Facebook is usually the primary method in building your social media presence, but don’t forget other pieces to the puzzle. The immediacy of Twitter makes it a perfect tool to keep your name and practice before people in an unobtrusive manner. Twitter also has the greatest potential to jump start a conversation. Distinctive items of interest rapidly gain a life of their own as followers tweet and retweet.
Twitter’s place in medical social media is often secondary — depending on your goals — but can be incredibly beneficial when used effectively. Twitter can keep you on top of industry news, trends and provide insight from many of your medical peers. It can also be used to create a growing conversation that points back to your practice.
Best Uses of Twitter
- Follow your Brand – Twitter Search allows you to track what people are saying about you, your practice, competitors and topics that are hot in your field. Google Reader can be used to gather RSS feeds from these searches. When someone tweets about you and your practice, follow them. Always take a moment to thank them personally in a direct message. There are also many social media monitoring services available such as the Social dashboard in our own MDWebPro Insights.
- Point Followers to your Blog and Web Site – Twitter should be your follow up plan for every blog post and meaningful addition to your website. Windows Live Writer, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck can be used to automatically send a Tweet about the post without taking any extra steps. There are also several free WordPress plugins to accomplish the same thing. Of course just because you can automate tweets from your blog feed doesn’t mean you should settle for the automation. Scheduling tweets is fine but you will generally want to add your voice to the tweets and make them each unique for better engagement.
- Highlight testimonials and References– When you click on the star at the left hand side of a tweet, you set that person as a favorite. Anytime someone offers something positive about you and your practice make sure you follow them and make them a favorite. Third party testimonials are invaluable in setting yourself apart as a leader in your fields.
- Establish yourself as an Authority – Send out snippets of information that establish you as a medical professional who is leading the way in your field. Provide news about new procedures or whatever else shows your followers that you are serious about being the leader in your field of practice.
- Promotions – Run special promotions exclusively for Twitter followers. Include a link directly to a sign-up page on your web site. This is a great way to provide value for following you on Twitter.
TIP: Avoid over saturating your followers with multiple tweets. One or two well thought out and meaningful tweets a day is far more effective than 10 that become watered down through overuse. The attention span of tweeters is short so make sure the tweets you send are memorable.
Pallimed.org provides the following 11 uses for medical professionals:
Networking (with people you do and do not know)
1. Network with medical professionals in their discipline (doctors and doctors)
2. Network with medical professionals outside their discipline (doctors and pharmacists)
3. Network with medical professionals within one’s specialty (ER nurses and ER nurses)
4. Network with medical professionals outside one’s specialty (ER nurses and hospice nurses)
5. Following search terms related to your field to see what people are saying
6. Finding media reports about one’s field to find what your patients might be reading
7. Extending the reach of topics important to you
8. Giving words of support to those in your Twitter network
9. Posting journal articles, news, blog posts, conference highlights from others supporting your cause
10. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by you or your team
11. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by others
For those of you on Twitter already, we are interested to hear what you get out of it. Are there more uses to add to the list of 11 above?