As a medical, health, wellness or fitness professional, you may have been lured into using social media tools such as twitter to promote your brand, promote your message or increase your profile.
The fact is, that there are numerous fads promoted on the internet and we will never be able to stop this. What we can do however, is to work as a team to promote positive health messages that are backed up with good science. The more voices from qualified and experienced practitioners the better.
If you’re just getting started, here are 7 tips that can help you be more effective.
1. Confidentiality: Confidentiality is equally important online as it is offline. It is not ok to mention any information that can identify clients or patients in social media. It is also important not to write anything where a patient could identify themselves – it could be embarrassing for them or break client trust so important in in achieving positive health outcomes.
2. Respect: People are not stupid. Sometimes they are not as aware of their health as they should be, but it doesn’t mean it is okay to poke fun at individuals or our clients online. People will read that you think you are better than them and that you are not empathetic or respectful.
3. Share: If you find a great article, post the link for others to read; if someone else has some great information that aligns with what you are trying to achieve retweet it. If someone writes something you don’t agree with, post your apposing view and if you can, provide links to evidence. You can search terms that you are an expert in, and provide simple advice to twitterers who may benefit from what you know. Respond to mentions as much as you can.
4. Language: Don’t use jargon. Don’t use a big word where a small one will do; Don’t use three words where one will do. If you need to clarify a tweet, link to a blog post or article on your website.
5. Advice: Be aware of the advice that you provide on twitter, just as you would in individual consultations, presentations and media articles. You may benefit from including a disclaimer in your bio or on your linked website. You may also need to talk to your medical indemnity insurer to determine your rights and responsibilities when providing advice, opinions or tips online.
6. Engage: Work with those in your profession or industry to get more evidence based positive health messages out there. Follow them, retweet their posts or events and engage in conversations by replying to their posts. Social media is not competitive – it makes the pie bigger, it doesn’t eat into your piece.
7. Align: Before you get onto social media sites to promote yourself, your brand or your message, it will help to determine who your ideal follower is, and therefore aim for your posts to align with what they would like to hear. Your Twitter account may rank high in search engine results, so you want to ensure your messages align with your goals and would be appropriate for clients, workmates and potential employers to see.
Good luck and happy tweeting!