With the explosion of social media over the last few years, it's safe to say that many healthcare centers and professionals have had social media thrust upon them. It offers amazing opportunities for them to engage with their patients and offer valuable information and advice.
While browsing TikTok or Facebook, you may have noticed videos from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They're often short and sweet, offering advice on managing a medical condition or taking better care of yourself.
However, as it turns out, not all companies have figured out how to use social media to benefit their patients. Many still don't understand what they can do with this new tool at their fingertips to reach people. If you're a healthcare professional tasked with using social media, here are some ways to engage and bring value to your patients.
Share other patients' successful journey
Patients are eager to read about other people's experiences and successes, whether related to their condition or not. If a patient is going through something similar, they can get a lot of comfort from hearing about how others have overcome similar obstacles.
If a patient is facing something new, they can learn how others handled it. You can share these stories on your business's Facebook page or mention them in your Twitter updates.
It could be a video of the patient talking about their experience or a photo showing them happy and healthy after treatment.
It's important to make your posts personal and authentic. Don't just share generic success stories; use specific details from each patient's story and any photos or videos that might help tell it well.
Post up-to-date healthcare news
A regular stream of relevant news on your social media channels will keep patients interested in what's happening in the field. For example, you could post updates on new treatments, the latest medical breakthroughs, or any other information relevant to your practice's specialty.
You can do this by posting links to articles or blog posts on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. You can also create original content based on current events in healthcare by writing blog posts, creating infographics, or recording a video using a webcam recorder.
Debunk myths and misconceptions
The internet is full of unsolicited information about every aspect of healthcare, and many people are not aware that what they read may not be accurate. You can use social media to dispel common myths and misconceptions about your practice's field.
For example, if your practice specializes in pediatrics, you could address concerns about vaccinations or the safety of children's toys. If you provide dental services, you could debunk claims that flossing is unimportant or that certain types of toothpaste are more effective than others.
Remember that you don't want to come off as condescending or rude; simply use facts and data to back up your point.
Answer patient-directed questions
If a patient has asked a question about your practice on social media, other patients are likely wondering the same thing.
Be helpful and informative. It's tempting to give simple answers like "No, you can't eat that" or "Yes, you can do that." Instead, take the time to explain why those answers are true so that patients understand the reasoning behind them. This will help you build trust with your patients and show that you care about their health.
You can also go live on social media and answer patient questions in real time. This will allow the patient to ask follow-up questions, which results in a better understanding. You will only need the following:
A computer or mobile device with internet access
A webcam and microphone. Don't forget to do an online webcam test to ensure your equipment is working before going live
A whiteboard to write down important information and help viewers follow along
Provide a platform for patients to interact with each other
Creating a Facebook group or forum where patients can ask questions or discuss various topics related to their practice is a great start. This will help build a sense of community among your patients and give them a place to go for support. You can also use the group as an opportunity to address any concerns or issues that come up related to your service.
Social media has power. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or a number of new and 'upcoming' social networks, there are different places you can use social media to offer your knowledge, experience, and expertise to patients. It's still early days for healthcare professionals when it comes to using social media, but it has the potential to really help transform the way services work.
Take the time to research and try out the different outlets and see which are most beneficial for you to use to connect with your patients. Don't rely solely on one; try them all out. Find what works best for your hospital, clinic, medical equipment, or setting, and go from there.