Sharing is great. But oversharing can be dangerous.
So, your social media channels are up and running, but how do you get followers and begin developing brand loyalty? Studies show curating a personal connection is key to social media success — 69 percent of users polled said they buy from brands they know, like and trust. But it requires balance to establish emotional connections that build value, brand identity and loyalty online without crossing into the pitfalls of oversharing. For a medical practice, it’s potentially even illegal to share too much. Here’s our top 6 tips of what not to do on your office’s social media:
Don’t share information that violates HIPPA, including the names of people at your office or any patient identifiers. Have patients sign a waiver if you share any photos of them. Whether you post their names or not, you must have their permission to post their picture. A great way to get around this is to ask them to post a picture and tag your office.
Don’t share personal opinions about your workplace. A patient annoyed you by showing up late? Don’t post about it. Save the griping for closed groups like ODs on Facebook; your social media should be off limits for any negative comments about the office. Don’t post anything about the staff, job interviewees, doctors you no longer work with, etc., it’s not only unprofessional, but could potentially be a libel issue.
Avoid the -ISMs (racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc.) Don’t make any comment or post that judges others, even if you think it’s humorous. A great example we saw recently: A doctor that calls his staff “his girls” complains on social media that they take offense to this with a photo about raging feminists. Not a good look.
Don’t share gripes, complaints, or rants about our profession. Customer service is a hard field, and we often connect with others in our industry through our office social media. Keep in mind that patients won’t understand those gripes, and will likely get a bad taste in their mouth. We all hate managed care; your office social media isn’t the place for a diatribe.
Don’t share relationship or personal issues. Patients want to personally connect with you, but there is a fine line between what’s appropriate and what’s not. Relationship status is safest off the table. A major illness or a death in the family might be appropriate. Ask yourself: does this affect patient care? If the answer is no, best left unsaid. With that said, family photos or pets are a great way to connect with patients (just like photos you would put in your exam room).
Don’t share anything you don’t want online forever. There are no takebacks online. It’s probably never a good idea to post photos a few drinks in to your CE weekend with optometry school friends.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of INVISION.