Providing value for and building trust with your patients goes beyond the walls of your practice. In today’s technology-driven world, creating and monitoring a solid social media presence is key to staying in touch with your patients. You now have the ability to maintain and foster the doctor-patient relationship right at your fingertips, any time! It’s just as important that you’re building and fostering that relationship online as you are in person.
Build Trust With Your Patients
A social media presence helps you build trust with your patients. You’re able to request feedback and respond in a timely manner. You can show your patients that you truly care about and value their feedback. You also have the opportunity online to stay in contact with your patients even when they’re not in your office. Providing and sharing valuable content shows your patients that you care.
People love leaving reviews online. You have the opportunity to request and respond to your patients’ feedback. Negative reviews may happen. If so, use it as an opportunity to further build trust with your patients. Make sure you respond to the review. Apologize when necessary and thank the person for taking the time to share. When a negative experience occurs outside of social media, you don’t always have the opportunity to learn about the patient’s experience or make things better. However, when a patient leaves a negative experience online, you have the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Give You and Your Practice Credibility
A social media presence also gives you and your practice credibility. You have the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and all of the positive aspects of your practice. Share your staffs’ profiles and bios. Thank your patients for their continued support. You can even make patients aware of upcoming changes ahead of time. Social media gives you a platform to share valuable information and knowledge that your patients will find useful.
For example, for a pediatrician, you can share helpful info for parents about preventing the flu and keeping their home germ-free. Is there a stomach bug that’s going around? Give parents a heads up on your Facebook page. Share with them how they can best treat it and keep their kiddos feeling as good and healthy as possible. Perhaps you oversee a sleep center. In this case, share some of your favorite books and resources on getting a good night’s sleep. Share weekly tips on sleeping better. You can truly create a lot of great value for your patients, and in turn give your practice credibility, by utilizing your social media presence.
Grow Your Practice
Building your online presence will also help you grow your offline practice. Ask your patients to leave reviews. Give them the opportunity to share about their positive experience with you and with others. More than likely, they’re already sharing by word-of-mouth. So, ask them to share online, as well.
Monitoring your practice’s social media presence can truly give your practice the opportunity to create great value for your patients, improve the overall patient experience, and help you grow! Here are three tips for putting this into practice:
1. Build your online presence now
Don’t wait! If you’ve already created social media pages for your practice but aren’t active, make it a priority to start using them. If you don’t yet have these profiles, create them today and start interacting! There’s no time like the present. Social media, like our patient relationships, is a long-term strategy. Start building trust online today and sharing your knowledge. Make your patients aware that you’re online and are active. Ask them to like and follow your pages. Most importantly, share content that creates value for your patients, so that they are encouraged to interact with you both in person and online.
2. Consistency is key
Post content consistently! Having social media profiles isn’t enough. Posting every few weeks or months when you think about it isn’t enough to build trust and create a great online presence. Inconsistent posting and responses tells your patients that you’re too busy. If you’re posting once a day, continue posting once a day. If you’re posting once a week, keep posting every week. Stay consistent with your posting schedule and the quality of content that you’re sharing.
3. Respond to all comments
This is one of the easiest ways to proactively build a positive online presence. This also shows your patients that you truly care. It shows patients that you’ve created your online presence not just to “stay up to speed” but because you truly care and value their feedback.
Welcome feedback and create a space that positively reflects you, your practice, and the relationships you build with your patients offline. Thank people for their feedback and respond to every comment. Take negative feedback to heart. Improve when you’re able to, and continue doing things that your patients tell you are going well. Feedback, both online and off, is a great way to gauge patients’ feedback and truly understand whether or not their visit was a positive one.
Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.