Strategic Planning for Social Media in Medical Practices

Strategic Planning for Social Media in Medical Practices

When it comes to strategic planning for a medical practice, social media is often the last topic discussed, if at all. Most practices want to focus on physical aspects, rather than digital ones. The truth is that this can be detrimental to a practice, as more patients and staff are using social media. Use this guide to help you develop a social media plan and create policies that can improve your networking experience.

What is Strategic Planning for Social Media?

Strategic planning is designed to bring focus to a facility’s goals. The purpose of strategic planning is to develop priorities and strengthen the practice overall. Any detail that affects the practice can be included in your strategic planning exercises, as long as it helps you to accomplish your goals. Strategic planning for social media includes planning for the development of social profiles, managing employee interactions, promoting your practice and using social media to improve your patient’s experience.

Making a Social Media Plan

Social media has a lot of areas to cover, which can make it seem very difficult at first. The best thing to do is to start small. Write out what you want social media to do for your practice and break everything down into small steps. Typically, a medical practice will do the following steps:

    1. Create an attractive profile
    2. Create a group or page for their practice
    3. Assign someone to monitor the group, page and profile
    4. Establish who will be creating content for the network
    5. Encourage employees to connect with you
    6. Encourage patients to connect with you

As your practice begins to grow online, you will need to develop policies to ensure that you are being represented correctly online. Social media has a lot of power and it can easily help or hinder a practice.

Planning to Gain Online Attention

When you first create your online profile for your practice, you may notice that you have very few connections. This is usually due to people not knowing your profile exists or you having a lack of features. When people connect with a medical practice, they often want additional information about a specific field or the latest updates about your practice. You need to not only give them what they want, but you will also need to find ways to attract new clients to your page.

There are several strategies you can choose to help you increase the number of friends or followers you have online. Most practices will need to use trial and error in order to find a method that gives results to the practice. Here are a few ideas you can try:

    • Promote your best posts, tweets or status updates
    • Mention your social media profiles on your website
    • Encourage patients to connect with you in person
    • Become more active on social media
    • Friend or follow employees and competitors
    • Create online ads promoting your profile or group

Most medical practices use multiple techniques in order to build their brand online and boost their online presence. During your next planning session, discuss your social media advertising budget, then choose a few of the methods from the list above. Actively promoting your practice, either through offering content or advertising, is the only way to get a large, online following.

Decide If Social Media Should Influence Employee Behavior

Developing a social media policy for employees is critical to the success of a modern medical facility. Employees have access to sensitive information that you may not want released to the public. You need to establish what is okay to talk about online and what is not. Determine the point where your practice would need to step in if social media was affecting your employee too much.

Include these points as you develop your social media policy:

    • Can an employee share personal information online?
    • Can an employee share behind-the-scenes information about your practice?
    • How should an employee behave or interact with you online?
    • What are the consequences for violating your policy?

Because the medical field is so sensitive, it is important to reiterate doctor-patient confidentiality laws in your policy, even if you find doing so to be redundant. You should also consider having your employees sign a non-disclosure to ensure they don’t share private information about your practice. When it comes to strategic planning, you want to ensure that every detail is covered.

Understanding the Importance of Social Media in the Medical Field

Social media has the power to influence the public and change the way they think about medical care. In a lot of ways, you need to treat your medical practice as a business when you are online. You need to remain professional and focus on keeping your image positive. You also need to perform excellent customer service, as you don’t want people to see your practice in a negative light.

The consequences of negative publicity online can be devastating to a practice. On the other hand, the lack of new clientele from not having your information online can also be bad. Developing a social media policy allows you to cover everything and be better prepared for the future.

Developing a social media plan is critical for any modern medical practice. As we move further into a digital age, we need to plan for changes within the online community and think about how it will affect us. Social media has a lot to offer, and it should never be ignored.

To learn more about strategic planning for your medical practice, please contact us today.