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Palmer College

Four docs dish on social media

The numbers are awe-inspiring.

  • 750 million active Facebook users
  • 250 million Facebook users access it via mobile devices
  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month (links, news, videos, notes, photo albums, etc.)
  • 460,000 new Twitter accounts per day
  • 200 million average tweets (posts) per day on Twitter (as of June 2011; it was 35 million in 2010)
  • Twitter use on mobile devices increased 182% from 2010 to 2011
  • 50% of adult Americans are using social networking sites (Pew Internet and American Life Project)

As a chiropractor, this means that the odds are good your patients and hordes of potential patients are using social media. The question is, are you? If not, you may be left behind—or worse, considered obsolete.

Mike O’Donnell, D.C., Davenport ’09, uses Facebook to communicate to his patient base. He has more than 650 followers and posts to his Facebook page every day. “Facebook allows us to educate our patients even when they aren’t in the office. It gives us a constant presence. In fact, we’ve had several more new patients per month than we would have without a Facebook page.”

Steve Agocs, D.C., Davenport ’00, uses Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, his website (www.elitechiropracticKC.com), a blog and a monthly e-mail newsletter for his practice. Since he is a full-time faculty member at a chiropractic college, his practice hours are limited and his available time for face-to-face marketing is “non-existent.” Social media allows him to “keep a nice, consistent stream of marketing information going to my patients and potential patients. It also helps me stay focused on my message so that there is consistency across all the media I am using.”

Dr. Agocs has found that his online efforts have opened up communications from patients. His patients often e-mail him questions or come into appointments asking him about something he has posted.

Also no newbie to the Internet is Joseph Ierano, D.C., Davenport ’97. Aside from the six websites he owns, he uses Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. He uses YouTube to post videos on chiropractic education, media spots as well as items of personal interest. Dr. Ierano finds that “YouTube is an incredible way to share information, interviews and self-made videos. Websites are best for business. Some patients prefer making online appointments now.”

All of the doctors agree that you should keep your professional and private online lives separate. “I use social media for my personal life as well as professionally,” says Ryan Cooper, D.C., Davenport ’08, “but I do uphold a professional image on Facebook. I am very careful about what I post and what I allow on my page. I watch it daily to make sure it’s congruent with the image of my office and who I am.”

Dr. O’Donnell believes social media adds a personal touch and doesn’t detract from professionalism. “But your page is only as good as the information on it.” Adding patient testimonials is a great way to add value to your page.

Regarding doctors who aren’t sure whether they should use social media, Dr. O’Donnell’s advice is to “let go of your hang-ups and get with the times. It’s how people communicate now. Learn how to use it well, and spend a little time each day online finding quality information to share.”

“If you aren’t using social media, you’re missing out on many great tools for marketing your practice, staying in touch with patients and building a potential patient database,” said Dr. Agocs.

For a list of social media quick facts plus dos and don’ts, visit www.palmer.edu/smqf.

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