If you still think of social media as just a way to advertise your practice, you need to think again. Now allergy practices are using social media to engage, educate and care for their patients. A recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Stat poll showed that 53% of 448 respondents now use social media to engage patients to improve health outcomes. That’s a win-win for practices and patients!
So what does that look like for allergy practices? There are lots of ways allergy practices can engage and educate patients through social media. Here are some ideas from allergy practices that do this best:
- Provide daily local pollen and mold counts.
- Remind patients of available services.
- Highlight seasonal allergies and how to treat them.
- Remind patients of importance and availability of flu shots and other immunizations.
- Direct patients to your portal for direct communication with the office/allergist.
- Explain how to prepare for an office visit (ex: allergy testing).
- Provide educational videos and articles.
- Spotlight individual diseases/treatments and educate patients. For example, October is Eczema Awareness Month, Sept. 28 was National Penicillin Allergy Day and May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Use these events as opportunities to educate patients and promote your services.
- Create short videos featuring your allergists addressing a clinical topic.
- Use patient-focused videos from the College’s YouTube channel featuring top allergy experts addressing a wide variety of topics.
- Share and retweet posts from the College’s Facebook or Twitter.
- Provide information on product recalls specific to allergy and asthma patients.
- Advertise your participation in the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.
"We consider social media an essential tool for reaching our patients and potential patients. Of course, we use it to communicate general practice information like office moves, closings and special circumstances. But we also use it in a variety of ways that help us engage with and educate our audience,” explains Robin Panethere, director of marketing and practice development at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma. Their practice uses social media in the following ways:
- To share new research and treatment options.
- To share patient testimonials that highlight positive outcomes.
- To encourage adherence to therapies and reinforce the benefits of specialty allergy and asthma care.
- To highlight their providers' involvement in community events and leadership roles in professional organizations and share their public relations efforts, all helping to position them as the experts in their field.
- To remind patients to schedule visits in advance of the season and push out information for back-to-school, flu season, end of year extract orders, etc.
- To promote partner organizations' events and education programs that interest, engage and add value for patients.
“We also utilize paid social features like Facebook ads and boosted posts that allow us to reach beyond our own followers,” notes Ms. Panethere.
Have we piqued your interest? The College has the tools to get you started in our Marketing and Patient Materials toolkit! We have seasonal article templates, patient education flyers, FAQs and more. For more details on using social media, check out our webinar: “Social Media Strategies for Allergists”.