Six Signs Social Media is for You

I am a big fan of the blog “33 charts,” written by Bryan Vartabedian, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. His blog focuses on social media and medicine, and how the two are interconnected in today’s world.

I like Dr. Vartabedian’s blog for many reasons. Not only is he is passionate about the subject of social media and medicine, but he is knowledgeable and honest.

While I enjoy all of his posts, one of my favorites is titled “6 Signs (for Physicians) That Social Media is Not for You.”

I think this post is important because in order to be successful in social media, you need to have the right person on the front lines. Your social media strategy won’t be successful if you find someone who is half-heartedly blogging.

I won’t repeat Dr. Vartabedian’s six signs because you can read it here, but I will say that just as he has his methods for weeding out those who should not be participating, I have my own list of signs (for physicians) that social media IS for you, based on our Hive Core Values.

1.    Listen to understand. In today’s world, patients want a doctor who will listen to them and collaborate with them to get the best care. It’s no different in a blog setting. If you are a good listener, you will understand who your patients are and therefore can serve them better.
2.    Have a conversation. If you have the time and energy to respond to the comments, concerns and joys of your readers, you’ll gain a loyal fan base.
3.    Inform and educate. There is a great opportunity for you to disseminate information to many different people. If you find value in educating the public on general topics that are relevant to them, the impact you make on the social media world will be a big one.
4.    Simplify. If you are able to dedicate a specific amount of time to your blog, Facebook page or Twitter account and focus on the most important elements, you will be successful.
5.    Be generous. If you want to participate in social media for reasons other than getting more patients or looking like an expert, social media is for you. This also incorporates another of our values, Be real. The more generous and genuine you are, the more success you’ll have.
6.    Trust your community. Social media and medicine are a tricky combination because of HIPAA. But if you’re able to let go and not worry that someone who is unhappy will bombard your blog or Twitter or Facebook account, you’ll be more relaxed. For every negative comment there will be five more positives.

There you go. Six ways to tell if someone has what it takes to be successful in social media. And because this list is not at all exhaustive, I encourage you to think about all of these characteristics as you are looking for the right hospital employee to represent your hospital. And once you’ve taken the time to find the right person to carry out your social media strategy, you also have an ideal ambassador for your hospital.

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