For our small practice, social media has been the right medicine for our advertising aches and pains. We opened our practice in 2006 with the traditional advertising campaigns in place. We branded ourselves through local magazines, newspapers, the phone book and referrals through other medical practices. We were successful in getting the word out that laser surgery for varicose veins was now available in Northern Colorado. Five years later we started a Facebook page for our business. The next year we added Twitter, then LinkedIn. Other unlikely social media for a medical practice has been added since, Pinterest, YouTube, and of course a Blog. This year we are finally updating our website to incorporate all of these elements.
Let me tell you these were not easy decisions. We debated whether this type of media campaign would open up our practice to detrimental comments if we experienced a dissatisfied patient, we hesitated about confidentiality of patient information, we had no idea whether it was going to increase our business or hurt it. But after much discussion, we decided to become a bit vulnerable and try one or two sites for a while and see the results.
I applaud all of the medical practices that have taken this leap into the online world of social media. I am amazed every time I get online to search for medical information. Not only is it advertising, but it is sharing information about what we do. We have a community of care that allows patients to seek information in the privacy of their own home, or mobile device and then decide if this care is what they would like to seek out. It has brought us many younger and more educated patients. I don’t mean they all have bachelor degrees, but educated in what we do and why we offer all of our treatment options.
When I ask most patients how they hear about us now, it is usually from searching online. Social media has become a necessity in the medical practice. Everyone is online in some form. We have shifted our paradigms to allow social media to be a bigger and almost daily part of our practice. It has not only brought us exposure to a different way of using our resources, but connections to other experts in our field, ways to show pictures and videos to educate patients, and ways to allow us to show our individual personalities that shine in our own practice that make us unique in this big online world of varicose veins!