how-medical-professionals-can-effectively-use-twitter

How Medical Professionals Can Effectively Use Twitter

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Twitter and Business

Twitter is more than just a social media platform that is used to connect and update people all around the world. As technology has continued to evolve, so has Twitter. But, as a medical practitioner, how can Twitter help you turn your visitors into patients? How can Twitter help you excel in the business world? We’ll get to that – but first, I want to share a few key stats so that you understand the power and influence of Twitter.

  • There are over 319 million monthly active users on Twitter
  • There are a whopping 100 million DAILY active users on Twitter
  • 80 percent of active users use their smartphones when surfing Twitter
  • The number of daily tweets on Twitter can reach up to 500 million
  • During live broadcasts, three out of five television shows are interacting with their viewers
  • Original tweets get a higher engagement percentage compared to copied tweets

Twitter for Healthcare Professionals

As of this year, 31 percent of healthcare professionals utilize social media for professional networking and marketing. This is only the start because there are many effective uses of Twitter for medical practitioners.

And social media channels, especially Twitter, are important to patients. Here’s just one example of how powerful social media is – 41 percent of people attest that social media would affect their decision when choosing a doctor. Wow!

The Rising Use of Social and Mobile in Healthcare

A study has recently been conducted by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group and has found out how social media has been an asset to different medical organizations and professionals. Here are a few statistics:

Hospitals

  • 26 percent of all hospitals in America participate in social media
  • 46 percent of hospitals use YouTube
  • 64 percent of hospitals use Twitter
  • 84 percent of hospitals use Facebook
  • 12 percent of hospitals use Blogs

Doctors

60 percent of doctors said that social media has improved the quality of care they have delivered to their patients.

Patients

  • About one-third of patients use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other online forums for health-related matters – that includes medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and creating reviews about doctors, drug treatments, medical devices, and health plans.
  • More than half of the elderly population is ready to use the Internet to manage their healthcare and exchange conversations with their physicians.
  • More than 80 percent of patients, from 18 to 24 years old, said they were likely to share information through social media health campaigns.
  • Nearly 90 percent of patients mentioned that they trust any healthcare information that they find online.

Who do patients trust?

  • 60 percent trust doctors
  • 56 percent trust nurses
  • 55 percent trust hospitals
  • 46 percent trust other patients
  • 25 percent trust other patients they don’t know

Mobile Health

  • 31 percent of patients look up health information on their phone
  • One in two people use their smartphones to look up health information
  • 19 percent of smartphone users have at least one health app on their phone

Twitter Healthcare Stats

There are quite a few healthcare professionals who have mastered the use of Twitter. Twitter has such a huge potential in marketing your medical practice. However, it is very hard to dedicate time during the week to focus on social media, because that time can take away from patient care. However, that is why Twitter is pretty popular – for those in the healthcare industry, tweeting on Twitter can help you reach the most people possible in as little time as possible. And by doing so, that will allow you to spend less time on marketing and more time on taking care of your patients.

Here are five doctors who have successfully penetrated the world of Twitter:

Doctor #1 Dr. Mehmet Oz

medical-professionals-use-twitter

Handle: @DrOz
Followers: 4.05 million

Dr. Oz regularly posts health tips, news, and advice. One good thing about Dr. Oz is that he knows what his audience wants to read and learn about.

Doctor #2 Dr. Kevin Pho

medical-professionals-use-twitter

Handle: @kevinmd
Followers: 151,000

Dr. Pho’s social media strategy involves using his own knowledge of savvy digital marketing. His posts range from politics to personal health journeys. Most of his media content comes from his own blog. And aside from his own blogs, he also posts many blogs written by guest bloggers which is a great way to collaborate and network with other doctors on Twitter.

Doctor #3 Dr. Joseph Kim

medical-professionals-use-twitter

Handle: @DrJosephKim
Followers: 31,000

Dr. Kim’s tweets are living proof that you can share academic information and still be appealing to both doctors and patients. His tweets strike the perfect balance of career resources and medical research.

Doctor #4 Dr. Mike Sevilla

healthcare-professionals-use-twitter

Handle: @DrMikeSevilla
Followers: 26,000

Dr. Mike’s Twitter image is being portrayed as goofy and jovial. He makes Family Medicine seem approachable, relatable and fun by posting humorous holiday selfies and words of encouragement for residents or patients who are going through stressful situations. He also loves retweeting. Additionally, he interacts with other physicians, local news outlets, and fundraising organizations on Twitter.

Doctor #5 Dr. Val Jones

medical-professionals-use-twitter

Handle: @drval
Followers: 25,800

One-third of physicians in America are women and they are generally greatly underappreciated. However, Dr. Val has a tough fighting spirit that allowed her to become a prolific author and lecturer. Dr. Val also uses her tweets to drive traffic towards her blogs. Her blogs are a manifestation of how creating content marketing can help to create a successful doctor with the help of the Internet.

These five doctors should serve as an inspiration because you can also have a successful Twitter experience. If you run a Family Medicine like Dr. Sevilla, you could consider tweeting images that show your love for your specialty, make you seem approachable, and make parents feel at ease with you. No parent wants to bring their child to a doctor who is stern and intimidating. Or, if you’re a plastic surgeon, you need to create content that highlights your craft and shows what you’re capable of doing.

You can easily add Twitter as part of your digital marketing strategy. As an expert in your field, you know what could attract your target demographic and help your medical practice grow.

“No man is an island,” they say. Collaborating with other medical professionals and writing relevant, engaging blog posts to share on Twitter as part of your social media campaign, is another great strategy that can boost your reputation and followers on Twitter.

So…Why Twitter?

As I mentioned earlier, there are well over 300 million active users on Twitter. It is one of the most popular and widely used social networking platforms in the whole world. It allows you to build an online presence, establish yourself as a thought leader in your specialty, attract new patients, stay engaged with existing patients, connect and work hand-in-hand with other healthcare professionals, and stay up-to-date on all the latest news, buzz, educational events, and policies.

Here’s how you can get started

#1 Build An Awesome Bio

An awesome bio is the first thing people will see when they visit your Twitter account. Make sure your bio will attract and command people’s attention but don’t sound pompous and unapproachable.

Use a high-resolution picture of yourself in your professional attire. And, as much as possible, refrain from wearing anything that doesn’t look professional or well put together. You want to highlight that you are a well put together medical professional, so you want to add a picture that reflects that.

#2 Develop A Posting Schedule

Your number one goal for your Twitter account is to keep it active. So, in order to utilize your Twitter account, post at least two or three times a day and, of course, make sure your posts are focused on your specialty and general wellness.

When to post your tweets is also important. You should strategically send out your relevant and informative tweets when your target audience is the most active on social media – usually during the afternoon and evening (however, that varies based on your target audience). And you can actually schedule your tweets so that they can be automatically posted at regular intervals.

#3 Share Informative, Relevant Information

Twitter allows you to post 280 characters (this recently changed last year) per tweet. So, keep it simple and make sure your tweets are easy to read and understand. Post about how to live a healthy lifestyle, share motivational health messages, and offer health tips that people can easily implement in their life.

Also, tweets with pictures generally attract people more so use visuals in your posts as much as possible. And share links to medical journals, interesting articles, policy updates, and more. Make sure your followers are well-informed of the latest happenings in your field.

#4 Follow Others

If you follow others, they are more likely to follow you back.

  • Your existing patients and local partners in your community like pharmacies and lab testing facilities
  • Prominent medical and health organizations
  • Popular medical websites such as MedicinePlus, WebMD, Prevention, and Healthline
  • Other physicians in the same field as yours
  • Other specialty physicians
  • Drug companies and drug brands that you usually recommend to your patients

#5 Use Hashtags

With the help of hashtags, Twitter can categorize and organize your engagement and conversations on Twitter. It could be your name, the name of your practice, specific medical procedure, an ailment, your field of specialty, a medical conference, or whatever topic you’re writing or tweeting about.

#6 Communicate With Your Followers

Your Twitter account won’t mean anything if you don’t engage and communicate with your followers (plus, not engaging with others will really stunt your growth on Twitter). Here are a few things you can do:

  • Respond to your followers from time to time.
  • Answer general questions related to your field and practice.
  • Always be nice to your followers.
  • Try to be responsive to a follower’s feedback, criticism, and questions.

#7 Promote, Advertise Your Twitter Account

ALWAYS promote and advertise your Twitter account by adding a link to your website, blog, and email signatures. Include your Twitter handle to your invoices, email campaigns, and promotional materials like infographics and brochures. If you have other social media platforms (which I bet you do) such as Facebook, Google My Business, LinkedIn, and Instagram, you can promote your Twitter account there as well.

What You Should NEVER Do On Twitter

  • Never buy any Twitter followers. Let your Twitter followers grow organically no matter how long it takes. Purchasing followers is a clear violation of Twitter’s terms and conditions. Your account could get suspended and you could ruin your online reputation as a doctor.
  • Make sure your tweets do not violate your oath and ethics.
  • Do not tweet about your patients, especially without their consent. And never reveal their identities (you could get caught in a HIPAA violation nightmare).
  • Avoid quarrels at all cost especially with your colleagues. 

Final Thoughts

Twitter is a great way to market, advertise, and grow your practice. With such a big audience, Twitter provides you with a great opportunity to attract and engage with potential patients. If your tweets are relevant, informative, and engaging, it can help with increasing your online reputation. However, with your busy schedule, it’s likely that you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to you growing your presence on Twitter. Don’t fret; you can outsource medical marketing professionals to help you. Here at Website4MD, we can help you grow your Twitter presence and build your voice as an authority.

Book an appointment with us today to learn more!