Part 3. "Credible Information." Using Social Media to Build Your Practice

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Part 3. "Credible Information." Using Social Media to Build Your Practice

Part 3 of a short series. Social media will build your practice. The need for credible information. Doctors are credible sources of information.

Good morning.

I closed yesterday by talking about the need for relevant and credible information.  Providing relevant information is Google’s (and the other search engines) responsibility.  Providing credible information is my responsibility.  Promoting relevant and credible information is your responsibility.

“Because the Internet says so………………..”

Now that you are provided with relevant content, how do you know if it is reliable?  or credible?  Well, actually you don’t and this describes our present state of the internet.  “Because the Internet says so..”  assumes validity, but you and I know otherwise.  We have grown up believing that if it’s on the internet, it must be true.

Credibility is the responsibility of the content providers (me) and the also the  consumers (my readers, aka you).  Creating credible information is my responsibility.  Hard to do?  No.  Natural for me to do?  Yes.  Take this web site as an example. To me, this is simply writing down what I do every day for my patients in the office.  By writing, I share and educate.  No need for you to come see me to find out how I treat diabetic retinopathy.  I’ve spelled it out for you.

Doctors are credible sources of information.  As a retina specialist, who would be more qualified to provide reliable, credible information about diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration?  My credentials mean credibility.  This same credibility allows me to treat my patients.  In terms of health information on the internet, more professionals will need to be doing the same thing, ergo, health information becomes more credible on the internet.  More professionals need to be content providers.

Why?

The driving force behind this will be marketing.  Doctors will be the last to admit that they market, but they do.  Used to be really subtle.  Doctors traditionally lecture.  Doctors lecture at scientific meetings and become authorities.  Doctors lecture at the hospital and become consultants.  Doctors lecture at local venues and become specialists.  Doctors are the content provider, and the listening audience (composed of other doctors and non-doctors, patients, lay persons, etc.) are the consumers.  Sounding familiar?

Doctors will start to write instead of lecture.  Writing provides content.  Content rich web sites that are relevant become noticed by Google.  Google places them higher in rankings.  Doctors and their web sites will get noticed more on searches.

Ever been to a web site that hasn’t changed? Why don’t you go back?

Doctors will continue to write in order to maintain their web presence.  Web sites that do not provide relevant content and that are not “refreshed” (sites that do not provide new content) will drop lower and lower in rankings.  Sites that do provide new content will stay on top of the charts.  This is not rocket science.  If you provide credible content, you win.  Period.

Good information, like the analogy of the yard sale, is hard to find, internet or no internet.  Good information is priceless.  It reflects upon the quality of the provider and it reflects the quality of the consumer, too, when acting as a messenger to tell others.

Social media is like “word of mouth” on speed.

Thinking of a Part 4.

“Randy”

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
www.TotalRetina.com
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist

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Comments
  • Rick Barnes September 23, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I believe that you are absolutely correct with regard to direction. All industries…yes, all…are moving into the social networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing arena. And by the way, it’s an exceptionally large arena at that!

    As business landscapes continue to transform, we find ourselves engaged in an evolution where mission, process, and technology converge. Improvements continue to emerge by organizations seeking to embrace, and further their internal and customer facing capabilities by leveraging internet-based collaboration. This activity represents a huge paradigm shift as compared to past, stove-piped methods of sharing information and doing business. The requirements placed upon these organizations, and/or individuals (such as yourself), for identification and improvements in capabilities, efficiencies, and solutions continue to increase.

    I suppose the challenge isn’t “can” it be done, but getting your audience to “use” the tools as you described. What works well, and what doesn’t is ultimately a decision made by your customers. Political and diplomatic alliances with colleagues within the medical community are vitally important as the momentum increases. Legal issues never vanish requiring constant care and feeding. This ensures credibility and integrity for the individuals, the community as a whole, but also the data being provided (addresses the potential “garbage in – garbage out” problem). There are generational issues, and with those, communications issues with those not accustomed to sharing. That puts you in the “facilitator” seat, if you will.

    I believe that you have a sound platform from which to embark. Conceptually, you are positioned very well and already beginning to recognize the potential local, regional, national, and ultimately international impact of your proposal. The good news is there are no issues that cannot ultimately be resolved.

    So, in terms of a strategic plan or roadmap, the obvious question would be, what’s next?

    Rick

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