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What Social Networks Should I Be Using To Promote My Practice?

It seems like there’s a hot new social media site launching every day.

You might have seen articles decrying the death of Facebook and insisting that some hot new startup is the place you have to be if you want to attract new patients for your healthcare practice.

Medical marketers of every shape and size will tell you why one platform is the other is where you need to focus your efforts, and they each have a case study to prove their point.

If it worked for one doctor, one dentist, one chiropractor or other health provider, it’s bound to work for your medical office, right?

The fact is, social media has never been one-size-fits-all.

You need to tailor your social media approach to the practice you want to run and the patients you want to see, just as each individual patient requires a tailored approach to optimal health. And with so many social media and sharing options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to be on every social network, or even most of them. There’s really only a handful of social media sites where you’re likely to see any sort of return on the time you invest, and choosing just a few of those to focus will yield the best results.

What Social Networks Are Best for YOUR Doctor’s Office?

Not all social media platforms are equal. Not only do they function differently, but they have different audiences and can serve your healthcare practice in different ways.

  1. Do you want to connect with other doctors and medical professionals to start seeing more referrals?
  2. Are you hoping for more industry influence and a larger all-around profile as a medical expert and care provider?
  3. Is getting new patients through direct outreach and discussion at the top of your priority list?

Once you define your goals, you’ll be able to choose the social media network(s) that can most easily give you the results you’re looking for. Let’s take a closer look at the sites we’ve seen work best for our clients.

  • Doximity: Built specifically for medical professionals (and students and residents) to keep in touch with each other and make new connections, Doximity is great for boosting your profile within your specialty and getting referrals from other local providers. This isn’t the place for patient outreach, but if it’s a bigger and stronger healthcare network you’re looking for, Doximity is an easy way to get it.
  • Facebook: No matter what you’ve read elsewhere, Facebook isn’t going anywhere any time soon. With nearly 2 billion and growing monthly active users, Facebook is still the social media king and your best bet for staying connected to patients, get positive reviews, and reach out to new patients. You can check out some of our tips for using Facebook as the center of your outreach efforts here. Simply put, post valuable information and fun, engaging content and you’ll have current and prospective patients lining up to “like” you.
  • Twitter: You might be surprised to hear it, but Twitter isn’t actually a great way to reach new patients. It is, however, a great way to connect with influencers, the press, and other members of the healthcare industry. Share stories and good news about your connections, ask questions and join conversations, and tweet about your own successes and insights to start boosting your professional esteem. If you want invitations to speak at gatherings and events, writeups on local news sites, and other publicity, Twitter is your practice’s best friend.
  • Instagram: The picture-centric nature of Instagram makes it perfect for many cosmetic-oriented and appearance-affecting medical practices. Dermatologists, dental and orthopedic providers, plastic surgeons, and others can use before and after pictures—or just the “afters”—to show prospective patients exactly what they can expect. When appropriate, encourage your patients to share pictures on their own Instagram accounts with a tag to your profile and/or link to your website, and you’ll get the social media equivalent of a five-star referral.
  • SnapChat: One of the most popular social media platforms to emerge in recent years, it’s still hard to see how SnapChat will fare for businesses—including healthcare providers. If you’re trying to reach a younger crowd of prospective patients with health tips and informal answers to general medical questions, though, this could be a useful tool in your healthcare office’s online marketing arsenal.

Do you have a social media success story you feel like sharing? Specific questions about what your practice can do to see the growth you’re looking for? Drop us a line and let us know!

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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