by Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments
| Wednesday, June 2, 2021 |
Whether you have been in business for years or you are just starting out and looking to build your patient population, a strong online presence is vital to your ophthalmology practice.
On average, Americans spend over six hours a day online, and about one-third of that time is spent on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition to connecting with friends and family, people also use social media to research and find the products and services they need—including eye care.
If you have not done so already, creating and maintaining social media accounts for your practice will help you reach new and existing patients where they like to spend their time. In turn, this will help you grow and expand your practice.
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Always adhere to HIPAA social media guidelines. Patient privacy is of the utmost importance for any medical practice. Obviously, you want to avoid posting any personal health information (PHI) that could identify one of your patients, but other things may not be so clear. For example, if a patient reveals their PHI in a post, you should avoid responding back on social media and instead contact that patient privately if a response is warranted. It is also important to obtain written permission prior to posting any photos or videos of patients on your social media sites. And of course, always refrain from providing medical advice on social media.
- Respond to comments quickly and professionally. Social media is all about engagement. If someone leaves a positive comment about your practice, acknowledge them with a response as soon as possible. Patients will appreciate a simple, "Thank you!" or "Glad you had a pleasant experience!" Likewise, you should also respond quickly if someone leaves a negative comment. Stay professional, apologize if necessary, and let them know you are committed to resolving the issue. Give them a number to call or some other way to contact you directly so that you can address the issue further.
- Keep your accounts up to date. To be successful on social media, there must be a concerted effort to keep your accounts up to date and to continually engage with your patients. Without proper attention, you may miss an important opportunity to respond to a question or comment. However, maintaining a consistent rapport with your followers lets them know that you value their input and interaction; this will ensure that your practice remains top of mind when they have a need for quality eye care.
- Make content fun and engaging. Social media is a great way to connect with patients and families outside of the formal health care office setting. Use a variety of media such as photos and videos to keep your posts interesting and ensure viewers stay engaged. Get the word out about your monthly campaigns, educate your patient community on the importance of eye health, distribute coupons, and run contests and campaigns that encourage interaction and sharing among your current and potential patients.
- Hire a social media marketer. Smart eye care professionals understand that social media marketing matters, especially today. Just as with any other type of business, people are more likely to trust practices that have an up-to-date, engaging social media presence. However, because you may not have an abundance of free time to compose social media posts, it may be worth hiring a social media marketer to help you connect with your patient community online.
Social media is a smart, affordable way to connect with patients and stay relevant.
With a consistent plan, engaging content, and diligent management of your online conversations, your vision care practice can connect with existing clients and reach new patients with very minimal effort. Whether you are well-versed in social media or just getting started, placing a priority on building your social media presence can help you grow your bottom line, one post at a time.
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