Here’s a statistic every oncologist ought to know: 77% of Americans use social media.1 Why is this figure so important? Because, chances are, a large swath of your current and prospective patients are on social media. You can reach them through these platforms and build your practice without spending much capital. (And it can be fun.)

First things first: Sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursquare, and every other social media website you can find. Then, add contact information, links to your website and other social media profiles, and instructions for booking appointments. Once you have the basics in place, take advantage of these 5 tips to make social media work for your oncology practice:

  1. Start spreading the (oncology) news. Two in three Americans get at least some of their news through social media,2 making it a highly effective medium for educating patients. Any time a new research study or technology surfaces, share links to reliable news articles, blogs, or videos covering the subject. Keep your patients informed and they’ll know where to look for news that affects them.
  2. Share updates about your practice. Patients want to know that they’re receiving cutting-edge care. If something new and exciting is happening with your team, make sure everyone knows about it. Through social media, you can let patients in on the latest and greatest approaches your oncology team is implementing.
  3. Respond to comments. Don’t just post content and forget about it. Instead, engage with your followers. If a patient posts a comment to your Facebook page or responds to your Twitter post, acknowledge them and provide thoughtful feedback. Remember, building a friendly and professional relationship with patients isn’t restricted to in-person interactions.
  4. Ask questions. If you don’t have many comments to respond to, try asking questions. For example, post an article and ask what your patients think about it. At its core, social media is not about self-promotion but rather conversation. Involving your patients will make them feel connected with you.
  5. Post about community service. Humanizing your online presence can be tricky. Promoting your work in the community is a good way to break the barrier. If you and your employees will be taking part in a fundraising event, create a Facebook page with event details. Afterward, share stories, videos, and pictures from the event.

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Social media can be an invaluable tool for growing your oncology practice. Try out these 5 tips and see for yourself just how impactful it can be.

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  1. Percentage of US population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2018. Statista. Accessed July 2, 2018.
  2. Moon A. Two-thirds of American adults get news from social media: survey. Reuters. September 8, 2017. Accessed July 9, 2018.