(HealthDay News) — The most common physician social media misses and missteps can be avoided, allowing doctors to take advantage of marketing opportunities on all major social media channels, according to the author of a recent Vitals blog.

Noting that there is an ever-growing list of effective online marketing tools, the article provides tips for doctors to avoid the most common social media failures.

According to the author, reviews are unavoidable, and consequently should be used to the doctor’s advantage, encouraging satisfied patients to use online review sites. Review sites also rate staff, and consequently the attitude of staff can have a big impact on practice reviews. Doctors should ensure that they provide patients with certain key elements: reliability and efficiency; responsiveness and timely appointments; expertise and reassurance; empathy; and a clean waiting room. Doctors should have a strategic marketing plan, which includes an Internet presence. Doctors should be aware of the value of a website and allocate an online marketing budget. To improve efficiency of practice websites, the sites should provide reviews, informative essays, and the ability to schedule appointments.

Finally, the author urges doctors to embrace social media such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. “Let your patients know that they should follow your social profiles, and give them something interesting to see once they get there.”

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