals, PubMed or other websites; 10 were photos of relevant material; and 8 were links to videos. 

Also observed were a number of hashtags, such as #FOAMtox, which provided another means for users to discuss matters relating to clinical toxicology. 

"Emergency medicine clinicians can use Twitter as a means to further enhance their knowledge and obtain up-to-date information on toxicology," Dr Rotella said. 

"Social media also offers a means for similarly interested individuals to connect across the world," he said. 

"Whilst informative, as with all medical literature, the same process for critical appraisal should be applied to information obtained from Twitter." 

Twitter has been previously reported as a rapid means of disseminating medical information, specifically the H1N1 epidemic.

Read more: Research Reveals Importance Of Social Media Usage In Medicine | Medindia

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Medical Imaging Software enables sharing to social media

Medical Imaging Software enables sharing to social media | Social Media and Healthcare |
Anonymizing selected CT, MRI, and X-Ray images, Medical Image Sharing Module allows users to share images to social-media platforms from reading workstations or dedicated viewing apps. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow shared images to be uploaded to private healthcare and hospital social media groups in secure and HIPAA-compliant manner. Security-focused module incorporates preview mode to validate that images are anonymized before being posted. 

Paxeramed, a leading medical imaging solution developer based in Boston, MA has launched the industry's first medical imaging sharing module to social media.

The image sharing module anonymizes selected CT, MRI and X-Ray images and allows users to share it to social-media platforms from their reading workstations or dedicated viewing apps. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow the shared images to be uploaded to private healthcare and hospital social media groups in a secure and HIPAA compliant manner.

"Paxeramed image sharing module allows radiologists to share images to social media for second opinion or interactive teaching purposes. Patients can also post their medical images from their patient healthcare portal (PHR) via Paxera image sharing module," Dr. Shoura, Managing Director of Paxeramed said.

"The tool grants easy access for radiologists to share anonymized images and allows users to interact with peers, referring physicians and students for a more proactive and meaningful experience. By utilizing a powerful resource like Facebook, we empower the radiology community to access millions of medical images on the Facebook network. Radiologists can instantly learn peers' feedback by consulting an image through social media's likes, shares and comments" Dr. Shoura added.

The security-focused module incorporates a preview mode to validate that images are anonymized before being posted. The tool delivers enterprise-grade security control through enabling or disabling the feature based on administrator-configured retention policy.

The tool is 510(k) cleared and is set to be a breakthrough in leveraging radiology training and lifelong teaching.
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Social Media Marketing for Doctors

Social Media Marketing for Doctors | Social Media and Healthcare |

The Internet is a gathering place for information, services, and products. Everyone is taking advantage of social media websites to help promote and sell products. Physicians and other healthcare industry employees can utilize social media to market their services as well. They can also keep in close contact with patients while they are not in the office. Here is some information about how many medical professionals are taking advantage of the marketplace that has been created on social media websites.

Understanding the Average Patient

To understand how medical professionals are using social media websites, you need to understand  the average patient that they see today. A large number of people, long before they ever think about going to a doctor, look up information on how to treat or what they can do to treat their ailments on the internet. They find an answer that will subdue them for the time being and return to their daily lives. If the problem gets worse or does not go away, they will then search out the help of a doctor.

SEO Strategy and Digital Marketing for Medical Professionals

The first thing that this tells you is that Search Engine Optimization for doctors and healthcare professionals, is handled much differently than other industries. The custom content that gets developed with SEO keywords in mind will have to do with the diseases or issues of a patient. Put yourself in the shoes of a chiropractor. When deciding on what custom content and keywords that will work best for your site, you must think about what someone that was suffering from something you treat would ask a search engine. So keywords and content will focus on something like” how to crack your back”, “what causes back pain”, or “how to stop back pain”.

Another Useful Tool

There are much better resources available to medical professionals that can help bring even more quality traffic to your website. By connecting with users and current patients on social media websites, you can build an reputation for yourself and attract a few of the million social network users that log on every day. Something like this is time consuming and takes a lot of dedication. To get the best results, contact adigital marketing firm and discuss with they can do for you.

Social Media Marketing

As the popularity of social media sites grows, so does the popularity of healthcare professionals using the services to advertise. By having someone posting original content to a social media site on a daily basis, you can hopefully attract some customers. If the SEO professional that you hired  is really doing his job, then your would have fresh  and relevant custom content posted on a daily basis that linked back to your website.

The Next Step

Once you have built a website full of custom content rich in keywords, have brought your brand to the world through social media sites, and began to spend time in the online community talking to prospective clients about the things that are bothering them, you should start to see some results from your hard work.

Building and Online Review Strategy

Once you have made an effort to be a member of the social community and start connecting with some of your old clients, you should ask them to leave you a review on your website. If you do not have somewhere that visitors to your site can leave reviews and discuss information, make sure that you do it. You should also print the web address to your site’s little online community on your business card and ask every client you see to leave reviews. Reviews are a powerful tool that can drive sales remarkably. Even though visitors to your website do not know who is posting at all, they trust their advice. This is just another thing that proves just how powerful word of mouth advertisement is.

As a medical professional, there are many things you can do online to boost your sales. By creating custom content with key phrases that are relevant to what a medical patience would ask, visitors will come to your site to find information and find themselves a doctor instead. By connecting with your clients on social media websites, you can build an online branding that people are talking about and offers informative and interesting custom content to the world that draws visitors from Google. Finally, by having a review section on your website and your social media site, customers will be more likely to trust you and your work.

Social Jeanie's curator insight, December 4, 2013 12:34 PM

So very true. Online is the new word of mouth advertising.

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Social MD: The Many Benefits of Social Media

Social MD: The Many Benefits of Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Using social media to interact with patients will certainly drive traffic to your site, but have you ever thought about how social media can help your patients?

Here are a few examples of ways 
doctors and hospitals can use social media to engage, inspire and even motivate patients.

  • Engage: Mayo Clinic engaged a number of patients in a groundbreaking research project regarding the rare heart disease spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). Because of the rarity of the disease research in large numbers was difficult until the doctors used social media as a way to contact and connect with diagnosed and potential sufferers—culling the largest study to date for SCAD.
  • Inspire: Boston’s Children’s Hospital has an active Facebook page that is, in and of itself, inspiring. With regular posts that call out the hospital’s accomplishments, highlights donation opportunities and even shares success stories of former patients (with their consent) .
  • Motivate: Use your social media page or newsfeed to motivate patients to make, or keep appointments, disseminate information or send messages of positive reinforcement.  One doctor, a bariatric surgeon, uses his Facebook page and Twitter feed to send out messages like “you’re closer today than you were yesterday to your goal weight, keep up the good work!”

No matter what your message is, social media is a great way to keep your practice fresh in your patient’s consciousness or at the very least in their newsfeed.

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How can physicians use social media to their benefit?

How can physicians use social media to their benefit? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has become the new medium where people from all walks of life are interacting and sharing their experiences. Be it on the micro-blogging website, Twitter, or the more interactive and engaging Facebook or even the video-sharing portal YouTube, there is hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of data being shared across some of the most famous social media platforms every day.

Healthcare industry has largely benefited from the advent of social media. Physicians, hospitals, healthcare centers, specialists and professionals are using the platform to connect and share knowledge-base in order to improve the health of an average American. As per an estimate, nearly 44% of US adults are using social media platforms to research about their illnesses and seek answers for their issues.

Let me share a few tips for aspiring physicians who have not joined the social media bandwagon as yet.

  1. Join LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the biggest professional networking platform. It helps you connect, share and receive updates from not only healthcare providers, but also from industry leaders and professionals. Join as many groups related to healthcare industry as possible and it will serve as a great source of news every day.
  2. Follow hashtags on Twitter: Look for specific hashtags related to a practice or medical topic and start following it regularly to receive updates from everyone present on the network. It can serve as a great source through which up-to-date information can be shared or discussed.
  3. Related videos on YouTube: A picture speaks a thousand words. A video? Maybe a million. Videos are a great source of learning for anyone. Look for videos related to the industry and any particular specialty that is of concern. Many EHR vendors are promoting their videos on the network in order to educate the physicians and help them understand the industry better. One such vendor is CureMD. Click here to find out more about the product on YouTube.

In addition to these, there are many other social media platforms which a physician can use to enrich his understanding on a subject and remain updated with industry trends. Social media is the future of communication for sure and physicians who are not familiar with the trend might be left behind.

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Social media “likes” healthcare

Social media “likes” healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has invaded health care from at least three fronts: innovative startups, patient communities and medical centers. The Health 2.0 movement has nurtured dozens of startups with creative concepts to revolutionize health care: tools from vertical search and social networks to health content aggregators and wellness tools.

Patient communities are flourishing in an environment rich with social networks, both through mainline social communities and condition-specific communities. Meanwhile, hospitals and academic medical centers are diving into the social media mix with more than 300 YouTube channels and 500 Twitter accounts. Hospitals are moving from experimentation (Twittering from the OR to Flipcam videos) to strategic use of social media to enhance brand loyalty and recruit new patients. They are taking on monitoring and monetization of social media.

At the same time, health care organizations find challenges in adopting social media. Hospitals and medical practices are risk adverse and generally cautious about new technology trends without clear value. There are questions about whether social media use by hospital employees is a waste of time, or even worse, or leaking proprietary information. Hospital IT departments are concerned about security risks, such as the use of, which can mask malicious Web sites. Privacy concerns, particularly the vulnerability of social media accounts, are also cited as a reason to avoid social media.

Current Trends in Social Media

Current trends to watch in social media in health care include:

Managing a conversation;
Engaging e-patients;
Convergence with personal health records; and
Social media for providers.

An important distinction in this two-way conversation is between medical advice and medical information. Hospitals and providers need to walk a fine line between giving specific medical advice in the relatively public forums of social media and providing more generalized medical information.

At the same time, there are ways to create a conversation with health care consumers. Sites like have provided this kind of information using medical experts to answer patient-submitted questions in general terms. For instance, promoting wellness is a win-win; medical information relevant to many is provided without specific medical advice for a patient’s medical condition.

The rise of e-Patients creates many opportunities for engagement. E-Patients are defined as those “who are equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged in their health and health care decisions.” E-patients can provide feedback not only on improving hospital Web sites but also as participants in quality improvement within the health system.

PHRs and Online Communities

As the similarities between online patient communities  and PHRs begins to blur, will PHR information from providers be shared with online communities with the appropriate privacy settings so that the user can decide what to share?

Recording one’s medical condition online and abandoning privacy are part of the “Quantified Self” movement.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Project Health Design uses the concept of “Observations of Daily Living,” which extends the quantified self to behavioral self-observations. The next step in quantified self is self-monitoring, also known as home monitoring and telemedicine. Being quantified in terms of one’s weight, blood pressure or blood glucose provides another way of self-monitoring and participatory medicine.

Some are predicting that in the near future, multiple monitoring devices will be phased out to give way to connections with smart phones that will record and transmit medical monitoring data directly to a PHR. Innovators, such as Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault, as well as edgy startups, will provide the conduit from smart phones to the cloud.

Social Media for Providers

Finally, a relatively untapped resource is the use of social media among medical professionals. If anything, there have been negative stories about abuses and misuses of social media by health professionals and questions about the ethics of connecting with patients online.

Currently, few health care professionals see the value in social networking with other physicians, or they are not convinced that the benefits are worth the time. Although well over 90% of physicians use the Internet for continuing education, medical reference and e-mail with colleagues and a majority of doctors have a smart phone, taking the leap into online communities is less common.

Perhaps current business models dependent on financial incentives and industry sponsorship in exchange for private data have not engaged physicians. Could a different model that provides privacy and collaboration in the context of a community of similar interests demonstrate value and promote adoption?

Future Evolution of Social Media

Social media is here to stay in health care, but it will evolve quickly. Patient engagement will continue to characterize this change. Organizations will use social media tactically within their overall marketing and communications efforts — videos and mobile technology will likely dominate these approaches.

Online patient communities will expand and will become a rich source of information for others. Physicians and other health care providers will discover social media, which will have the potential of progressing medical research.

There may be regular news reports of privacy violations, dangerous misinformation and fraud promoted via social media, but these reports are not likely to stop a wave of innovation and conversation.

Tina M Carrington's curator insight, June 17, 2015 1:54 PM

I see the innovative startups, patient communities and medical centers are only the beginning of the media invasion of healthcare.  Privacy violations have been happening long before this invasion, so steps need to be taken to ensure patient protection.  

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Bringing Social Media to Medical Education

Bringing Social Media to Medical Education | Social Media and Healthcare |

Providing hard data about the extent of social media use regarding healthcare, Ms. Fox made a strong case for medical professionals to meet their patients where they are. Dr. Pho acknowledged that while there are legitimate professionalism concerns about social media use by physicians, they can be handled, and the benefits that can accrue to patients outweigh the risks. I went home, drafted this blog post and signed up to follow both speakers on Twitter. Then I reflected on my own social media trajectory.

A number of years ago, when my kids were still in high school, I asked if I could “friend” them on Facebook. They looked at me with disdain and didn’t bother to reply. Now mature twenty-somethings, they have allowed me in—admittedly using high-privacy settings so that I can view only certain posts they generate. I think they felt sorry for me, realizing that I was working on a project related to social media and I didn’t know much about it.

The project—“Social Media and Medical Professionalism: Perfect Match or Perfect Storm?”—is supported by a grant from the Institute of Medicine as a Profession and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. It developed from the recognition that the emergence of social media has altered every aspect of society, and medicine is no exception. Doctors tweet to get advice about challenging cases. Patients blog about their experiences with illnesses. And medical students…well, we weren’t entirely sure how medical students used social media, although they seemed constantly engaged. We hoped they used social media with appropriate caution.

Social media seemed foreign at first. But as with any complex project, if you break it down into pieces and assemble the right group of bright, hardworking people, you can make progress quickly. Our seasoned steering committee of medical educators and social media experts consists of Marti Grayson, Felise Milan, Patrick Herron, Dan Myers, Mimi McEvoy, Jacki Weingarten, Chris Coyle, Paul Moniz and David Flores.

The first task was to educate our faculty in order to bridge the “digital divide,” wherein the students knew more than their teachers. Building on a successful 2012 faculty event called Davidoff Education Day that featured social media experts Katherine Chretien and Kent Bottles, we held several more educational events.

In September 2012, we hosted David Stern, M.D., an expert in medical professionalism from Mount Sinai, and Allison H. Fine, an author, speaker and blogger on social media issues. They joined members of Einstein’s faculty to talk about professionalism in the connected age and how best to teach medical students about social media. A workshop focused on challenging patient scenarios involving social media followed the lectures. This workshop was presented at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare on September 30 in Montreal.

After hearing concerns about how social media use could adversely affect a physician’s professional image, we wanted to learn how it could be used in positive ways. So on June 14 this year, Farris Timimi, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Center for Social Media, traveled to Einstein to talk about how healthcare providers can use social media to engage professionally and effectively with patients online in a session called “Health Care Social Media in the Digital Era.”

As our faculty members ramp up their social media expertise, we have begun to conduct some interesting research about how we—as well as our students—use social media at Einstein. We presented preliminary results at the Research in Medical Education (RIME) meeting in Philadelphia on November 4. We have also introduced social media into the curriculum of three of our preclinical courses. As we enter the second year of the grant, we look forward to engaging our third-year students in a project to determine how our own Bronx patient population uses social media.

The goal is to create additional channels for meaningful connections between doctor and patient and to develop and share content that will improve the patient’s health—a lofty aim, but one that we eagerly aspire to reach.

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Hospital CIOs Turn To Social Media

Hospital CIOs Turn To Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), representing hospital CIOs, is trying to position its members as leaders in IT implementation and knowledge sharing at the state level by incorporating more social media into a redesigned website. At its annual Fall CIO Forum last week in San Antonio, CHIME unveiled an updated CHIME CIO State Network, StateNet, now with social networking as a focal point.

StateNet is intended to be a communications platform rather than just a repository of information, featuring integration with popular social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, according to Jeffery Smith, CHIME's assistant director of advocacy. "What I call it is an engagement platform," said Smith, who was hired in March to evaluate and improve the site.

"The tagline is, it's a network of networks," Smith told InformationWeek Healthcare. StateNet will now incorporate widgets from other social and professional networking sites and include blogs and discussion forums, convened and moderated by CHIME members serving as state coordinators.

State coordinators are acting as conveners for other stakeholders in health IT, including state hospital associations, government entities, and state chapters of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Coordinators will have specific goals and objectives for disseminating best practices and advocating on behalf of health IT professionals. "This isn't meant to supplant anything that's going on [elsewhere], but to supplement it," Smith said. However, he added, "We're really making a push to make it a CIO-led effort."

CHIME tested the new site with a soft launch in August. New Jersey was one of the beta testers, led by Neal Ganguly, VP and CIO at Freehold, N.J.-based CentraState. Since then, a number of stakeholders within New Jersey have joined, including the state’s health IT coordinator, Colleen Woods, who was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie. Currently, 16 states have set up their own pages on the revamped StateNet, according to Smith.

The CIO organization created StateNet in 2009 to serve as a hub for health information exchange (HIE)-related activities in each state. Early this year, the organization published a set of guiding principles for HIE and for the federally funded regional extension centers (RECs) created to assist physician practices and small and rural hospitals with adoption of electronic health records.

CHIME has since seen more interest among its membership in influencing the pending rules for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use electronic health record incentive program, training health information management professionals to alleviate a workforce shortage, and addressing various elements of healthcare reform. Much of the activities have moved from the national level to states and local markets, though.

"The expansion and refinement of health information exchange operations; rollouts of Regional Extension Center service utilization for stage 1 Meaningful Use; and the development of health IT workforce capacity are all areas where states can and should be engaging with 'boots on the ground,'" StateNet chair Russ Branzell, CIO and VP of Poudre Valley Health System in Fort Collins, Colo., wrote on a CHIME blog.

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Ten Reasons to Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Medical Practice

Ten Reasons to Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Medical Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

1. Social media is here to stay. Studies show that 18 percent of all time spent online is spent on social media; some studies report one in five minutes a day! You need to be there, in front of people, as this is a huge opportunity and the medical field as a whole supports jumping on this form of marketing.

2. New patient acquisition is the biggest hurdle for most clinics. Social media is the most cost-effective and targeted way to reach your prospective patients.

3. Social media helps you build relationships. Whether with current patients and their families or prospective new patients, social media makes it easy to stay in the forefront of their minds, by lending yourself to becoming a resource. Having a large social media base can even help you to assess adding particular services or products.

4. Everyone loves Facebook. A number of reports state that Facebook is the most influential social network with the most diverse user base. Use a personal page to promote your clinic and healthcare providers. Personal pages are more prominent in news feeds and give more opportunity to interact with your fans, i.e. wishing them "Happy Birthday." (It is also important to have a business page (aka a "fan page") for the practice for SEO purposes.)

5. Images of office life are the most important pieces of the social media DISCUSSION. People buy from people, not nameless, faceless, soulless businesses. Posting images and pictures of day-to-day life even on a clinic page is key to building a sense of community around your brand.

6. Social media influences search engine rankings. And having great search engine rankings improves your chances of being found when Betty types into Google "family practice in XYZ city."

7. Social media is the new "search engine." Many people look to social media to find the places and services they are looking for.

8. Social media offers the most highly targeted marketing opportunities. Less than a decade ago, if you wanted customers you might have to advertise on the radio or send out mailers. Today, reaching the specific prospective patient you are looking for is simple. You can drill down and target people down to their age, gender, geography, and interests.

9. Social media gives you more insight into your patients. By seeing which social media outlets are garnering the most "likes" or discussion feedback on healthcare issues (for example, links to important articles on timely material such as the benefits of the flu vaccine) you can get insight into your patients' worlds. Also: You cannot do it all, so once you have this information, pick two to three social media outlets where your ideal patients hang out, and be great at utilizing those.

10. There are people out there to help. For example, our company has a "Teach You to Fish" Program and a "Fish for You" Program to help you develop you social media marketing strategies for your practice.

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Allison Emma Schizkoske's curator insight, December 5, 2013 3:49 PM

I 100% agree with the first point. Social media is here to stay. As well as social media is the new "search engine" People look up products and services on facebook to see what others are saying about them. 

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Getting Started with Social Media in Healthcare

Getting Started with Social Media in Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare |

In today’s digital world, social media is having a profound effect on the way information is being conveyed and shared within the healthcare industry. More and more breaking news, clinical studies and new industry reports are being shared and tweeted through social media. 

Clinical nursing professionals are signing up, creating accounts, sharing information and increasing their presence across social sites. If you haven’t already joined in the movement, now is the time for you to get involved. Here are some simple tips from Medline on how to get started with social media and become a part of the social conversation.

Create Your Social Persona

If you’re not already using social media, get started by joining some of the more prominently used social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Signing up for these sites is quick, free and requires minimal information. One rule of thumb to remember when creating your account and building your profile is that honesty is the best and most respectable policy. The more real you are with your profile information, bio, etc. the more likely people, brands and organizations will want to follow you.

To Follow or Not to Follow

After you have created your profile, you’ll want to decide who to follow. Think about your interests, websites you enjoy, writers you respect, thought leaders you admire, and seek out their social media accounts and profiles. Once you find those accounts, you can then follow and/or subscribe to their social media profile to receive their latest updates, tweets and posts. 

As you begin to follow more accounts, people and brands, you will eventually find more accounts of interest and slowly build up the number of sites adding information to your social feed.

Search and Research

Each day, every minute, and every second, there are millions of messages being sent out from various social media accounts. Those messages can range from breaking news from the @CDCgov regarding the latest information on influenza, to new blog posts from healthcare bloggers like @MarkGraban. 

You can search and research relevant information related to your interests by using hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that have the hash sign (#) in front of them. For example, if you wanted to see what’s happening in healthcare news, you would search #Healthcare. 

This can be done across almost all social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+, just to name a few. You can also get more detailed results by using a more specific hashtag such as #InfectionPrevention, which will pull up all specific posts, articles and messages related to infection prevention. Social search is a wonderful tool that can help you find people, businesses, and organizations that fall into your specific interest group.

Share and Retweet

One of the best ways to become more involved with social media is through sharing, retweeting and forwarding information. On Twitter, when you want to share a tweet that you found interesting, you retweet it, meaning you re-send that very same message. 

If you share a message on Facebook or on LinkedIn, you are sharing that post and update with all of those individuals that you are connected to. Most original authors love when you share their content and may even show appreciation for your efforts by thanking you via social media in a tweet or message. 

Also, through sharing and retweeting, those who follow you will appreciate your sharing relevant and useful content they may find interesting as well.

Join the Conversation

It’s important with social media not only to get active, but to be vocal. Consistency is the key to staying engaged. Check your social sites often to engage with other users, comment on interesting posts and share your thoughts on the latest news, updates or findings. 

The more engaged you are as a social media user, the more likely you are to attract and grow your following and increase your social influence. When attending healthcare-related events or tradeshows, find out the hashtag for the event and send out tweets, posts or photos using that hashtag. 

You’ll be amazed by the connections you will make!

These 5 tips are just a starting point. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your own research, and read other people’s posts before diving into the deep-end of social media. Everything takes time, and social media is constantly changing with new updates, sites and rollouts every day. 

Start slow, build up momentum and confidence and find what interests you most. The social world is out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.

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