Don’t think of your social media policy as something you’ll use to police what employees do or say on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, consider that developing a well thought-out policy for your staff will empower them to engage confidently and will ultimately help your brand’s reputation online. The fact is, your employees are active in one social media platform or another (or all of them!) and it is your responsibility to ensure they have clear guidelines to follow, especially when it comes to engaging with or on behalf of your brand. 

You can make your practice’s social media policy as wordy and elaborate or as concise and to-the-point as you like, but the key is to make it your own. There is a general framework to follow and a list of things to consider when crafting your policy, but to truly make it resonate with employees, it should be specific to your business and to the way they interact with your brand. And it’s not just general employees you have to consider. There’s also the social media manager, an employee you’ve entrusted with your brand’s online reputation and the responsibility of engaging with your community.

Employees

I assure you, a 23-year-old marketing whiz is just as likely to commit a major social media faux pas as the 54-year-old doctor getting on Twitter for the first time. And if you are relying on their common sense and not clearly defining what is and isn’t appropriate, you are partially to blame for that eventual blunder. Don’t assume employees understand how different platforms work or how their online behavior affects your brand’s reputation. As this Entrepreneur article suggests, it’s best to take the guesswork out of what is appropriate to post about your company and most importantly, to stress professionalism. Your employees most likely love your brand and would welcome the opportunity to make you look good if you take some pressure off by providing training, establishing guidelines, and identifying the appropriate channels for engaging.

Social Media Manager

Your social media manager is your brand’s voice, so it is of the utmost importance that she or he is crystal clear about your company’s brand standards and expectations. Your reputation is quite literally at risk every single time this person posts on your brand’s behalf. And although I might be overstating that a little bit, it’s a useful point to consider. Mayo Clinic’s 12-Word Social Media Policy makes it fairly simple to comply: Don’t Lie; Don’t Pry; Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete; Don’t Steal; Don’t Reveal. That about sums it up. And it is especially important to have clear guidelines in place when the fit hits the shan, so I recommend having a crisis plan that outlines how to handle crisis communications via social media channels.

Community

And finally, your community is the whole reason you are using social media in the first place. You want to engage with them and you hope and pray they engage back. But again, establishing some basic guidelines around what is OK to say on your page and what isn’t will keep them from guessing and will help keep the conversation productive and positive. This isn’t quite as good as Mayo Clinic’s 12-word policy, but I do have a 4-word version of my own: Don’t be a jerk. Most people follow that rule, and that’s what makes our community so awesome and fun to engage with. But on the rare occasion that people don’t comply, we do step in to remove an offensive, hateful, disrespectful, or otherwise inappropriate comment. And if there’s ever any doubt about what constitutes an inappropriate comment, we just check back with our detailed social media posting guidelines.

Your employees and online community can be your brand’s strongest advocates, especially if you empower them with the knowledge of how different platforms work, understanding of how their engagement affects the brand image, and clear guidelines around what is and what is not appropriate.

I hope this post inspires you to revisit your social media policy, because that’s definitely what I’ll be doing next! Any tips? Let me know what’s worked or not worked for you in the past by posting in the comments below.

Physical Therapy Software Buyer’s Guide - Regular BannerPhysical Therapy Software Buyer’s Guide - Small Banner
  • How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients Image

    webinarFeb 27, 2015

    How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients

    Nowadays, everyone is looking for a way to “go viral” online. But with all that go-big-or-go-home hype, it’s easy to get intimidated—and that leaves many small business owners wondering if they have the time, resources, or wherewithal to even make a dent in the Internet, let alone break it.  Don’t get stuck in the muck and mire of cliché goals; you don’t have to hit a million views to make a big impact online. As a private …

  • 10 Tips for Social Media Compliance Image

    articleDec 29, 2015 | 3 min. read

    10 Tips for Social Media Compliance

    Your patients are using social media to inform decisions about their own health care, so as a smart healthcare provider, you should be using social media, too. But because of non-compliance concerns, you also must be judicious with its use. Social media is anything but private —and it's practically permanent. Once you put something on the Internet, chances are really, really good it will exist there forever. You may think you deleted that tweet or picture, but …

  • The Healthcare Provider's Guide to HIPAA-Compliant Marketing Image

    articleSep 14, 2017 | 6 min. read

    The Healthcare Provider's Guide to HIPAA-Compliant Marketing

    In 1966, US Congress passed the Health Information Portability and Accountability ACT (HIPAA). And as we explained here , this “dense piece of legislation...has serious implications for virtually all medical professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.” Specifically, all HIPAA-covered entities—and that includes providers, payers, and business associates—“must follow certain rules governing the way patient protected health information (PHI) is collected, shared, and used.” And consequences for HIPAA breaches can be severe. While you may …

  • articleOct 8, 2013 | 7 min. read

    How to Ensure You Stand Out Online

    Today's blog post comes from marketing whiz Alex Scioli. She's the director of community at Therapydia , an online community dedicated to physical therapy. Thanks, Alex! Social media and branding are topics we here at Therapydia are deeply passionate about. So, when WebPT asked us to contribute a post on the topic, we were excited. Whether you’re looking to promote yourself, your practice, or the physical therapy profession in general, there has never been a better time …

  • articleJul 17, 2013 | 4 min. read

    About Engagement on Social Media

      Mak Kats is our Social Media & Community Manager. When he’s not tweeting or facebooking on behalf of WebPT, he stays busy keeping up with the latest trends in social media marketing. You can reach him at  mark.kats@webpt.com  or find him on  LinkedIn . You don't get engagement by simply blasting an open-ended question across all your social channels or posting it in dozens of online forums and LinkedIn groups. I promise, nothing you will do is …

  • Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapists Image

    downloadDec 5, 2017

    Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapists

    Do you feel like your practice’s website could use a dose of TLC? Are you worried that potential patients aren’t finding you online? Have your attempts at generating online buzz fizzled out—or worse, backfired? If so—and if you want your rehab therapy practice to “live long and prosper”—then you may need to rethink your current marketing strategy. But, venturing into the brave new world of modern marketing can be a lot—especially if you’re new to the game. …

  • How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns Image

    articleAug 17, 2016 | 11 min. read

    How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns

    As author and marketing guru Seth Godin says, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” If you want to stand out in the rehab therapy marketplace—and potentially grow your clinic—then spending money on marketing is essential. But, to ensure a maximum return on investment, you’ve got to carve out—and carefully manage—your physical therapy clinic’s budget. Knowing where to put those dollars can …

  • Don Draper’s Guide to Digital Marketing for Physical Therapy Image

    articleMar 12, 2015 | 4 min. read

    Don Draper’s Guide to Digital Marketing for Physical Therapy

    If Don Draper strolled into today’s marketing firms, he’d need a smoke and an old fashioned, fast—well, faster than normal. Why? The computers! All the computers! And not just the devices themselves, but the marketing wizardry behind them. I’m talking about digital marketing. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not an ad-man like Don Draper. What do I need to know about digital marketing?” And to that I say, while you don’t need to be as …

  • articleAug 19, 2011 | 5 min. read

    Facebook for your Practice: How to Setup your Page and Engage Both Your Current and Potential Patients

    Facebook has become a part of over 750 million user’s daily lives. There is a pretty high chance that you have a personal account to stay in touch with your family and friends, but have you ever thought of having a Facebook page for your practice? Studies in healthcare marketing have shown that Facebook can increase revenue and loyalty . Plus, it’s a great way to connect with your current patients, referring physicians and community partners. If …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.