A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at the CCPA’s annual meeting about social media. My pitch? Incorporate social media in your practice. Why? It is good for pediatrics and it is also good for you.
During the questions and answers session, I was asked how does one know when they are doing social media right.
Great question, but I think I gave the doc a poor answer.
I didn’t want to say, this is how you know you are doing it right, because I don’t think anybody can actually say that. You won’t really know until you actually do it. Moreover, I didn’t want people to not even try social media for fear they wouldn’t get it right.
Instead of clarifying that, I told the doc that because everything is new and moving so fast, it was nearly impossible to know how to do it right. What might work today may not work tomorrow.
I mentioned that in our practice’s social media journey, at the beginning we had poor results in terms of followers and patient engagement even though we were doing the exact same thing that other people and practices were doing.
In retrospect, the point I was trying to make is that there isn’t necessarily a right way to do social media. What works for you might not work for anybody else. But I felt that my answer was more along the lines that you can’t never know if you are doing it right. Which isn’t the case.
Below is the answer I would have liked to have given.
Clear as Mud Objectives -
Just like anything else, I think it is worth sitting down (not literally, this can be done in your head while driving to work if you want), and getting an idea of what you want to accomplish with social media. For example, if followers is your goal, then decide, 1000 or 10,000 or 1,000,000 is the goal.
Once you hit your goal, you know you are doing something right. Of course if followers is your only goal, I think you are missing out. But I bring followers up because it is easy to explain.
Perhaps your goal is to educate people about pediatrics in general. This goal is a little bit harder to measure. But for example, if you are getting people in your practice saying, “hey doc, I saw on your blog you wrote about fevers and I told my friend to read it too since her kid had a bad fever and your article really was great,” then I think you are doing it right even if it is just one person.
No Perfect Answer -
I know a pediatric office that has Facebook page that only post pollen counts. I think pollen counts are kind of boring and not necessarily useful. But, to their community, they are providing a great service and it is working for them. But it would have never occurred to me that pollen counts was the “right” thing to do.
Trial and Error is OK -
If we believe there is only one way to get it right, then we won’t try other things. We miss out on experimenting, which gives us an opportunity to see what works in our community or what does not. Thus, I think trial an error is a good thing.
I’d rather you try and maybe not get it right the first time, than have you not try at all because there is no one clear way to succeed.
At the end of my response to the question, I told the doc that if I had to pick one measure of success, it would have to be engagement. If you are engaging, then you are winning. If you are engaging, in my view, you are doing it right.
Social media is about communication. And just like the real world, the best communication is when it is done collaborative. Otherwise, it is just advertising.
Hopefully this will help people that have the same question. I know that writing this post will help me answer the question a little better in the future.
How would you have responded to this question?