In an age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, rheumatologists may think that a social media presence is required. So to get the lay of the land, The Rheumatologist spoke with David Deutsch, founder and chief strategist for SynergiSocial, a New Jersey-based consultancy that focuses on social media.
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Question: What advantage can social media promotion bring to inpatient medical practices, such as rheumatology?
Answer: Let’s back up a minute here. At its core, social media is nothing more than people talking to people with technology. It’s not unlike having a telephone conversation or sending an email. The big difference is that you are speaking to multiple people at once (i.e., a network) instead of one-on-one. If you call someone on the phone and they immediately start promoting themselves, how would that make you feel? Odds are you would prefer to speak with someone who listens to you and offers concrete advice to help you in some way. The same thing goes on social media. Social media done right has little or nothing to do with self-promotion. It’s actually the exact opposite: The best results come from not self-promoting at all, but rather finding ways to give generously to your audience.
Q: What are some tips for a medical practice that might want to set up a social media presence?
A: Rule No. 1: Nobody cares about you. Sorry, but it’s the truth. I tell this to my clients all the time. In the case of rheumatologists, people only want to see you to solve their health problems. That is all. If you can’t do it, they will find someone who can. Realizing this brutal reality is actually an opportunity and key to your social media success. Why? Because if you can give prospective patients something that changes their lives, they will care about you. A lot. To illustrate: Would you rather connect with someone who says, ‘I am one of the best rheumatologists in the area!’ Or would you want to speak with someone who offers concrete advice to patients and non-patients alike on how to avoid problems and answers their questions? Moreover, you can use social media to proactively get referrals from trusted sources … thus, dramatically increasing the quality and quantity of patients who come through your door.
Q: How do you caution people on using social media when it comes to privacy, a focus that is heightened when talking about medical issues?