5 Medical Professionals Who Use Twitter Effectively and What You Can Learn from Them

April 4th, 2017 by Search Influence Alumni

With 319 million people on Twitter and 100 million daily users, it’s clear that this social media platform offers huge potential for growing a medical practice. For doctors striving to attract more patients, 42% of individuals viewing health information on social media look at consumer reviews to guide their medical decision-making. For doctors aiming to spread medical knowledge online, 60% of consumers say they trust the information in doctor’s posts—almost twice the number of people who trust information from pharmaceutical companies. And these numbers are expected to grow, as 18–24-year-olds are over two times as likely as 45–50-year-olds to use social media for health-related discussions.

Yet, in spite of Twitter’s huge potential, it can be difficult for physicians to justify taking time away from patient care to focus on social media. In the medical industry, it’s especially important for tweets to reach the most people possible in as little time as possible so that doctors can spend less time on marketing and more time on medicine.

Learn how to most efficiently target patients on social media, and check out five of the most successful doctors on Twitter for some great inspiration and examples.

1. Dr. Mehmet Oz

Handle: @DrOz

Followers: 4.05 million

Before you write off Dr. Oz as more television host than medical professional, consider this: He has more followers than any other doctor on Twitter. While Oprah certainly helped him gain this following, he couldn’t keep it if he wasn’t engaging his followers with the media they find valuable. Dr. Oz knows what his audience wants to read, and he regularly posts health tips, news, and advice catered to this demographic. Check out Dr. Oz’s tweets for examples of medical articles you can share to engage your own following.

2. Dr. Kevin Pho

Handle: @kevinmd

Followers: 151,000

Unlike Dr. Oz, Dr. Pho rose to social media stardom largely through his own savvy use of integrated digital marketing. While he also regularly posts engaging articles, with topics ranging from science to politics to personal health journeys, much of this media comes from his own blog. Dr. Pho also publishes many posts written by guest bloggers, which not only cuts down the time required to maintain an active social media presence but also offers a great opportunity to collaborate and network with other doctors online. Visit Dr. Pho’s Twitter and blog for a great example of an integrated marketing plan.

3. Dr. Joseph Kim

Handle: @DrJosephKim

Followers: 31,000

If you’re worrying because Dr. Oz and Dr. Pho share a lot more personal stories than cold, hard science, never fear! Dr. Kim proves that you can take a largely academic approach to social media and still become a Twitter star. His posts strike the perfect balance of career resources and medical studies, appealing to both doctors and patients. Check out Dr. Kim’s twitter feed for strong examples of how to post academic information while still keeping your following engaged.

4. Dr. Mike Sevilla

Handle: @DrMikeSevilla

Followers: 26,000

Much more than the other doctors on this list, Dr. Sevilla projects a goofy, jovial personality into his tweets. He makes Family Medicine seem friendly and approachable, posting kooky holiday selfies and words of encouragement for residents going through the stressful match process. He is also a generous re-tweeter, interacting not only with other online physicians but also with local news and fundraising organizations. Scroll through Dr. Sevilla’s posts to see how to have fun with social media while still maintaining the knowledgeable persona of a physician.

5. Dr. Val Jones

Handle: @drval

Followers: 25,800

Women make up roughly 1/3 of all physicians in the United States, but they are underrepresented among the top doctors on Twitter. Nevertheless, Dr. Jones has fought her way to the top as a prolific author and lecturer, as well as the founder of Better Health, LLC, one of the largest networks of medical bloggers. Like Dr. Pho, she offers a great example of an effective integrated marketing plan, using her tweets to drive traffic to her blog and other writings, and her writings to provide engaging content for her Twitter following. Check out Dr. Jones’s Twitter feed and blog for examples of how to use social media to build on your professional accomplishments.

Top Takeaway

While these five physicians are great sources of inspiration, it can seem daunting to apply their successes to your own practice. If Oprah doesn’t introduce you to daytime television, where do you start?

One main takeaway from successful physicians on Twitter is targeting the right demographic. Dr. Sevilla runs a Family Medicine practice, so his ideal audience includes parents and young children. Therefore, a friendly, goofy personality is appealing. No parent wants to bring her kids to a stern, intimidating doctor. Dr. Oz, on the other hand, is more interested in an audience that watches his daytime television show. Thus, his posts feature more “popular science” topics, such as popular diets or healthy recipes.

The good news is you can easily apply this strategy to your own practice. As an expert in your field, you know what topics would interest your target demographic, be it low-sodium snack suggestions for dialysis patients or skin care tips for dermatology patients. So, post about it!

With your target demographic in place, you are well equipped to take the next steps in growing and maintaining your Twitter following. Like the successful physicians in this post, you can collaborate online with other medical professionals, or write relevant, engaging blog posts to share on Twitter as part of an integrated social media marketing campaign.

If you don’t want to go through this process alone, we can help you there as well! For a do-it-yourself approach, download “Up Your Social Media Game With This Handy Reference Guide.” It’s an infographic to equip you with insights into which social media platform and what time of day would be most effective for targeting your ideal demographic. For a more assisted approach, see how our social media services can help you.

Happy tweeting!