Last week I spoke on social media at the AMA’s National Association of Medical Communicators conference in New Mexico. Loads of interest and lots of questions from physicians and communication professionals.
The number one question: “How do I find time for social media?”
This is a great question since social media outlets are not only growing but they’re progressively becoming a more acceptable way for MDs to interact and engage. And whether you engage now or later, your involvement in social media (SM) is inevitable. But the question is where, when and how much?
Here are a few things to consider when using SM on a doctor’s schedule:
Set a budget. Newcomers to SM are often overwhelmed. And once they adopt, the power of relationships can create a compelling draw. Things can easily get out of hand. Do yourself a favor and set a firm schedule for your SM activities. Post to your blog consistently once or twice a week and allow yourself a half hour a day on Twitter, for example. Small, consistent contributions can yield visibility and healthy dividends.
View social media like any other part of your practice development.Engaging with other medical professionals is just as important online as off.Look at applications like Twitter to deliver the similar relationships and opportunities as an evening mixer at a medical meeting.And if you don’t go to the reception, you’ll never make the connections you’re looking for.
Limit your presence. There are dozens of potential platforms for you to interact in the SM space. Pick one or two, use them and get to know them. Don’t worry about what you’re missing and focus on what what your involved with. My blog and Twitter have served as a good core SM presence.
Focus on relationships, not numbers. Too often the emphasis of SM connections is on numbers (Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections). The strength of SM, however, comes from real connections. Twitter, for example, is full of people with 30,000 followers and zero social capital. Focus on a smaller group and look to give before you receive.
While you may not have a lot of time to dedicate to online relationships, understand the power of those connections that develop slowly and steadily.