Social media play an increasingly important role in the choice of a healthcare provider. Four out of ten patients are now influenced by social reputation when looking for a doctor, according to a recent survey.

Use these benchmarks to ensure your clinic or hospital is keeping up with the pace.

1. Appoint a community manager

Your social media presence will help define your brand identity. It’s too important to be left to chance. A community manager needs to be skilled in:

    • Content creation

Generating engaging materials that will bring in visitors

    • Relationship management

Finding the right tone when dialoguing with patients

    • Performance analysis

Crunching the numbers to work out which actions deserve the most resources

    • Crisis management

Knowing how to handle emergency situations

    • Keeping it legal

Respecting the regulatory environment for healthcare providers

2. Think visually

Posts with photographs are more widely shared than those without. Think of ways to get your patients involved: for example create an Instagram beautiful baby page and invite mums and dads to post their pictures.

3. Understand what interests your readers

Good content is the key to sharing – and sharing is the key to building an audience. Practical advice works well, so do special offers. Equally powerful are human interest stories that carry an underlying message.

4. Keep it short

It’s great that you’ve made it this far down this article! But for most social media, bite-sized chunks is the rule.

5. Be reactive

On Twitter, monitor mentions of your hospital name – not everyone may know your handle. Take the opportunity to join in conversations when appropriate, making sure your comments add value and show empathy. Avoid being too formal – a natural, conversational style is generally what works best.