Lots of pressure out there for you to be on Facebook and Twitter, right? The ultimate question, though, is how are you using Facebook and Twitter to support your goals? Are you connecting with patients? Are you reaching out to peers and friends? It is great to have a big following, but does that turn into real, authentic meaning for you? If you are like most doctors, the answer is resoundingly no.
Let’s face it, as a whole physicians do a poor job connecting with our patients (and each other). Sure, there are some of us who navigate in the social networking arena well, but for most of us, the social network landscape is more of a maze than a platform.
I believe most of this is due to our desire to stay private and focused on our patient care. But, like modern medicine, physicians need to start embracing the world of social media and networking. Why? Simply put, in order to broadly Connect with our patients, hiding inside our exam rooms and practice hallways shuts us out from the pulse of the living, breathing world of the modern social medium.
“I don’t have time!”
“I don’t trust it …”
“My patients don’t care if I use social media.”
All of the above statements are frequent comments physicians make about social media. All of the above comments are incorrect.
Instead of seeing the world of social media as a nuisance, doctors need to treat this new arena with respect, care and promise. Because in order to connect with our patients and peers, the social media landscape is something we all need to embrace. And the sooner the better.
Survey after survey confirm that patients do not feel connected to their physicians. There are various reasons for this: increasing demands to see more patients each day, more complicated patients do to a sicker population being seen and more demanding patients who require more time and energy are just a few reasons.
Ignoring social media is not a fix for those problems. In fact, I believe, the more you ignore the social media platforms, the worse those problems become.
So what to do? Facebook has almost a billion users and it seems like everyone is tweeting about something. In order to truly harness the power of social media, I think you are better off ignoring Facebook and Twitter and embrace Google+, and here is why:
- Google+ is run by Google the largest search engine in the world. Yes, this is obvious, but I think we overlook this fact. You can take advantage of this by choosing to make anything you want to post public and you will have the power of Google behind you. So from a networking perspective, Google+ can have your message and comments spread all over Google in an instant.
- Circles allow for keeping anything you want private. Unlike Facebook where you have to have several different “pages” in order to separate private and public, in Google+, you set up your own Circles based upon how you want to distribute your comments, blogs, etc. This makes managing your account so much simpler and more fun. Have an important message for your patients — choose your patients circle. Want to reach out to your local physician colleagues — choose your colleagues circle. It truly is that easy.
- Google+ is as open as you want it to be. Unlike Facebook which is a closed community, Google+ can be as open as you want it to be. This means that you can gather a following and connect to your patients, colleagues, friends and family all in the same place. Facebook is great, but is a closed system. I like having the option to post something to the general public and that is just not possible in Facebook.
- Google+ incorporates YouTube. Yes, the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube and that is directly incorporated into Google+. This means that you now have the power of Google and YouTube all in one platform for you. Post your videos to your patients and then spread your spirit about what videos you enjoy.
- Google Hangouts. As a part of Google+, you can now run a group visit directly through Google Hangouts, a sub-section of Google+. This is so much easier than Skype.
- Ease of use. Most of us have some connection to Google, whether that is through a Gmail account, Google Business Apps, YouTube or some other form. Having everything connected makes using Google+ so much easier. And when it is easier, you will enjoy it more. And when you enjoy it more, you will look for ways to use it more. Suffice to say — Google+ makes connecting with everyone so incredibly simple.
You are here at KevinMD.com, so you are indeed different. You understand and appreciate the power and significance of social media. But most doctors do not and that is a shame. Now is the time to get on board with Google+.
You will make time for Google+.
You can choose how you want to disperse your information.
Your patients will very much enjoy that you want to connect with them on this platform. In fact, they will seek you out because you communicate on this arena.
And no, I don’t work for Google. But I do like to promote tools to doctors that can truly help them in their practice life. Forget about Facebook and Twitter. Focus solely on Google+ and you, too, will be compelled to spread the word.
Craig Koniver, author of Connected: The New Rules of Medicine, consults with physicians around the country at The New Rules of Medicine.
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