Social media marketing for doctors with HIPAA in mind

Healthy practices

In today’s market, doctors and caregivers need to  manage their social media strategy, monitor their online reputation, and build relationships with their online audience in order to engage with current and potential patients. But unlike other small businesses, they also need to ensure that they are providing the same security and confidence they provide to their patients in-office as they do online by keeping HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, in mind. Don’t miss these key tips on effective social media marketing for doctors to stay engaged while keeping HIPAA top of mind.

Editor’s note: Need a little extra help with your social media marketing? GoDaddy Social creates social media content that keeps patient privacy a priority for all of our medical customers. We represent our medical customers and engage with their online communities while staying true to the unique voice and personality of their practice.

Social media content

Being active and engaged on social media is a great way to generate positive word-of-mouth for your practice and build connections with new and current patients in your area.

But, first things first. Have you run an audit of your social media platforms lately?

Update contact info

Before you start posting great content, check out your pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Yelp and any other social networking sites. Do they accurately show your address, phone number and other information to help patients find you?

Your current and potential patients are accessing social media platforms on their desktops and smartphones. When they’re looking you up, your information should be correct so that you’re easy to reach. If a new patient is Googling your practice, you want it to be easy to call your practice directly or use your address to navigate to your office.

Related: Why it’s time to revisit and revamp your website contact page

Update photos

Once your information is correct, it’s time to optimize your social media profiles.

Take the extra step to make sure you have a consistent presence across your platforms by updating your profile and cover photos.

Choose high-quality photos that capture attention and highlight what your practice is all about. Keep your profile photo consistent across platforms, and use your cover photo to highlight your products or services.

Post valuable content

Next, start posting great social media content. Your social media marketing strategy has the power to get your current and potential followers more familiar with the excellent care your practice offers.

  • Post about the services you offer to your community.
  • Put a spotlight on staff members.
  • Showcase your hometown pride.
  • Keep your audience informed about your awards, honors, and milestones.

Your audience will be grateful that you’re keeping them up to date on everything that’s happening at your practice.

Related: 6 local business strategies to make stronger community connections

4 ideas for social media marketing for doctors

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your social media marketing, take a look at these four ideas for inspiration.

  1. Show off your practice’s personality.

  2. Highlight the friendly faces in your office.

  3. Put your space and amenities in the spotlight.

  4. Highlight the experience of your team.

Let’s dive into some great social media marketing ideas for doctors in order to build relationships with your community. Just remember to keep patients’ privacy top-of-mind when posting.

1. Show off your practice’s personality

Every physician, caregiver and practice has its own unique personality. Use social media to show it off and get engaged with your online audience.

Being genuinely you and representing your authentic personality can help potential new patients feel like they’re getting to know you better before they even make an appointment.

In this example, a dental office is having a little bit of fun with the elements of their office space for their Instagram audience:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Make no bones about it — we know teeth.

A post shared by Mitnick Dental (@mitnickdental) on

2. Highlight the friendly faces in your office

Posting a photo of your smiling staff can encourage new patients to give your practice a try, and remind current patients of the extra-special care they get when they come see you. This is a great way to put a friendly face to your practice.

Here, you can see this med spa is showing off one of their beloved staff members on Facebook to remind their followers to make an appointment:

3. Put your space and amenities in the spotlight

Do you offer TV for patients to watch while you do routine cleanings? Does your waiting area have a zen-like decor? Did your med spa just get new, updated massage rooms? Let your audience know! New patients will be grateful to get a feeling for what it’s like to be in your space before coming for a visit.

This New Hope Medical Clinic shows off their space on Twitter:

4. Highlight the experience of your team

Another content idea for your practice is to highlight your experience in the industry and the knowledge and know-how of your team.

For example, if you’ve received a certification, or just hit a milestone serving the community for a certain number of years, share that on social media.

It’s a great way to let potential patients know that you’re dedicated to gaining the expertise to serve them in the best way possible.

In this example, an optometry practice reminds their Twitter followers how many years they’ve been serving their community’s eye care needs:

How to handle online review responses

It’s important to consumers that small businesses and practices respond to their reviews, comments, mentions and posts on Facebook, Yelp and Google. Doctors can post polite, friendly responses to their online reviews while avoiding identifying patients, divulging medical information or offering medical advice.

Think about it: These review responses are visible to all potential patients who visit your review sites.

So, if you respond, you have the opportunity to show potential patients the excellent customer service and care that they can expect from your practice when they stop by for their next appointment.

Here’s a good example of a response from a pharmacy to a happy customer’s review on Yelp:

Social Media Marketing For Doctors Yelp

It can be tricky when it comes to responding to negative reviews on these platforms. So, here are some tips for handling those kinds of reviews on your pages:

  • Mention that you can’t discuss specifics online.
  • Suggest taking the conversation offline, and provide a phone number or email address so the reviewer can reach out to speak with someone in your office directly.
  • Flag any reviews that are misleading, inflammatory or contain any information that should not be disclosed publicly.

You can consult the review site’s community guidelines, hit the flag icon next to the review, and make a brief, compelling case for why that review should be removed.

It’s up to the site’s moderators whether or not that review will remain on the site. So, be sure to respond to the review while you wait to see if it will be removed.

Taking part in this process can ensure that your practice is represented fairly and accurately across social media and review sites.

Bringing it together

Doctors can elevate their social media marketing strategy and engage with their community by being active on the social platforms and review sites that matter most to their patients, while keeping patient privacy top-of-mind. When used effectively, social media can be an important platform for doctors. Use it to engage with your local community, show off the incredible team behind the care you provide to your patients every day, and encourage new patients to make an appointment with you.

Caroline Barker
Caroline Barker is a Brand and Communications Manager at GoDaddy in Austin, TX. She oversees the branding, social media, and digital marketing strategies for Main Street Hub, a GoDaddy company. Her work has been published in POLITICO, Mic, Allure, Small Business Trends, Business 2 Community, and The Self Employed. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.