If you’re a small business and you aren’t marketing your company on Facebook and other social media platforms, you’re not only missing an opportunity, but you’re likely lagging behind your more tech-savvy competition. And, social media isn’t just for restaurants, clothing stores and food emporiums. Medical professional, like doctors, dentists and veterinarians, can also make good use of this growing phenomenon. In fact, nearly 50 percent of doctors say they contribute new information to social media at least once a week, according to US News and World Report magazine.

Social Media and Marketing Your Practice

Gone are the days when a medical professional simply hung up his or her diploma, opened the office door and waited for patients to come in. Today’s doctors need to earn their patients’ trust even before that first appointment. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer an affordable way to do that while reaching readership numbers that weren’t even conceivable a few years ago.

How to Make Social Media Site Work for Your Practice

Facebook marketing and the like work in a variety of ways. First of all, you can share information that you feel may be of value to the community, like flu shot information for seniors or the danger of tooth disease for pets. Such posts help to establish your practice as an authority, one with the latest information. Posting on Facebook and Twitter can also help you to build a relationship between you and your virtual “friends,” even friends who aren’t currently patients. When these people DO need a doctor (or dentist or vet), they’re more likely to turn to the person and practice they already trust–YOU.

Twitter marketing is not nearly so widely used by medical professionals as Facebook marketing. Just seven percent of doctors regularly use Twitter, according to US News and World Report. However, given that Twitter has more than 500 million registered users, becoming a regular “tweeter” could just give you a competitive advantage over other doctors in your area. Plus, tweets are short (just 140 characters) and don’t take a lot of time away from your practice.

Don’t discount LinkedIn, the professional networking platform. Though it was created as a way to share resumes and match professionals with the right jobs, LinkedIn has evolved into a place to share targeted marketing information with a membership base that has the means to make expensive purchases as well as being a job site. This could be a great place for an orthodontist or a cosmetic surgeon to promote his or her services.

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