I was struck the other day by a comment on a Facebook post by Dr. Howard Luks, a well-respected orthopedic surgeon, who provides a great example of how to use Facebook wisely. He posed the question “Why is a Facebook page for your physician important?”
There is plenty of evidence that patients like the opportunity to engage online with their doctors. But one commenter surprised me. She suggested that Facebook pages were not only important, but much better than having a website, because “they are so easy and almost free.” She suggested there was no need for doctors to create websites when they could create a Facebook page for free.
Keeping Control of Your Story
First, let me address the cost factor. Any marketing you do, whether it involves posting on a self-publishing platform like Facebook or creating a website or print materials is never free. What doesn’t cost you money, costs you time. And time, as every healthcare professional knows, is money.
While Facebook is a great resource for engaging your audience, your website remains the one place on the Internet where you get to control your own message completely.
Your healthcare website is like your home, the place where you communicate the character of your practice, your expertise, your wisdom, your services and even your style. It’s both a place to build your reputation and authority. You decide what is said on your web pages and organize content in the way that makes it easy for your patients to access it. A website gives you the freedom to add, edit and delete content to ensure it is always relevant. You also have control over the budget you set to build and maintain your site.
Social media is like your waiting room, the elevator, the gym or other venues where the scene is set for you and you never know who you will run into and what they may have to say. The conversation can be great, but most posts are quickly replaced with new ones so that a great deal of content will never be seen again.
If you’re smart, you’ll use your social media channels to promote your ideas and content and lead your audience to your website. You’ll use it to listen to the topics that are most important to your patients. And you’ll use it to generate ideas for new content to add to your website.
At this point in time—not knowing what the next great thing in marketing will be—all roads should lead to your website.