Social media for doctors: where to start?

June 7, 2024
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28 million Australians, that is, 78.3% of our population, are active on social media (Australia Digital Report, 2024). Therefore, using these platforms can be an extremely effective way to disseminate important information to patients, families, referrers, and other colleagues.  

I have had specialists call me recently and express similar sentiments. They are slowly progressing in their private practice and looking for the best way to grow. They are aware that to grow, they should increase their digital presence but are not sure where to start. So, I thought I would share some tips and tricks. 

Branding: decide if the platforms will be branded as you, a name with a group of clinicians or both. It is likely that you will need personal branding of some extent. Branding will evolve as your practice does. 

Know who you are communicating to and the platforms that they are likely to use. Posting on all the channels (e.g. Instagram, LinkedIn, via email, your website, YouTube, etc) is A LOT of work! 

It may sound obvious, but you know who you are targeting and communicating to and what platform they are likely to be using. Start there and work in stages.  

Every doctor needs a website. This is often the first interaction patients and referrers will have with you so, make sure it is accurate! Regarding other platforms, do you treat mostly athletes with an age range between 18-35 years old? If yes, they are likely to be Instagram users. If it is a priority for you to communicate to general practitioners, focus on emails to start.     

Content: needs to inform, engage, and resonate with your audience(s). Additionally, you need to capture people’s attention straight away. And sadly, people do not have big attention spans anymore (because of social media!) 

If you want to educate referrers on your surgical speciality, put together a graphic post on conservative management and when they should refer to you. Use the instagram post to lead them back to your website to read more.  

AHPRA Guidelines: ensure the information you will be sharing meets guidelines.  

Managing the platforms: writing the captions, content creation, researching trends, grid planning, hashtags, trending audio, scheduling, and consent. What are you able to manage yourself? Is there someone in your team such as a practice manager who is capable to help, should you outsource or use a combination?

Budget: This is a continuation from the above. Think about your goals- if you invest in social media and use the platforms correctly, your practice will grow. Additionally, how can you use digital platforms to address pain points in your workflow and optimise patient outcomes? If you can achieve this using social media, it will be worth its weight in gold… 

Show personality and authenticity: it is what people want to see now. Lastly, just get started and give it a go!

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