Aside from using it smartly, another wrinkle of social media is that it needs to be used consistently. Some believe that if a social media account is not updated on a regular basis, users are discouraged from interacting with it. That’s one reason that Dr. Gupta has focused on developing face-to-face relationships and hasn’t yet fully developed an online profile, besides what the University of Kentucky provides for its physicians.
Explore This IssueApril 2020
“That’s still an online presence, but not necessarily something I’m creating myself, where there are several posts a week kind of thing,” she said. “And I think part of my delay in social media is that to really get anything out of it, you have to be very active on it. I didn’t want to start it and then let it be, because I think that doesn’t look good, either. If you’re going to do it, you have to really commit.”
Dr. Kim said frequency of social media usage is up to individual physicians.
“Not being able to be consistent should not be a detractor from usage,” she added. “The caveat is that when you’re consistent with posting on any of these platforms, you’re going to gain followers a lot more readily. Therefore, if increasing the number of followers is important to you, then posting on a near-daily basis can be an effective strategy. But otherwise, I believe that social media provides an opportunity to reach your audience well beyond the actual time you post something.”
Remember, Old School Still Works
Dr. Johnson, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, understands the value of social media. But as a generalist building up a practice in suburban Denver, he suggests otolaryngologists not lose sight of the bedrock of business: referrals. He schedules as many talks and lunches with local practitioners as possible.
“I still rely a lot on reaching out to primary care providers and word of mouth for that,” he said. “Being a generalist, a lot of stuff I do probably wouldn’t be well-documented on social media. Seeing people for ear fullness, there’s not much I can do to make that look good on Instagram.”
Dr. Chang agreed that there is room for both new-school and old-school techniques in building a practice.
“Doing face-to-face meetings does help,” he said. “Even if one or two (primary care physicians) add your name to their referral list, that’s good. That referring pattern will then last years, if not decades.”