With social media, healthcare providers have many tools at their disposal to help build their businesses. People like Thirumurugan Sundaresan actively working for making Digital health Technology friendlier for the doctors and patients. Social network sites can be a powerful tool in the hands of persons who know how to leverage it to its full potential. When social media is misunderstood or misapplied, it can turn into a time sink where many hours that could have been spent more productively in other ways to build your business. Since social media is easily misunderstood, it will help to clarify some of those areas.
Social Media and Meetings
With million people using the internet in the US, the way of reaching people and being relevant to their needs has changed. This means that the way of doing business has changed as well. The public now consults their phone for the best buys on products and services. They are also using their phones to purchase items. The changes in the way business is conducted also impacts healthcare.
Social Media offers many tools that you as a healthcare professional can use to build your business. With the use of social (interactive) media, the nature of business building has changed. Social network sites provide an interactive way of dealing with potential clients. In previous generations, the relationship between a healthcare provider and potential clients was limited to one way interactions dominated by the healthcare professional. Today, the patients talk back to you using Facebook, email, twitter or some other service, asking questions and want you as a healthcare professional to be responsive. If you provide good service, they can tell others, if your service is lacking, your reputation suffers much faster when they use social media.
The Importance of Social Media
When millions of people are using social networks, those healthcare providers who choose not to be a part of it by exercising ‘social media abstinence’ are missing out on the changing way that people interact. Healthcare professionals who choose to avoid social sites altogether are crippling themselves. The public now use them extensively. Whether in the use of their computers or phones, or both, it is a reality. Social media has changed the way people interact in the marketplace.
Social media is also a way for an aspiring healthcare professional to compete with much larger competition, whether it be from other people in healthcare, publishing or speaking. Using social media removes the size advantage that some exploit in providing healthcare.
Social media also allows the little person just starting out to make a name for themselves. A highly responsive healthcare professional can establish a name for themselves with the public rather than always having to be dependent on the power brokers of established practices.
Social sites are is changing healthcare, including how healthcare providers build their practice. It changes how clients find them, interact with them, and services are delivered. It also changes the way that healthcare providers will find potential patients. Knowing how to use and master social media is critical for any healthcare professional wanting to build their business in today’s social media saturated culture.
Social Media Tools
Once you as a healthcare provider has a social media policy, you need to use the tools available. Below are some of the social media tools and ways they can be used by a healthcare professional in building their business.
Facebook: Facebook is the largest social community. You can have business page to establish awareness of your business. Given the size of Facebook, it is critical that the healthcare provider have a page in order to remain relevant.
LinkedIn: This social site allows healthcare professionals to network with other professionals. 80% of small business owners in one 2011 survey report using LinkedIn. Having a profile will let others know that you are in business and lead to important business leads. Building a business often involves joint ventures. LinkedIn is a way to find potential partners for joint ventures.
Twitter: This site provides a platform to keep people informed of “what is going on”. The public often likes to know about what is new. Keeping them informed as to events and new items coming out. In the US, 13% of the population online use twitter.
Google: Although not often seen as a social media, it has many functions that involve social interactions. This is where people look for services. Having a good Google ranking can make a difference in your business visibility.
Once a healthcare provider has visibility, they will need to use social media in interacting with their potential clients.
The healthcare provider can use these tools for announcements, patient education, answering frequently asked questions, dealing with common healthcare issues, and healthcare topics that would be of interest to them.
Summary of how to use social media
To sum up how a healthcare professional can use social sites to build their business the following steps can be taken:
- Network with other professionals and people in the local community.
- Provide good patient information. Become a resource. For example, if you are a chiropractor, you could write a series of articles, blog posts, etc. on exercise, health eating, how to lift heavy loads, etc. With each article, it would enhance your expertise in the eyes of potential clients.
- Have a written social media policy, then use social media to promote your business.
- Interact on social sites regarding queries. Be willing to answer questions and make yourself accessible on such sites. You can use them to post interesting articles, videos, etc.
- Know how to use social sites to their full potential. Social media has many opportunities. You can set up a blog talk radio show, have regular episodes on your own YouTube channel, have book club on Library Thing. You are limited only by your own imagination in reaching out to clients and provide good quality patient care.
- Let the community know that you are accessible on social sites. Include your twitter address, or Facebook logo on your advertising.
There are the innovative people like Thirumurugan Sundaresan is working on the various Digital platforms which would connect doctors and patients across the globe to provide healthcare anytime and from anyplace.