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Healthcare Social Media Strategy For Doctors

Healthcare Social Media Strategy: How to Grow Your Medical Practice’s Social Media Following

Social media tips and techniques for doctors. PatientGain’s social bundle includes posting on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Google. 

Question asked by physicians and dentists: Is social media important for my practice?

Short answer is YES. PatientGain has worked with hundreds of practices and thousands of healthcare providers over the last 10+ years in helping them with new patient acquisition. Social media is being embraced more and more by doctors and other medical professionals in the healthcare industry. However, social media is always changing, and what was as effective last year may not work today. With that said, there are some universally accepted social media tips and techniques doctors can use to maximize their efforts when they use these online channels to promote their medical practice. Social media can take up an incredible amount of time if you do not manage your own time well. Do not be afraid to assign a tech-savvy staff member to run your social media accounts. Be it you or one of your employees, below are some excellent tips and techniques to keep in mind when using social media at your medical practice. Some medical practices have found great success and cost-effective use of their social media channels to connect with current and potential patients. These ideas and tips may work for you as well!

Healthcare Social Media Strategy For Doctors
Healthcare Social Media Strategy For Doctors

Healthcare Social Media Strategies in 7 Steps

1. Create Social Accounts For Your Medical Practice

You cannot win the social media game if you do not play. You should create social media accounts for your medical practice as soon as possible. Before you begin creating accounts, search online to ensure an account or listing does not already exist. On some social media platforms, your business will already be listed. It may have been created by a happy patient wanting to promote your medical practice, or it could have been created automatically when updated business information was uploaded. The point is, you want to avoid having duplicate listings. If your medical practice is already listed, claim it. If you have made one and find a duplicate, try to merge it, or get it deleted.

Some social media accounts may ask you to verify your business to ensure you are who you say you are. Verification is often done via an automated phone call or postcard. Before you do this, make sure your phones work, or you can accept mail. Multiple verification requests can cause the entire process to slow down.

2. Social Media Accounts You Should Create

Facebook – Facebook is a big social media channel that many doctors use. You can use this account to connect with patients, update them on information, and let them contact you. You will also have access to their powerful advertising platform as well as be able to Livestream. Note: You will want to create a Facebook Business Page, not a Facebook Profile. Profiles are for people, and Business Pages are for businesses. A profile does not have access to many business features that can help you manage your channel.

Instagram – While owned by Facebook, you will need to create a separate log in and account for Instagram. In the settings, you will denote this account as a “business account” to access advertising and insights. A picture or video must accompany all Instagram posts. Many use hashtags to help their content reach a broader audience.

Twitter – Twitter is helpful to engage in online conversations with other medical professionals and patients. Messages on twitter are shorter than Facebook or Instagram, but can also include pictures and videos. Hashtags are often employed as well to have messages reach a broader audience.

LinkedIn – This social media channel is more geared toward networking with your colleagues and possibly recruiting new employees. You may have some regular patients follow you on this channel, but they tend to come from a business background. Pictures and videos can also be uploaded and shared on this channel. Doctors have also been known to write their thoughts in the form of journal posts on this platform.

3. Post Regularly Across All Social Media Channels

Creating social media channels is not very useful if you do not use them. Posting infrequently will make it look like your business does not pay attention to their social media profiles. If these social media profiles are not paid attention to, why should patients be bothered to follow them? You want to have a consistent, regular, and useful presence across your social media channels. You need to make time to ensure these profiles are kept up to date. Your medical practice will miss patient opportunities if you do not pay attention to your social media channels or do not engage with them.

Posting across all social media channels can be a daunting task. Make it easier on yourself or the person you assign to handle it by using a service that allows you to post across multiple channels. Not all posts are appropriate for all social media channels. For example, you need a picture or a video to post on Instagram, and you do not want to use a copyrighted image. So if you are sharing a story on Facebook and Twitter from a news organization, you likely wouldn’t share it on Instagram. If you have a fun picture of your staff, that is a post you could share across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. As for LinkedIn, blog posts, job posts, and community health updates are often the best for that channel. For organizational purposes, create a “social media posting” calendar to guide what type of posts you want to post on which social media channels during the week. 

4. Posts Should Not Be Constantly “Selling” Your Medical Practice

It is essential to let people know your hours of operation, the services you offer, and any specials you might be running. However, that should not be the only or even the majority of things you post across your social media channels. “Selling” your business in ever post will cause your followers to lose interest and begin to ignore your posts. Your social media channels should, at most, spend 10% to 20% of its time “selling” your medical practice. The rest of your posts should be informative, useful, and help educate your community about health concerns. Some of these health concerns could be directly related to the services you provide, but they do not have to be. 

Consider sharing stories on a local, regional, and national level. “Newsjacking” is a concept where you use a national story to help promote your own business. For example, suppose your clinic recently began to offer rapid COVID-19 testing. In that case, you could post a link to your website with more information along with a story that talks about testing—providing your patients and potential patients with news about a health concern along with details on how your medical practice can help works well, as long as it isn’t heavy-handed.

Often, the most well-performing posts include pictures of your staff or patients (with their permission.) Fun stories about how they are helping the community, updates about their professional lives, or interesting personal information about them are often shared and commented on. It helps patients connect with your staff, making them more likely to instill trust in the medical practice to take care of them. Try to make a point to post a picture once a week that comes from the medical clinic.

5. Videos and Images Will Increase Impact and Interest 

When possible, include images and videos in the posts across your social media channels. Not all photos and videos need to be that of your staff or medical clinic. Suppose the article you share contains a handy, unusual, or authoritative infographic, a post with pictures along with the story. You will want to site where that picture came from but highlighting it front and center will increase your followers’ likelihood of engagement. When you post a link on social media channels, a picture is usually pulled from the article to preview it. However, the image that is automatically chosen is not always the picture that could have been selected. Be sure to check this first and, if needed, save a different picture from the article and upload it.

Videos can be compelling on social media channels but must be used carefully. First and foremost, they must be from a reliable source. Generally, the video is coming to form a news organization; it has been vetted. If not, watch the video yourself to make sure everything is accurate, and nothing is objectionable. View a few other videos from this person and do some research to ensure they are reliable and not a crackpot. While you can upload videos you film of yourself or your doctors directly to a social media channel, chances are you will be sharing a link. YouTube is the most popular platform to host videos, and their links can easily be shared across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

6. Monitor Social Media Channels For Comments, Reviews, and Questions

As much as you are engaging with your social media channels, your patients will be engaging with them! Do not ignore them and engage back. They may comment on a story or ask a question about a health concern. Take this time to engage with them, display your knowledge, and offer some additional resources or suggestions of an appointment to discuss a medical condition further. If anyone leaves a positive review or comment on your social media channels, thank them. If the experience was negative, engage with them, and encourage them to call and speak with you. Avoid having an extended conversation with them online, and in public, about a bad experience at your medical clinic.

Finally, do not be afraid to block people. Some patients are never going to be happy with your clinic or efforts to make things better. You also may get the occasional disgruntled employee leaving false or nasty messages on your social media accounts. Stay on top of them so they are addressed or deleted, and the people who are behind it are blocked. Yes, they can certainly make new accounts to harass you, but if you block them and do not engage, hey will eventually lose interest.

7. Use Metrics To Track Your Social Media Efforts

Want to know what is working and what is not working? Use the metrics provided by your social media channels to see which posts are being engaged with more compared to others. If you have a business account, many of these features are available to you. The amount of detail varies from account to account. Some social media channels give you a dizzying amount of information while others give some, but not much. Some services allow you to pull all of your social media data into one place, but some prefer owners to look at each one. Keep in mind that social media results are often not immediate, but instead, it takes time to gain traction for your campaigns. Looking at metrics from a longer perspective will yield better actionable items than only looking at the short term.

Before you dive into your social media channel metrics, determine what goals you want to achieve. When you highlight those goals, you will be able to narrow down what metrics are important to you and which ones are not. Some doctors record numbers in an excel sheet month to month. While this is not necessary, it does force you to look at the numbers regularly and see if any patterns are emerging. Often, the best metrics to look at are Impressions and Engagement. This will tell you how far your content had reached and how many people engaged with it. You want both of these numbers to be as high as possible. Engagement can include comments, shares, or likes. For videos, it is also good to count how many views and, if possible, determine how much of the video someone watched. 

What does a social media manager do for your medical practice?

A medical practice must have social media accounts to succeed in today’s competitive healthcare industry. A medical practice with no social media presence is giving competitors a free space to advertise their business. Over the last couple of decades, social media has increasingly become a way for people to find new services and products, including those associated with healthcare. A medical practice benefits from having a social media manager handle this aspect of marketing. A social media manager will help a medical practice create brand awareness, expand its reach, and increase patient engagement. These activities should help improve the patient count and the bottom line. Hiring the right social media manager is critical to making it an effective marketing area for a medical practice.

What is a social media manager in a medical practice setting?

A social media manager should be a professional other than a staff member or doctor who uses social media as a hobby. A dedicated professional should manage, launch, and monitor social media strategies for a medical practice. Their goal should be to increase a medical practice’s brand awareness, drive traffic to the website, assist current and potential patients by engaging with them and help bring more patients to the front door to be seen by providers.  

A social media manager does not necessarily have to be someone who works inside a medical practice daily. They certainly can, and in some circumstances, that can be very helpful. However, a medical social media manager can be an independent 3rd party managing social media channels remotely. A social media manager could also be one of several services a digital medical marketing agency provides. Some needed skills for an effective social media manager include project management, customer service, content creation, copywriting, content creation, and social media marketing.  

What does a social media manager do for a medical practice? 

In one of the most recent studies, six social media platforms have over 1 billion active users, EACH. 2 in 5 people say they bought something after they saw it on social media. While the study that examined shopping habits focused on more retail than healthcare services, it is clear that social media can be very influential in helping people make their spending decisions. Some healthcare areas, such as medical spas, have a more retail focus and may find themselves putting considerable time and budget into social media marketing efforts.  

A social media manager will often take on many tasks for a medical practice. The number of tasks, the depth of those tasks, and the goals can depend from medical practice to medical practice. Some of the tasks they undertake include:

  • Drafting content for social media channels
  • Schedule posts on social media channels for future posting.
  • Manage any “evergreen” social media posts that can be reused. 
  • Build brand awareness for a medical practice
  • Engage with followers on social media who may have questions, complaints, compliments, or suggestions
  • Manage any issues that may arise from negative experiences
  • Develop social media strategies to increase reach and engagement
  • Managing social media ads

What are a social media manager’s everyday tasks and duties for a medical practice?

Many medical practices have multiple social media accounts that require management.

While some medical practices may only want to deal with one social media channel, it is often better for them to have a presence on multiple sites. Any site a medical practice refuses to participate is giving up free space for a competitor to promote its brand and reach potential patients. An excellent social media manager knows that each platform is different. Only some posts will work for some channels, and they must be adjusted to be as effective as possible on that channel. Each social media channel is unique and has different features that can be taken advantage of to make a message more effective.  

A social media manager is responsible for the social media marketing strategy.

A social media marketing strategy is needed to get the most out of social media efforts and coordinate them with a medical practice and its other digital marketing campaigns. When developing the strategy for social media channels, a social media manager will look at analytics and additional insights to see what posts have been performing well and which posts have yet to connect with followers. Some types of posts or content may perform better on other platforms. For example, a post featuring a series of photos may perform well on Facebook and Instagram but only get a little traction on Twitter. A social media manager may only use those posts on Facebook and Instagram going forward. Posts on social media channels should be crafted to promote the most engagement with current and potential followers. 

Social media managers will often create content calendars for a medical practice. A content calendar plans out the theme, style, and type of posts that a medical practice will post on its social media channels. Some content calendars will be created by the month, detailing specific days of the month when particular things will be posted. In contrast, others will create a more general weekly schedule detailing types and themes to follow. Some items that are often included in a content calendar include:

  • Promotional campaigns
  • Seasonal updates
  • Engaging topics
  • Evergreen posts
  • Type of posts

Developing content for social media channels for a medical practice

One of the primary duties of a social media manager is to develop high-quality content for a medical practice that will connect with current and potential patients. This content should be useful, engaging content that helps educate social media followers or highlight the services or products at the medical practice. Social media managers should keep an eye on metrics to see any content that performs better than others. An over-performing post should be posted again later and analyzed to see what made it more popular than the typical post. Ideally, developed content should boost engagement, reach, and, hopefully, overall patient count in medical practice.  

Social media managers often engage in customer service and patient relations in real time.

Social media can be a fast-moving entity. If a patient is sitting in a waiting room or an examination room posting their increasing dissatisfaction with their visit, this can harm a medical practice’s reputation. While it is unlikely online posts will make regional or national news, they are out there for other potential patients to find. A social media manager needs to be ready to engage with these people posting about a medical practice as quickly as possible. If a social media manager figures out the issue and rectifies it, it can help prevent a negative review from being posted. It can also show future patients that a medical practice takes their patients’ feedback seriously. Social media is an excellent way to contact a medical practice if there is an issue. Also, patients sometimes will post on social media positive feedback. Keeping HIPAA privacy rules in mind, these positive statements are also opportunities to promote a medical practice.  

A social media manager can increase patient numbers using social media. 

A social media manager does more than try to increase the number of likes and follows for a medical practice. Ideally, those new and current followers will come to a medical practice for service. Once they are engaged with a social media channel for a medical practice, a social media manager must work to convert those followers into patient visits. Some ways to encourage followers to visit a medical practice include:

  • Educating followers on the benefits of services or products
  • Sharing testimonials from other patients about the services at a medical practice
  • Run a promotion offering limited-time discounts
  • Run a promotion offering discounts for first-time patients or patients that refer others to a medical practice
  • Sharing photos and blogs of medical services or products at a practice
  • Livestream a Q&A with a provider so they can answer online questions about a medical practice

Analyzing social media posts and reporting results to stakeholders is an essential duty for a social media manager.

Posting regularly and creating a content calendar for a medical practice is a good habit. However, the performance of these posts must be analyzed. Monitoring and reporting the analytics of social media posts is a crucial role of a social media manager. This information needs to be gathered, analyzed and reported to others involved with marketing. The information must also be presented so that others, who may need to be more familiar with the ins and outs of this medium, understand what is going on.

Each social media channel generally has analytics and metrics that can be examined regularly. These analytics are suitable for social media managers who want to push deep into the numbers to know what is happening. However, these numbers may only sometimes be needed in some situations, and much like logging into each social media channel to post, it can be time-consuming to log into each one to pull numbers. There are various social media tools that allow you to post to multiple channels from one location and analyze some of the metrics from those posts. This can save time for a social media manager and provide a broad look at post performance with followers.

What skills must an excellent social media manager have for a medical practice?  

Brand Management

Branding a medical practice is crucial in the highly competitive healthcare industry. A social media manager must be familiar with a medical practice’s brand standards. They must create and maintain a tone and voice and keep consistent branding (colors, logos, taglines, etc.) across various social media channels.  

Build an Online Community

While not all social media platforms are designed to foster and build a community, those that do can be used to the advantage of a medical practice. A social media manager can help gather followers with similar interests to talk about medical services or the products offered. When building a community, a social media manager for a medical practice needs to monitor, moderate, engage and help promote discussions between followers. The reputation of a medical practice is on the line here and will be impacted negatively if discussions are unmoderated and turn ugly. Actively engaging a community of followers may help a medical practice find new opportunities by learning about the services that people want but are not available.  

Analytical ability

Social media managers need to be able to analyze a variety of things to be successful. They need to assess how successful social media campaigns and efforts are by being able to look at engagement and patient count. Looking at social media analytics will also help social media managers better understand how social media channel algorithms are showing the content they post. The more they become familiar with these numbers and trends, the more successful their overall posts will be.  

Knowledge of the Healthcare Industry 

A social media manager needs to know how social media channels work, but they also need to be knowledgeable of the healthcare industry. As the healthcare industry changes, a social media manager needs to stay updated with those changes. This will allow a social media manager to engage with other staff members and providers at a medical practice so they can inspire new ideas for marketing. Knowledge about the healthcare industry can help them create content using language that makes a medical practice sound authentic and showcases their expertise. Knowledge of the industry also will help prevent them from violating specific standards and laws, like HIPAA, that may not apply to other sectors.  

How can a medical practice hire a social media manager?

Hiring a social media manager can be a challenge to any medical practice. Here are some tips for successfully hiring one:

  • Write a detailed job description: A medical practice should be specific about what they seek in a social media manager. They need to spell out what their expectations are for education and experience. If particular skills are essential for them to have, that needs to be listed as well. This will make the hiring process more efficient and avoid having interviews with less qualified candidates.  
  • Define roles for a social media manager: It helps if a medical practice says explicitly what the social media manager will be responsible for. If it needs to be more specific or left up for interpretation, there could be problems where a social media manager can not or does not want to perform a duty. 
  • Review Resumes and Cover Letters: Before interviewing someone for this position, look at their resume and cover letter. If they do not know what they are talking about in their cover letter and have no substantial experience in their resume, then they may not be the best person to talk to. A good candidate will list the skills, experience, and education to be successful.
  • Hire A Digital Medical Marketing Agency –  Medical marketing companies often have social media experts on staff that can assist with the social media campaigns of medical practices. This can be an excellent choice for medical practices that want a part-time social media manager and do not want to invest in it heavily but want it done correctly and not give up on the area of marketing entirely. 

The experts at are available to help you create a high-performance healthcare website and help you manage your social media channels. Contact us today, and let us show you what we have done for other practices across the country! 

Social media can be a significant part of your medical marketing plan. The experts at can help you craft a social media marketing plan to maximize your efforts. We have worked with hundreds of other clients across the United States and improved their social media efforts. We will optimize your social media channels and ensure they maintain your brand standards and search better. Call our team and let us show you what we have done for other clients and talk about how our apps, some designed specifically for Facebook, can increase patient engagement. We will help you grow your business and your patient count.