Let’s face it: social media has much of the ophthalmology world confused.
At first glance it might seem like an embarrassing thing to admit, but it’s really not. So many ophthalmologists have personal profiles on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but they still haven’t yet found a way to integrate these channels into their practice and clinical work.
So what’s the biggest lie about social media? That it doesn’t matter.
We hear it all the time: why should I have social media channels for my practice? Do people really engage with their eye doctors online?
For some reason, ophthalmologists have been tricked into thinking that social media doesn’t matter for their practice. This could be because they’ve seen others try it and fail. It could be because of the ever-present fear of HIPAA compliance. It could be that they don’t understand how much time needs to go into running a successful social media channel, or they may not know where to start.
Whatever the reason, it’s a huge lie that social media doesn’t matter for the medical industry…and it’s one we want to fight. Social media is useful for ophthalmologists for a number of reasons. Here are three of the most important ones:
Social media expands your reach and can help draw new patients in.
Google and other big search engines often highlight profiles from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter above regular websites, so having active social media channels is a great way to expand your reach online beyond just your website. Also, having links to your social media channels on your website and vice versa (cross-linking) is a boon to your SEO, which increases the chances that your website or social media profile – or both – will be discovered.
Social media helps engage with potential patients.
Sure, it may seem like many patients may not interact with their eye doctor online – and the vast majority may not. But don’t fret – some still do! Especially if your website may not be as visible, social media channels are a great way for potential patients to get in touch, book an appointment, or learn more about your practice.
Social media is a great tool for communicating with other ophthalmologists and staying up-to-date with industry news and events.
From our experience, this is the element of social media that ophthalmologists tend to understand the most. Though patients may use social media to discover and engage with you or your practice, this is the primary reason physicians should be on social media. Ophthalmic conferences like AAO, AECOS, and ASCRS will most often use a hashtag to categorize information surrounding the conference, which can be a great way to listen in on the action even if you can’t attend. Following other ophthalmologists in your area and around the world can be a wonderful way to discover new talent, stay up-to-date with industry happenings, and promote collaboration among physicians.
Social media may not be for everyone, but it’s an absolute lie that it doesn’t matter. It is only when ophthalmologists try their hand at social media tools that they can discover how much these platforms really matter for discovering, connecting, and collaborating online.