Want to understand social media? Physicians wanting to learn about social media must learn transparency. We must learn transparency on a personal level and also learn how to operate our medical practices with the same transparency as any other small business.
Our patients (and our prospective patients) now define “great” doctors as those who are willing to display transparency, that is, doctors must be willing to show a human side.
For us to distinguish ourselves from each other, we must respond to a digital society who now demands transparency, engagement and a review system of its doctors.
People “who” are doctors
The era of scarcity “marketing” is over thanks to the Internet. Access to information (right or wrong) has empowered our patients and is forcing medicine to become a consumer driven market.
Patients are searching for people who are doctors. Individuals who are “people” first and “doctors” second. It’s not really a new concept, we used to call it “bedside manner.”
Those physicians willing to share about themselves as people, their hobbies, their views and philosophy of practice, and do so publicly via their own websites and blogs, are going to draw the most and strongest attention of the public.
It is not what you are, but who you are
Patients want to relate to their doctor.
Patients cannot relate to our academic achievements, fancy training programs and sophisticated research. They can’t because they didn’t go to med school.
It’s globally accepted that we are smart because, well, we did go to med school.
Why, then, do we insist on adorning our office walls with diplomas, awards and placards of our achievements that have no meaning to our patients?
Social media experiment
The goal of this experiment is to start a conversation (real or digital) with a patient.
Whether on your walls or in the “about” page of your website, take time to talk about, show images (pictures) of “who” you are as a person. Put up pictures of yourself/kids/artwork in your office or mention some hobbies and interests on your website.
You’ll be surprised how much more of an effect this will have in creating relationships with your patients. Chances are your patients will share something in common with you, and that’s what they want.
Do not be afraid to engage
A static website has no marketing value for your practice. Modern websites must be a blog.
Blogs allow readers to ask a question or leave a comment. You can’t do that on an old-fashioned static website.
Blogs are the purest form of social media because after a reader leaves a comment, you can (and must) respond!
These conversations give you the opportunity to show who you are as a person and a glimpse of your “bedside manner.”
More importantly, this display will also reveal a person who is willing to engage their patients and, more importantly, a person who cares.
Randall Wong is a retina specialist and co-founder of Medical Marketing Enterprises.
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