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Ways to Use Social Media and How to Handle Reviews

Adaptive Medical Partners | Healthcare Administrators, Physician Recruiting

The various social media platforms can be powerful tools in both active and passive recruiting for your hospital, healthcare facility or other organizations. Social media also can be used against you, such as in the form of negative online reviews. Social media has become a key component of how your practice is perceived by current and prospective patients, partners and providers. Learn ways you can harness the potential of social media and how to handle online reviews.

Social Media by the Numbers

The sheer volume of social media users makes it almost impossible for organizations to ignore:

  • The number of internet users in 2018 is more than 4 billion globally.
  • The number of social media users in 2018 is 3.2 billion.
  • Around seven in 10 Americans regularly use social media.
  • About three-quarters of Facebook users and around six out of 10 Instagram users visit these sites at least once a day.
  • Roughly three-quarters of people use more than one of the eight platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube and WhatsApp), and the typical American uses three of these sites.

Social media influences people’s healthcare choices:

  • In a recent survey, 41 percent of consumers said social media influences their choice of a specific hospital, medical facility or doctor.
  • 45 percent said social media could affect their decision to get a second opinion.
  • 34 percent said social media tools influence their decision about taking a certain medication.

Decide on a Social Media Strategy and Develop Policies

The development of a social media policy is an important step to help mitigate risk, to establish guidelines for employee engagement and to shape a consistent image with appropriate messaging. At a minimum, a social media policy should emphasize that employee use of social media must follow the organization’s policies and procedures and relevant state and federal regulations. Additionally, a social media program should:

  • Contain a response protocol. Guidelines should establish a response protocol to be sure staff appropriately monitors social media channels and responds in a timely manner to comments or queries.
  • Set clear and measurable goals. Goals should align with your organization’s larger strategic goals and mission.
  • Incorporate a content development plan. Such a plan should outline your organization’s social media efforts, such as targeted campaigns around timely activities or events.

Primary Platforms and Potential Uses

Though Facebook arguably tops the list of platforms as the most influential and YouTube is the most widely used of the social media platforms overall, others also are frequently used. Each platform has a slightly different user base. The different social media networks also are better suited for different purposes and content.

  • Facebook: Use this platform to highlight work culture, show the human side of your organization and cultivate relationships.
  • LinkedIn: Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn. Aimed at professionals, the platform can benefit physicians, specialists, residents and similar professionals through opportunities for networking. Online communities provide a virtual hub for meeting and communicating with colleagues, which can lead to collaborating on research or exchanging solutions. This platform can be a place to post job announcements as well as a forum to reach out to residents and potential recruits.
  • Twitter: Use twitter to reach out to followers with breaking news, announcements and important messages. Those between the ages of 18 and 24 years are substantially more likely to use Twitter than older Americans.
  • Instagram and YouTube: Share engaging visual content, such as infographics and informational videos.

Examples of Uses for Social Media at Your Organization

As of April 2018, over 1600 U.S.-based hospitals maintained officially sponsored social media accounts. If your hospital is not one of these, then you are missing opportunities facilitated by the platforms to:

  • Engage with patients through interactive content and by addressing their comments and inquiries.
  • Introduce patients, the community and potential recruits to your organization, its mission and its positive attributes.
  • Educate and inform about happenings at your hospital, awards achieved by staff, public health activities, and health-related discussions.
  • Expand your organization’s reach to new patients and new staff.
  • Enhance your facility’s brand recognition.

Reputation Management

You cannot control what others say about your hospital, its providers or your services, and you cannot satisfy everyone. However, you can control the response to what is said and help limit damage to your reputation. Pay attention to what is being said about your organization, particularly on review sites. Patients place a lot of value on online provider reviews. Providers in turn should value those reviews as well, since they provide insight into at least one patient’s experience, which might help shape improvement efforts. Additionally, these reviews contribute to your online presence.

Respond to Reviews (Especially Negative Ones)

Social media managers should be in charge of addressing negative reviews. And you should respond to most negative reviews; a majority of health review site users expect a response to their bad review. A polite and attentive response might be able to undo some of the damage done to the reviewer’s and others’ opinion of your organization. Others will see that you handle complaints professionally and that you are interested in the patient and provider experiences, which reflect well on your organization.

Encourage Positive Reviews

Giving good service is a prerequisite for receiving good reviews. Additionally, you can encourage positive reviews by reminding patients to provide a review and by responding to all reviews, showing gratitude and an appreciation for the public’s opinions. Follow-up on reviews, particularly negative ones, to make sure the issues are taken care of.

Contact Adaptive Medical Partners, a premier physician recruiting firm, for help in developing your organization’s social media recruiting strategy.