Social media for ophthalmologists
What you don’t say is as important as what you do say
Why should ophthalmologists use social media? A more important question might be: why should ophthalmologists not use social media? According to Rod Solar, Client Services Director at LiveseySolar Practice Builders, social media is the place to be in order to capture all corners of the market. “If you’re not on social media you are definitely missing an opportunity to communicate with a significantly large segment of the population,” he told Kristine Morrill, Founding Partner at consultancy firm medeuronet, in a EuroTimes Eye Contact interview.
From millennials on Twitter to Generation Xers and boomers on Facebook, a social media presence is vital for attracting potential patients. On top of that, many traditionalists (aged 73 and older) will ask their children for help and advice when contemplating surgery, and those adult children will be sure to check out a practice’s social media profile.
When it comes to the character of your profile, your desired market will determine your approach. Millennials love authenticity, but older patients might prefer a more straightforward approach. “They want that professional distance, they’re used to that and they’re comfortable with that,” said Mr Solar.
What you don’t say is as important as what you do say, he adds. “Imagine that you’re sitting in your waiting room, and you’ve got a whole bunch of patients, maybe a couple dozen, and you’re answering some questions. Imagine that everything that’s being discussed by the patients, prospective patients and yourself, is being broadcast on every single radio station in the area. Not only that, but there are also cameras, and they’re broadcasting everything that’s happening on television as well.” That gives a hint of the potential reach of your social media platform.
“We’ve all seen things that we all laugh at, and sometimes groan at and grimace at; this is definitely not something that we want to do if it’s something we don’t want representing our practice properly. With that rule in mind, they really can’t go wrong,” Mr Solar explains.
Finally, once you’ve got your head around all the current options, what’s next? Social messaging, live video and virtual reality. It may seem far off, but don’t be surprised if patients start asking for advice over WhatsApp in the not-too-distant future. After that, you may be guiding patients through your practice while they remain in the comfort of their own home.
“Inviting someone into your practice and having them walk around it, goes well beyond a virtual tour. Because they’re interacting with people who are in the practice, this creates a virtual reality kind of experience, which might lead to more adoption,” Mr Solar concluded.
Rod Solar will deliver the ESCRS Practice Management Masterclass at the 36th Congress of the ESCRS