By David Martin, president and CEO of VeinInnovations
I wrote last week about one of the pitfalls of social media and the practice of medicine, so this week I want to discuss it’s advantages.
Have you noticed that the phrase, “Let’s just WebMD it” is picking up steam? When someone has a medical question, the first place they turn is the Internet. We can argue about the pitfalls of that approach later. For now, let’s discuss the large number of people turning to the Internet for medical advice and to find medical practitioners. The adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, is true here.
Potential patients are seeking you out online, so what should your practice do to participate? I’ve already discussed social media before, so lets talk about another way to connect with patients: blogs.
A blog is a great way to share information with your community, your patients, and a way to increase your credibility with potential patients. You’ve got to be diligent about maintaining it, which means regular posts with rich with relevant content and good information. Consider who you’re trying to reach. Who is your target? An OB/GYN should gear posts towards women, or link their blog to a Pinterest board that focuses on tips for new babies and parenting blogs. A gerontologist may want to consider content that explains late-life medical concerns, perhaps with a focus on explaining it as you would to your patient’s children. (Let’s face it, the Internet is not the best place for a 60+ target market.)
Remember that content is king. Good content gets shared, spread through the Internet, and can bring in new patients. With that in mind, how should you decide who’ll write for your practice? First, decide who has time. A small practice places a lot of demands on your time and you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. A poorly updated blog looks bad. Should you hire a freelance blogger to write posts for you? Is your office manager a good writer – and has she got time?
Use your blog to educate your community about your services. If you’ve begun using a new procedure, blog about it! Discuss why it’s better, what evidence led you to make the switch, and, if possible, provide a testimonial from a satisfied patient.
Remember that you and you’re practice are already on the Internet. Manage your reputation and promote your practice by joining the fray, not fighting it.