Over 400 million tweets are generated every day, read by 50% of the U.S. population. So, does Twitter work for healthcare marketing? Yes, as long as you use this social media tool properly.

Protect patient privacy

The first rule for healthcare providers who tweet: Keep health information general. One study discovered that out of a group of 500 tweeting doctors, more than 5% were violating patient privacy by directly referencing patients. How directly? By sharing a patient's X-ray.

Medical professionals must not give clinical advice to individuals on Twitter to protect themselves from liability. The account profile should include a clearly stated disclaimer: "Tweets are my personal opinions, not medical advice."

Practice safe tweets

What types of tweets maximize the benefits of Twitter without risking patient privacy? They include:

  • Informative studies - A cardiologist might link followers to a study about the different causes and symptoms of heart attacks in women compared to men.
  • Quality health-related tips - Pass along tips about how to stay healthy in between doctor visits. Clear up common misconceptions or share a link to interesting medical news articles.
  • Link to your blog posts - Include a shareable quote in your tweet to drive readers to your site.

Quality content can be both original and curated, but keep in mind shareable content is the purpose of Twitter.

Find patient communities

30% of people say they are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients. Twitter lets you take part in the conversation. The Healthcare Hashtag Project connects caregivers and doctors to relevant patient conversations and communities.

Make it personal

Occasionally it's good for doctors and caregivers to tweet about personal interests or thoughts about patient care. Why? 41% of people say social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility. Doctors with a social presence beyond the usual find-a-doctor profile will naturally have an advantage.

Start with a strategy

Don't tweet for the sake of tweeting. A comprehensive social media strategy is crucial to success and ensures you'll waste no time accomplishing your goals. Call Cox Health Marketing today for help.