As eyecare professionals, we strive to make patients feel welcome and provide the most personalized experience for them as possible. In fact, many long-time patients form personal connections with the staff members. Today, social media sites have made it easier to blur the lines between patients and doctors. A common question being asked in the medical community right now is, “Should you be Facebook friends with your patients?”
When used correctly, social media offers a way to engage with patients and build loyalty. However, it must be done in a way that protects the privacy of the doctor and staff. The solution is easy. ECPs should maintain separate personal and professional identities within the Facebook community.
Your personal Facebook page should be reserved for sharing pictures and intimate details about your life with your close friends and family. Your professional Facebook page is a vehicle to promote your business as well as foster the relationships with your patients.
Post things on your professional Facebook page that your patients find interesting. What topics do you find yourself talking about with your patients when they are in the office? Do you volunteer for a local organization? Do you play on a softball team? Do you enjoy cooking? Share recipes, take pictures doing what you love, post them, and be interesting! These are the kind of topics that get patients talking and interacting with you.
The goal with your professional page is to be personal but still maintain your privacy. A simple test is to ask yourself, “Is this interesting and fun?” Then ask, “Am I comfortable with the post I just wrote being on the front page of The Washington Post? What would 9.2 million members of think of it?” If you answered “yes” to both questions, you have a great idea for posting.
Should you friend your patients on your personal Facebook page? The answer is “no.” Instead, let your patients know you regularly update your practice’s Facebook page. If you’re posting fun, relevant information, you’ll benefit by building stronger connections with your patients.
Samantha Toth is the resident Marketing Rockstar for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.
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