Social media policy influences your brand—both personally and your medical practice. Some doctors choose to ignore social media. Others severely limit employee participation. If your social media strategy falls under one of these options, you’re not doing either yourself or your brand any favors.
Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platform offer posting, reviews, comments and more. While you can’t control everything, some guidelines can help you optimize your personal and professional online brand. And, that counts for a lot when it comes to referrals and getting new patients in your door.
Personal Social Media Policy Tips for Doctors
- Social media posts never go away. Even marking a picture/post private or limiting access doesn’t guarantee that the public will never see it. Think “worldwide eyes watching you” before you post. Fair or not, everything you do personally reflects on you as a doctor. Make it good.
- Add a human element to your posts. People relate more to a doctor who shares a little of his personal life. Posting pictures of you with your children, spouse, grandchildren and other family and friends is great. Special occasion pictures and office photos are great.
- Avoid posting about controversial topics. You’re entitled to your opinion just like every other person. However, it’s not necessary to share it publicly when it can influence your brand.
- Don’t post compromising photos that show you in a less than professional manner that can detract from your brand. You decide how you want to live your life, but it’s not always a good idea to share everything with the public.
Medical Practice Social Media Policy
- Every employee is an extension of your online brand in today’s social media world. People scrutinize postings from professionals in some positions (think medical professionals) more than other jobs (accounting).
- Create a social media policy that isn’t too short or too long. Lengthy guidelines aren’t always read and are difficult to remember. Short guidelines rarely provide enough substance.
- Employees should refrain from posting negative comments about daily office work.
- HIPPA regulations forbid anything to be said publicly or posted in social media that can be connected with a specific patient. We’ll take it another step to say don’t post anything other than tips and facts when talking about a procedure.
- Steer patients to your business pages instead of connecting with them via personal pages. There will always be some overlap that you can’t avoid.
Your Number 1 Rule: Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t say on the evening news!
If you need help in developing your social media policy, contact PUMC. We’re here to brainstorm or draft your policy.