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The Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter For Your Dermatology Practice

Are you interested in learning how to promote your dermatology practice on Twitter?

Compared to other social networks, Twitter is one of the simplest and most straightforward platforms you could ever use. The interface is simple and there are no privacy settings or new changes to deal with every few months.

Twitter, tweets, birds on a line

In fact Twitter is perceived by physicians to be a more relevant platform for medical conversations than say, Facebook. Even with a limitation of 140 characters per tweet, Twitter is a great place for dermatologists to amplify your voice, accrue more influence, and extend your reach simply by leveraging this platform a few minutes each day. Here’s how to get started on Twitter.

Planning Phase

  1. Define your Goals – Decide what you are trying to achieve with Twitter. Your objectives should be specific, timely and measurable e.g. to grow your email list by 10% each month.
  2. Define your target audience – Apart from mere demographics you should have an in-depth understanding of your prospective patients’ health needs, challenges, frustrations, life-style goals and even their content preferences. This knowledge (gained through research) will help you to develop interesting content that draws them to you as a trusted source of relevant content.
  3. Understand how Hashtags work – A hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed by the pound symbol (#) e.g. #melanoma or #acne. It is a form of metadata tag used to group Twitter conversations into specific categories. Hashtags are becoming increasingly popular on Twitter as evidenced by the creation of the Healthcare Hashtag Project.

Create Your Account

  1. Create a Twitter account using the name of your business domain e.g. if your domain is skindoctor.com, your Twitter profile should be @skindoctor.
  2. Write up a short bio or description of your profile using keywords that are both ‘Google-friendly’ and consistent with your practice e.g. skin care, etc.
  3. Include your location
  4. Add a link to your website
  5. Upload a logo or photo that is consistent with the branding of your practice
  6. Include an appealing Twitter background that complements your branding

Develop Your Tactics

  1. Follow selectively – focus on people and brands that add value to your business. Use tools such as Twellow or Tweepi to help you find relevant followers on Twitter.
  2. Use Twitter lists – A twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users that is based on specific characteristics. You may create your own list or subscribe to lists created by others. Here’s a step-by-step guide for using Twitter lists.
  3. Use time saving tools – Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are complementary to Twitter because they help you manage your account and save time.
  4. Budget your time – allocate about 30 minutes each day to Twitter marketing. Within that time use your favorite tool (see #3) to schedule tweets, monitor conversations and ‘listen’ to what others are saying about you.
  5. Stay on-topic – It’s easy to get distracted on Twitter if you’re not focused. Stay on topic and ignore any conversations that are irrelevant to your practice. Lists and hashtags are effective in helping you stay on topic.
  6. Engage in conversations with others by asking or answering questions, recognizing and thanking people who share your content and so on.
  7. Add  “Follow me on Twitter” buttons in the top-right corner of your website, newsletter, email signature lines and all other digital marketing properties.
  8. Create great content that engages your target audience. And don’t forget to share other people’s content too, particularly when it is consistent with your own brand’s messaging.

Monitor your Progress

  1. Regularly check your mentions (@mentions) to see what people are saying about you
  2. Use Google analytics to see how much traffic is coming to your website from Twitter.
  3. Learn, Adjust, Repeat – be prepared to experiment with new tactics to learn what works for your practice and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working, be prepared to let it go, modify your strategy and keep testing for new opportunities.

What do you think? Twitter has become quite an impressive platform for promoting healthcare and medical brands. As a dermatologist what has been your experience so far?

Image Credit: by mkhmarketing, Flickr, under Creative Commons License

***This article was first published on Dermatology Times on February 1st, 2014

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