Ophthalmologists are the largest physician users of social media, both on consumer social networks and online physician communities. About 57% of ophthalmologists participate in online physician communities, beating out geriatrics, psychiatry, otolaryngology, and oncology as the top profession active on these sites.
Of all MDs in general, almost half do not use social media professionally. Of those who do, the top social network used for professional purposes is LinkedIn. Overall, more physicians use professional social networks like LinkedIn as opposed to medical association/society social networks and consumer social networks like Facebook.
Despite the high use of social media among ophthalmologists, many misconceptions about these sites and their use remain. This article aims to bust some of these social media myths to help you take full advantage of these sites as an opportunity to promote and grow your business.
If I start a Facebook Business Page, all of my “likes” will see all of my posts (AKA, Facebook = free advertising!).
Facebook officially kills organic reach for brands, making all of your page likes useless.
Many ophthalmologists have likely created a Facebook page for their practice. In doing so, some may have thought that would mean free advertising: You build likes, put up posts, and reach everyone who likes your page—right? Wrong. Facebook has finally confirmed what most marketers already knew: It will kill organic reach for a brand’s Facebook page. For example, the Eyetube Facebook page has nearly 4,000 likes; however, when we post something to the page, we generally reach about 3% to 4% of the news feeds of those people.
In truth, Facebook wants you to pay to reach people. Fortunately, it is not very expensive and is worth looking into. If you commit to spending some resources on Facebook advertising, an easy option is to go to a post and click “Boost Post.” This will allow you to reach your desired audience. How often do you go to a Facebook page of a business or an organization? Rarely! You find posts from your favorite organizations and businesses when they appear in your news feed. And that is where you engage with them or take action.
All of my Facebook friends see all of my posts.
You can improve your visibility in your friends’ news feeds.
Some Facebook users may assume that all of their friends see all of their posts, but that is not the case. The reality is you can improve your visibility in your friends’ news feeds, and the best way to do that is to include links or photos in your posts. Facebook has algorithms that determine what users want to see and that is links and photos.
I can only reach my friends and my page “likes” with my business posts.
Facebook allows you to search and “scrape” user IDs based on interests, memberships, likes, geography, etc., and target your paid posts to these groups.
Another common misconception is that the only people you can reach with your message are those who like your page. You can target your messages by using a tool called Facebook Graph Search to download the Facebook user IDs of specific groups of members. This feature allows you to scrape user IDs based on interests, memberships, likes, geography, etc. So, for example, if you want to get the user IDs of people over 55 within a certain set of zip codes who have liked pages about cataracts, you can actually collect those for free off of Facebook. Then you can upload them and pay to have your Facebook posts reach that audience. Through the use of Facebook Graph Search, you will find that you have now developed a new way to reach new potential patients or customers.
Sending too many tweets will bother your followers and reduce engagement.
Tweet your heart out!
Troubled by the (fictional) risk of “bothering” their followers, some Twitter users may attempt to limit the amount of tweets they send. However, Twitter is a technology of quantity. The more you tweet, the more engagements you will get. Do not worry about bothering people because Twitter is a total opt-in relationship. You want to keep sending tweets and retweeting things of interest to your audience.
#Hashtags are a waste of characters.
#Hashtags can help your business.
Without a hashtag, the only people who will see your tweets are those who are following you. Hashtags give you the ability to amplify the reach of your tweets and, thus, expand the number of followers that you have on Twitter. For example, anyone who clicks on or searches for #MillennialEYE will discover an archive of tweets containing this hashtag. But don’t overdo it (ie, #ophthalmologyisthebestspecialtyever), and try to come up with relevant hashtags (ie, #cataract).