With time at a premium, any activity with no immediately visible result is dismissible. Articles like “Healthcare Social Media is a Waste of Time for Most Doctors” on Dike Drummond’s—um—blog, TheHappyMD, reinforce the idea that spending precious energy establishing a positive online presence is a fool’s errand. Convincing time-taxed clients otherwise can be a challenge. Here are a few prods that might help show the value of digital marketing for healthcare providers.
1. Ask why they went into healthcare in the first place.
Spiel: Videos and blogs allow you to share your expertise with extreme efficiency and benefit far more patients than will ever come through your door. Someone in Madagascar can access your insights. For example, allergist David Stukus tweeted clarifications for the new NIH peanut allergy recommendations. Incidentally, Stukus bumped up his career by impressing his academic review committee with all those Twitter followers.
2. Point out that social media is a way to connect with patients, current and potential.
Spiel: Giving something for nothing makes you look altruistic, not the money-hungry creature many feel clinicians are. New patients who have seen your compassionate delivery of thoughtful information will view your practice positively from the start. It’s your chance to present yourself as the practitioner you would be every day if it weren’t for time constraints and relentless record keeping duties.
You can even refer current patients to content you’ve already posted. Even if it doesn’t go viral like Bob Hamilton’s How to Hold a Crying Baby, your patients will get your best, unhurried explanation.
3. Ask about their health grades.
Spiel: The best defense is a good offense. Other than doing your job the best you know how, you have no control over what patients say about you online. The only defense is to produce material that beats out uncontrolled content on web searches.
4. Point out the therapeutic benefits of creativity.
Spiel: Giving your left brain a break can combat burnout. Scripting a video or figuring out what to write in your blog is a different kind of challenge. Even if you’re not ZDoggMD—slightly funnier than placebo, you can still play.
5. Offer blog or video production assistance.
Support clinicians (or suggest their organization does) by making it ridiculously simple for them to create posts. Set up the platform for sharing. Offer editorial help—ghost writers can turn bullet points into engaging bits of prose. Provide video production help—a uniform look for all videos from a given institution is better for the institutional brand, anyway.
Spiel: All you need to do is ______.
In short: Help healthcare clients see social media and digital marketing as an end in itself, rather than something to be scrutinized only for ROI. Then make it easy.