Orthopedist Howard Luks, MD has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter, but don’t call him a one-trick pony.

He’s also highly active on Facebook and YouTube. His video on meniscal tears (and whether surgery is always necessary) has been viewed nearly 175,000 times. And it’s not like he spent thousands of dollars producing some flashy video with every bell and whistle Hollywood has in its toy chest.

It’s just him and a camera.

Talking.

Imagine that.

orthopedic-technologyClearly, Dr. Luks knows how to use social media to:

  • Grow an audience
  • Build his brand
  • Broaden his exposure
  • Solidify himself as a thought-leader and influencer

These are exactly the reasons you should be using social media to complement your marketing strategies.

But how, exactly, can you use the Facebooks, Twitters, and Instagrams of the world without committing ungodly hours to social media or infringing on HIPAA violations?

These 5 tips should help.

1. Share new services and technologies

Prospective patients who are on social media need help choosing which surgeon to turn to.

They want to know that their choice in orthopedic surgeon will have the cutting edge technologies and services to help them heal faster, with less downtime.

Make it easy for your prospects to choose you by talking about new services and technologies on social media.

For example, Dr. Seth Rosenzweig (an orthopedic surgeon in Louisiana), was one of only 3 practices in LA to offer a new type of waterproof cast to patients. A local news station highlighted the cast (and Dr. Seth), which the doctor shared on social media.

He got huge responses from the post he shared online, particularly from patients who lead very active lifestyles (and are at a higher risk of needing such a cast).

2. Share patient success stories – focus on life well beyond the procedure

footballAs an orthopedic surgeon, you have the unique opportunity of experiencing how the work you perform on a patient can drastically change his or her life.

Take, for example, the high school quarterback who suffered a broken hand his junior year. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you shared his success, the following school year, when he threw his first post-surgery touchdown?

Not only does that demonstrate your skills as a surgeon, but it shows your involvement in your community and your investment in your patients.

Few things will win over a prospective patient than seeing that their doctor actually sees them as more than, well, a patient.

When you publish these types of success stories, focus on the patient. Focus on the success. Only hint at the work you’ve done. For example, for our senior-year quarterback, you could post a picture of him in his football uniform with the quote:

“Congratulations to [Name of Student] for a heck of a game, including your first TD pass since hand surgery. We here at the office knew your injury wouldn’t slow you down!”

Simple, direct, and heartfelt. A winning combination.

3. Post health tips

woman-tabletNewsflash: Folks go online to consume helpful and entertaining information. In other words, your prospective patients aren’t always in the mindset of finding a doctor.

Sometimes they just want to learn something new and relevant to their lives. By posting health tips on your social platforms, you’re providing a service to these audiences. If and when they’re ready to shift into surgeon-search, your name will come to mind.

Take, for example, the mother of that high school quarterback with the broken hand. Let’s say, for example, that it’s the student’s sophomore year in high school (long before he breaks his hand), and he just got the job of starting QB.

His mother, concerned about the inevitable what-ifs of football, makes it a point to keep up-to-date on the latest health tips and advice for high school athletes.

It just so happens, during her online and social search, she stumbles upon an article or post you shared titled: “How to keep your child on the field, and out of the operating room.”

That article is both entertaining and very informative. It’s enough for the mother to remember your name, and possibly follow you online. She has faith you’ll provide more resources she finds valuable.

Fast-forward one year later, when her son breaks his hand. When she’s in need of an orthopedic surgeon, who do you think will be among her top contenders?

In other words, share health tips. But find a way to make your tips (and headline) stand out. Speak to targeted audiences. A good topic is: “How to keep your child on the field, and out of the operating room.” A bland one would be: “Tips on how to prevent sports injury.”

Everyone uses a headline like that. Boring.

Get creative and you’ll stand out.

teens-social

 

4. Promote your upcoming seminars and webinars

Dishing out free information (within reason) is a key part of your social success. But writing post after post can be daunting and boring to your audience.

Mix up your shares by promoting the events you take part in throughout your community, including patient seminars or online webinars.

Not only will this type of promotion potentially boost attendance, but it (again) shows your willingness to fill a need in your community.

The more you promote these types of activities, the more likely your local community will associate you with orthopedics.

When crafting your seminars and webinars, simply think about the needs of your patients. What would they want to know?

In fact, why not turn to social media and ask your audiences what types of seminars they’d like to attend?

Then, fill that void.

5. Run contests

social-mobile-activeEverything we’ve mentioned so far is pretty standard and basic (yet effective) social media practices.

Now let’s ramp it up a bit, shall we?

This requires you to think of your practice as a contributing member of your community. Now that you’ve accepted that, here’s a contest idea you can do:

Why not run a social media contest encouraging folks in your community to share videos or pictures of their grandparents (or other senior citizens in their life) being mobile and active.

The video or picture with the most likes can win a $500 Amazon gift card. With this contest, your practice is able to reach out to a massive amount of people, all of whom know someone who might very well need your services in the future.

You can even do these types of contests for other age groups (Dr. Seth, for example, ran a similar contest for local high school cheerleaders sharing videos of their routines – and as this was targeted at high schoolers, these social savvy kids tagged their friends in each photo and shared the pics hundreds of times).

Don’t just post an update or irrelevant news bit

I think it’s safe to say most orthopedic surgeons know that social media could help their practice; they’re just not sure how.

So, they set up a profile, post a few updates, and quit when they get little to no response.

It’s time to rethink your strategy and remember the social part of social media. Your goal is to engage in conversations and remind your audiences that you and your practice care about them and their needs.

Do that, and you’ll find social media success.