The New Year is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to grow while improving the lives of those who encounter your medical practice. Social media has proven to be an effective way to increase exposure online, engage with patients and share information. Even if you are already using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you should consider refreshing your social media marketing strategy to keep it engaging. Here are three tips to help you start the New Year on the right foot.

1. Know Your Audience

When used correctly, social media can be a successful healthcare marketing tool. However, before posting it is important to understand who your target audience is. As a physician, your top priority is to serve the community, so it is best to enter the world of social media with the intent to solve problems and offer solutions. A perk of using social media is the ability it provides for developing a deeper personal connection with patients.

Your posts should be crafted with the patient in mind. Blog posts, status updates and tweets should reflect the interests of the patient in relation to your practices areas of expertise. For example, a pediatric practice can post vaccine information and address frequently asked questions while also posting about food tips for picky eaters.

2. Avoid Getting Personal

Social media is a tool for sharing information, much of which is personal. As a medical practice however, it is important to not forget that you are bound by HIPAA guidelines. Smart strategies must be put in place for handling personal patient information. An easy to read disclosure statement posted on one of your social media tabs will serve as a reminder to patients that anything they share online is available for all to see indefinitely. While it good practice to reply to posts on the same day, avoid having an ongoing conversation on your page for all to read. Instead, invite the patient to contact your practice by phone or email to continue the conversation offline.

3. Remain Professional at All Times

It is equally important to keep status updates and tweets professional. Avoid the temptation to share what you ate for lunch or did over the weekend. Instead focus on sharing information that is useful to your audience. Let your fans get to know your employees by spotlighting one per month. If your practice is involved in a charity or special event, take a picture and share it. Be sure though, to limit posts about the practice to 20% of the time. The balance of your posts should be sharing information.

By thinking through your social media strategy and keeping a healthy balance of engaging and promotional content, you will transform social media marketing into a strategy for growth in your practice.