Archive September 2013 XIV, No. 9

Business Advisor: Who's Afraid of Social Media?

You should jump in and join the conversation.

C. David Geier, MD

BIO

social mediaNot involved with social media? You know that you need to dive into new channels of communication, such as blogs, Facebook and podcasts, but maybe you're hesitant to. Maybe you don't know the difference between a Twitter handle and a hashtag and you're worried about all the time social media will take. From all of my talks on social media at medical conferences and from questions I receive through drdavidgeier.com, I hear the same fundamental concerns.

Patients will leave negative comments about my practice and me.
I don't want to discourage those of you worried about negative reviews any further, but patients can leave those comments now. Even if you don't have a blog, patients can leave harsh reviews on Yelp, Angie's List and many other sites.

Having a blog or Facebook and Twitter account increases the chance that those patients will leave their bad opinions on your platform. That prospect might sound bad, but it isn't. First, you're much more likely to learn about those reviews if they appear on your accounts or site. Second, it gives you the opportunity to respond. You have the opportunity — if you respond quickly and politely — to change the opinion of that patient and make a positive impression on many potential patients. Plus, negative reviews are not nearly as common as we tend to fear. While approximately 80% of people research products online, only about 20% read reviews of healthcare professionals and treatments. And only 3% to 4% of adults have even left reviews of treatments, hospitals or healthcare providers online.

The public will find personal information (or those negative reviews).
To this concern, I have more bad news/good news. Once pictures of your children, your home address or your embarrassing high school photos are online, it is difficult to completely eliminate any trace of them. You also can't stop them from appearing in Google search results.

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