In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration.
This is the second post in a series called Social Media High T’s – Read Week # 1 here
This week we’ll explore the second High T: HIGH TRANSPARENCY
We know what you may be thinking… I hear this buzzword all the time, but what do they mean by transparency?
The issue of online transparency really came about in blogging’s early days when less than honest bloggers would post rave reviews of products and services in exchange for payment or “free stuff”. Of course, it’s a little hard to keep things impartial when you have payola involved (at least in my experience). Combine this with corporate and government greed in the news, and all of a sudden, the public got wise and became much less trusting of what they read. This culminated in a big backlash and a big emphasis on transparency and authenticity.
But as an online marketing participant, how can you incorporate the idea of transparency in your patient communications?
I have a few ideas for you…
- Be Humble: No one likes a snooty, “I know more than you, therefore I’m better than you” physician. We know you went to med school and have a wealth of knowledge to share. But share it from the heart to help people, not to prove how much you know. Have someone read over any blog posts you write to make sure they feel like the “real” you (even if you didn’t write them -which in itself isn’t authentic but I’m just being realistic).
- Be Authentic: This comes down to being yourself… flaws and all. Give them a peek behind the scenes in your office, a typical workday, or some photos from your latest weekend hike. When you are yourself, you will actually be much more approachable to your patient base. In turn, they will feel a stronger kinship and tie to you which leads to higher patient retention (translate – loyalty) and referrals.
- No Hidden Agendas: Post information to help people better their lives, not pad your wallet. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to make a living, but trust me when I tell you that we consumers can see right through even the best-disguised sales pitch.
- Be Credible: If you make a mistake, own up to it… publicly. Let’s say you have a post on your Facebook wall from a patient who had to wait 45 minutes to see you at her last post-op appointment. The worst thing you can do is delete it (trust me on this one- the backlash to a deleted post can do more harm to your credibility than the original complaint). Instead, face it head on. Post something like this: “Our office strives to be on time for each and every appointment. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, our schedule dosen’t always go as planned. We value our patients’ time and do our best every day to live by The Golden Rule – treating our patients the same as we would like to be treated.”
- Be Influencing versus Controlling: Not every conversation online will go exactly the way you want it, but you can help steer it in the right direction. It’s okay to disagree, just do it in a humble manner. Remember – what you post on the internet is “forever” and you can’t take things back or have “do-overs”.