No-one should be surprised to learn that 90% of all US Doctors use social media for personal (87%) and professional (67%) use.
But what might surprise you is that by those numbers, they are well ahead of the general adult population which, according to a study published by Pew Internet & American Life Project last summer, shows only 65% of American adults using social media.
So given that your doctor is probably on Facebook, should he try to be more likeable or more professional?
Let’s take a look at how three popular American doctors are using social media:
Some might argue that Dr. Oz is more of a celebrity than a doctor but hey, he’s a cardiac surgeon with his own TV show – you decide!
Notice that while he’s all about giving people health tips and advice, Dr. Oz also makes his page a fun place to hang out by discussing entertaining subjects that are sure to generate a lot of buzz.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta is a serious guy with serious credentials to his name. Not only is he a neurosurgeon and CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent (among other accomplishments), he was also the President’s first choice for Surgeon General back in 2009.
Dr. Gupta has three Facebook pages – as a doctor, a public figure and a news personality. As a doctor he doesn’t use Facebook to interact with his 1,153 fans, but only displays his bio from Wikipedia.
He certainly isn’t trying to win friends and influence people on Facebook but on Twitter, he’s a different personality altogether:
On Twitter, Dr. Gupta has a good mix of both health related topics and personal conversations with friends. And although he doesn’t tweet often, Sanjay’s 1.5 million followers like his content and share it with their own communities.
Dr. Lissa Rankin
Dr. Rankin is a leading OB/GYN, author, speaker, founder of an online health and wellness community, and leader of the Pink Medicine Revolution.
She’s not a high profile celebrity (like the other two) but she’s using every new and traditional media platform that she can get her hands on to empower patients to tap into their mind’s power to heal the body.
On Facebook she has a small community of 3000 fans. While many of her updates are health focused, she also throws in compelling questions and fun discussion points just to keep her audience engaged. Take a look:
Did you notice how she used this particular discussion to crowd-source content for her new book? (By the way, doctors should consider using social media to perform random surveys since it’s cheap (free actually!) and the likelihood of getting a good response rate is much higher on social media than the white envelope they send in the mail).
These three doctors have very different personalities. While they’re all very professional, both Dr. Oz and Dr. Rankin show a more like-able side on Facebook, while Dr. Gupta hardly gives his fans a chance to get to know him. However on Twitter, he is extremely personable, chats with people and seems to ‘listen‘ to what others are saying as well.
Here’s what doctors can learn about being like-able and professional on Facebook/Twitter:
- Stay on topic – as with any other brand, talk about the things that interest your audience and help them to solve their problems.
- Be personable – Social media is a great platform to showcase your personality. So whether you’re compassionate, inspiring, fun or serious, use that to connect with your community – just don’t try to be too funny or else people might not take you seriously.
- Social media is social -Reach out to your community members and talk to them one on one. People love that and they respond more enthusiastically when you address them individually.
- Don’t have a Facebook page if you’re not going to use it – sorry Dr. Gupta but really, what’s the point? (Anyway he’s much more fun to watch on CNN 🙂
Over to you: How do you think doctors should present themselves on social media? Any thoughts about the three doctors mentioned above? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.