Provide useful health information on your Facebook page

The people mostly likely to “like” your Facebook page are your current patients. So use your Facebook page to maintain your relationship with them by offering regular, useful health information.

For example, primary care practitioners can post simple but important health tips such as “Summer’s here! Remember to protect your skin from the sun.” Specialists can comment on new medical studies from their field and tell their patients what they really mean to them. Both can link to health information that is important and timely.

This information will help your patients stay healthy. It will also raise their awareness of your practice and strengthen their sense of you as a doctor they like and trust.

This makes it more likely your patients will continue to see you. It also makes it more likely that your patients will think of you when their friends need a doctor like you, which brings us to…

Use your Facebook page to encourage friend-to-friend referrals

Referrals are still the best way to grow a health practice. The average Facebook user has 130 friends and spends four and a half hours per month on the site.

If you’ve built a strong Facebook relationship with your current patients, you are one click away from a patient recommending you to one of their Facebook friends.

To make this easier, be sure that you have your name, address, phone number, office hours, and a link to your website under the Info tab of your Facebook page.

You can also periodically post updates that state you are happy to accept new patients, but don’t ask for referrals directly. Facebook is a conversation among friends. It works best when you keep it that way.

Use your Facebook page to raise your profile as an “expert”

Finally, you can use Facebook to build your reputation as an expert in a specific disease, condition, or procedure.

For example, if you are a family doctor who is interested in diabetes, you could focus your Facebook posts on health information useful to people with diabetes. As a result, the posts would help you develop the reputation of being a primary care physician who is particularly good at helping diabetic men and women manage their overall health.

Similarly, if you are an orthopedic surgeon who gets consistently excellent results from hip replacement surgery, you might decide to post on issues surrounding hip replacements. Over time, this will help you become known as the surgeon to see for hip surgery in your community.

To make Facebook as an effective tool for building your practice, you have to post several times a week, to respond to all patient posts, and to doing this for as long as you have a Facebook page.

Solo practitioners and small group practices may find Facebook takes more time than they have. Large group practices, who can divide the work among many care providers, will find it easier.