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    Social media tips from the prof

    In this two-part series, I’ll explore some lesser-known facts and emerging trends in social media and search engine optimization (SEO). In her class titled “Advertising Strategies and Social Media,” Alexa Mokalis, adjunct lecturer at the San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies, educates students on the trends in successful online marketing strategies. Below, she shares the top tips most appropriate to practicing physicians and their offices.

    1. DO use the 80/20 rule. Approximately 80 percent to 90 percent of the content put forth by your practice on social media should be interesting and engaging content, with only 10 percent to 20 percent reserved for promotional content.  “Promotional content is okay as long as it is balanced and often incorporates a call to action,” Ms. Mokalis says.  “Ask fans what is their favorite skincare trend or how their New Year’s resolution is fairing.”

    2. DON’T delete (or ignore) negative comments.  “In today's age of social media and unlimited access to information, transparency is crucial.”  Ms. Mokalis recommends that if someone uses your platform as a soapbox, respond politely in public first (minding your HIPAA compliance), and then ask to speak privately. This approach garners respect from others and addresses negative comments directly in a respectful manner.

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    3. DO use visuals.  “According to one study, visuals receive 94 percent more page visits and engagement than those without. Keep your clients engaged by using different types of visuals on your posts, this helps to keep them curious as to what to expect from you week to week.”  Ms. Mokalis recommends a mix of different visual content including before and after photos, behind the scenes videos from your practice, testimonial videos, and infographics on diseases or trends in dermatology.

    4. DON’T feel pressured to be on every platform.  Does the idea of simultaneously being on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, and a blog seem daunting? It would to most of us — even if a dedicated employee in the office handles social media. Instead pick one or two platforms and do them well.  “Not all platforms may necessarily be beneficial to your business,” Ms. Mokalis says. Instead, build and focus on a few. Facebook, according to Ms. Mokalis is an absolute must with 1 billion users worldwide. Next in line? Try videos on YouTube or add photos to Pinterest, which has a predominately female adult demographic and is the fastest growing platform on the web.

    5. DO establish community guidelines. “In order to avoid any miscommunication, be sure to establish your purpose for being on each particular platform. I recommend outlining this in the “About” section of the business.” Ms. Mokalis points to large corporations such as Target that do this well. Such guidelines state the purpose of behavior as well as etiquette for guests. For example, you may state that patients’ clinical questions need to be directed to the clinic phone number and that explicit language is prohibited and such comments will be removed.

    Click here to view numbers 6-10 

    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., M.B.A.
    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., is director of Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, Calif. Visit her at http://www.artofskinmd.com


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