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Using social media for your physician practice

Using Social Media For Your Physician Practice

No one likes going to see the doctor, but when the doctor in question is my friend Thomas, you almost want to make an exception. Thomas and I have been friends for ages, and you couldn’t meet a nicer guy. We happened to be at an early barbecue not so very long ago when we ended up, as we often do, on the top of self-promotion, what you can do for yourself, what you shouldn’t, and how the internet has changed everything.

“You’re lucky,” I said, not without a bit of envy. “I mean, people are always going to need you and when they’re sick, they’ll come right to your door. It’s not like you have to worry about getting every patient, right?”

Thomas laughed at me in that way that people have who need to laugh because otherwise they might want to strangle you. Over the course of the next half hour, as we waited for the grill to heat up and for the sausages to be roasted to perfection, he gave me a serious talk on what physicians like him need to do in order to survive. Thomas has a small private practice, so he doesn’t have the benefit of working with a large hospital; he gives a high level of personal care to his patients and he really does care about making you feel better, but as I ended up learning, this isn’t necessarily enough.

“You really have to think about using social media for your physician practice these days,” said Thomas. “There’s really no other way around it. When you take into account the fact that more and more people are just turning to the internet to tell them where to go and what to do when they get sick, you’ll find that you need to make sure that they can find you.”

So was a webpage enough? I had hooked Thomas up with a friend of mine who does website design, and I wanted to make sure she was worth the money he’d spent.

“A website is essential,” he admitted, “but it’s far from enough. When people start looking for what to do when they get sick, you’ll find that they might not even go to Google first. When you use social media like Facebook or Myspace, you are putting yourself out there in a way that is familiar to them. They know what they are looking for when they look at your page, and they know how to get the information they need.

“Furthermore,” he said, taking a sip of his drink, “they can do searches based on location, and if they learn that I’m right up the road or just a five minute drive away, there’s a much better chance that they will be interested in letting me keep them healthy.”

This was all very enlightening to me, and I’ll admit that using social media for your physician practice wasn’t something I had thought of at all. It seems that it’s never to early or late to do some work in this respect, so make sure that you take some time devote some energy to it!

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