“Change is inevitable”
Whether you are familiar with this statement being the basis of a doctrine created by the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus, or you are familiar with this statement from personal experience, most everyone understands the reality behind it. Based on the nature of their work, doctors especially understand the familiarity of the statement. With Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and search engines like Google consistently increasing in users year after year, people have begun searching and shopping for everything online— including their next doctor or surgeon. Whether you like it or not, any person could google themselves and notice that they have a digital footprint and an online reputation. So, who are the “social media doctors” and how does this play in to online reputation?
According to Dr. Kevin Campbell, there are two truths of online reputation: one, you have no control over what people say about you or your business, and two, you have 100% control of the online story you create. However, doctors and practices have been slow to embrace the changes of social media. Considering their profession, it’s not a surprise— doctors avoid or minimize risks at all cost to ensure the safety of their patients. And, social media does bring about a certain layer of risk; anything digital or published online is essentially permanent. Yet, again viewing the situation from a doctor or surgeon’s point of view, would avoiding taking any risks lead to any productivity or solutions? This is where the “social media doctors” step in. When we say social media doctors, we’re talking about those who step outside of their comfort zone and begin to take charge of their online image. This sometimes means doing it themselves, or bringing on a partner or consultant.
Engaging in social media while in the medical field is basically the same thing. Rather, instead of enduring the worry about physically slicing into an artery you weren’t supposed to, it’s all about fundamentally managing your online reputation. This begins with making sure your online presence is seen, and continues into noticing reviews and comments— both good and bad— and ends with you effectively handling communication by changing any negative posts into positive ones or by creating personal connections with your patients. Frequently, by participating in online conversations, and using the tools of social media, you can enhance the positivity and productivity that can be done— for patients, for doctors, and for the profession.