At last month’s ASAPS conference in New York, I was encouraged to see the number of doctors who are coming to understand how valuable social media can be in promoting their practice. Slowly but surely, more and more aesthetic professionals are realizing that engaging with consumers online is the future and that they can do so without fear as long as they develop a plan to ensure that they and their staff do so appropriately.
As we’ve discussed before, the key is to develop a Code of Conduct that governs social interactions before they take place. With a CoC in place, you can tap into the power of social media to manage your reputation, protect patient privacy and introduce yourself to millions of aesthetic consumers.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all in the advice I can share on what a Code of Conduct should look like for each practice. It has to be tailored to fit your brand and the persona you want to represent you and your practice online. But to get you started, here are 7 best practices I’ve learned from the RealSelf 100:
- Be Authentic. Remember, social media is a conversation. Talk online as you would talk to real people and patients in professional situations. People are wary of the conversation that’s ‘too polished.’
- Be Relevant. Keep the online conversations meaningful and relevant to the community.
- Be Social. Encourage your staff and feel comfortable yourself with being social online. In social media, people want to connect with humans. So have a little fun — it’s ok to blur the lines just a tad between personal and professional. Grant Stevens, MD of Marina Del Rey, CA does a great job of this balancing act.
- Be Responsive. Internet consumers want info free and fast! And when they don’t get it, they move on to find it somewhere else. So discuss with your team expectations for response time to relevant comments, questions and patient inquiries. Remember, time is of the essence on the web.
- Be Respectful. You won’t always like what people post on your social pages, but you know as well as I do that people are watching how you respond to feedback. Discuss with your team the manner in which you wish your practice to be represented when disagreements occur. Everyone needs to be professional, courteous and RESPECTFUL, even when they disagree with what’s being said. Respond, don’t react!
- Be Transparent. And don’t sanitize your pages. It’s ok to have comments you disagree with on your social media pages. People do not trust overly sanitized pages where everything is positive. Welcome all types of conversation – supportive, critical or otherwise.
- Be Legal. Don’t break any laws! All privacy laws followed within the walls of your practice are applicable online. (Hint: HIPAA)
Above all, remember that social media is organic. Your CoC doesn’t have to be perfect from the get-go. As you discover what does and doesn’t work, continue to tweak and iterate on your own best practices to ensure alignment with your values and your practice. In the meantime, click here to download a customizable template as a starting point for your own Code of Conduct.