5 Things a Physician Should Know About Social Media

August 11th, 2010 3 Min read 5 Things a Physician Should Know About Social Media Blog
Chances are, you're using social media, or at least you've heard about it. If not, you've got a little work to do. Whether you are looking to make professional connections, looking to get reacquainted, looking for the next opportunity, or looking for information, one thing is clear: If you don't use social media sites, you should. Here are five tips that you should consider:
  1. Define your social media strategy. Outline your goals, and determine what it will take to achieve them. Make sure you define your target audience, how you will connect with them, and how you will provide value to them.
  2. Complete your profile and start sending requests. Networking requests that don't give any indication of who you are will likely get declined. A picture goes a long way for those who remember faces, but not names. Personalize all requests that you send to help people remember you, or provide the reason that you are making the request if it's to someone you don't know personally. Here's a sample request: "Hi, Jason. Mike Gordon suggested that you and I connect as we both work in the healthcare industry. I'm familiar with Medicare billing, and Mike thought you might benefit from some of my experience."
  3. Use your expertise to connect with and provide value to people in your field. The more you give, the more you'll get. Sure, your profile is about you, but a valuable social media experience depends on the free flow of information. That information comes from people like us. Participation is paramount. Remember the 80/20 rule: At a minimum, 80 percent of your posts should benefit your audience, and 20 percent should be about you. 90/10 would be even better.
  4. Avoid common social media pitfalls. We've all received emails titled "What not to post on Facebook." Sure, they're funny or awkward, certainly entertaining, but don't let them be about you.
    1. Maintain a balance between logic and emotion. Before you post, remember that your content may be permanent. Even though you can delete posts, you never know who may be entertained enough by your words to get a quick screen capture, copy them into an email and forward to their address book, post to their blog, or re-post your comments to their network of connections. Going viral -- due to an emotionally charged outburst -- shouldn't be in your social media strategy.
    2. Spamming your network is a quick way to reduce your number of connections. Think about the message you are sending. Does it apply to your audience?
    3. Un-tag. The picture of you summiting Denali -- impressive. The picture of the after-party where your climbing partners are drawing a mustache on your face while you are passed out -- not impressive. If there's an un-tag option, find your "less-than-flattering" photos and un-tag yourself. Seriously.
    4. Reciprocal relationship, not stalker. Value others' time like you value yours. People check some social media sites daily, some weekly, some monthly. If you don't get an immediate response from someone in your network, give them a little time. Just like a personal relationship, it takes a little effort from both parties to make it work.
  5. Check yourself out. After you get registered, and periodically from here on, look to see how your profile is displayed to others. Simply log yourself out and search for your name. You will see how your profile is displayed for the rest of the world. Not happy? Log back in, make changes, repeat.
Whether you're a social media junkie or a Luddite looking to broaden your technical prowess, click on the comment button right now and share additional tips or social media stories with our readers.