You’re not behind the times, and it’s easier than you think
If you’ve watched the news lately, you’ve heard about Twitter. If you have children, you’ve likely seen them selecting their favorite Snapchat filters. And, if you’ve ever gone to a networking event at The Liver Meeting®, someone has likely asked you to connect on LinkedIn.
We have become a social media society, but don’t let the name fool you – ‘social’ media isn’t just about socializing; it is a way to spread ideas, collaborate, network and share/find information. And, more so than ever, health care professionals are turning to social media to share their research and meet information-seeking patients where they are.
If you haven’t yet joined your colleagues on social media, don’t worry. You aren’t too late, and AASLD has the tools to help you get started.
Here are a few quick and easy steps to jumpstart your social media presence.
Where to Post
First things first – you don’t need to know about Snapchat filters to successfully use social media. There are a number of social media networks created just for conversations and information sharing. And, there are a several networks just for health care professionals.
- Facebook: Often used to keep up with friends and family, but also used by organizations like AASLD to create a community. For those just getting started on social media, Facebook is an easy and fun way to learn the basics.
- Twitter: If you have something important to say and want to say it in very few words, Twitter is the place for you. One or two sentences and a link to something interesting will help you find followers and become an influencer. Twitter is also a great place to get news and follow conversations.
- LinkedIn: As the largest professional networking site, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to build a professional profile (like an online CV), have professional conversations, connect with colleagues past and present, and search/post job openings.
- YouTube: Don’t want to read? Prefer video? YouTube is a great place to watch videos from experts and organizations in the field as well as patients willing to share their stories.
- Reddit: and more specifically Meddit, its medical community, is an aggregate news site where you can find, post and discuss news and topics of the day.
- SERMO: A confidential online community created exclusively for MDs and DOs to talk about “real-world medicine.”
- Doximity: Another physician-based social network, which is sometimes called “LinkedIn for doctors.”
- ResearchGate: ResearchGate gives scientists and researchers a place to collaborate and share their papers.
What to Post
Have you read an interesting article recently? Does your institution have online patient education? Do you have an opinion about a hot topic in hepatology? Are you going to an AASLD meeting? Or, are you at that meeting listening to a great speaker?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, you just found content to share on social media. It is that simple, and people will appreciate you sharing.
There are several types of content that your colleagues and patients would find beneficial to read and share on social media (and, yes, there is even an audience who wants to see a picture of what you ate for lunch!).
For example, you might want to share an AASLD video that discusses liver transplantation. Perhaps you are an AASLD Foundation donor and want to tell people why the Foundation is the cause you support. Or, you might follow other AASLD members like Dr. Donald Jensen or Dr. Gyongyi Szabo on Twitter, and want to reply to their posts.
As a part of its Social Media Essentials Project, AASLD has created a social media guide [PDF], which includes a list [on pages 13-14] of people, organizations, websites, journals, and trade publications to help you get started. Once you find people posting good content, you will find sharable content and easily create your own.
How to Post
Social media posts consist of two main types of content – curated content and created content. Curated content is what you share from external sources outside of your own work. An example of this is sharing an article written by another expert about her most recent research. Created content is original content written or produced by you. An example of created content is sharing an article, piece of research, blog, LinkedIn post etc. that you’ve created. Or, even more simply, a tweet saying “Looking forward to a great meeting in Chicago” is created content.
Not everything shared on your social media channels needs to be created by you as sharing content created by others gives way to conversations.
Whether your content is curated or created, your social media post should be accompanied by thought provoking messaging. There are three types of questions you can ask to ensure that your post message will resonate with the people you communicate with on social media (your followers):
- What is my point of view on this content?
- Does it raise any questions or will it start a conversation?
- What is the biggest takeaway from the content?
Answering one of the above questions in your social media post can lead to great content and open the door for meaningful engagement with peers, patients and your digital community.
Time to Engage
Finally, social media is not just about your profile and what you post. It’s a two-way street for conversations and engagement with others. Consistent engagement on social media helps to build your following, recognizes others’ good ideas, and may help you discover new ones, too.
Engage your community of followers with these three steps:
- Review your newsfeed for posts or content that welcomes responses and share your response.
- Decide on the type of engagement appropriate for each post.
- Like or love: this action illustrates appreciation of a social media post most often on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
- Share, retweet or quotable tweet: this action highlights news and interesting discoveries on Twitter.
- Comment, Reply and mention: this is the most engaging action and allows you to offer thought leadership on the subject matter at hand and join/start conversations.
- Take action and engage!
- Draft a message to accompany your response or shared post that gives your followers your point of view.
- If replying or sharing, review the content and take a stance or develop a point of view to share with your followers.
It is never too late to join your colleagues on social media. Now that you know where, what and how to post, you will be able to grow your social media presence without compromising your specific needs or time. And, if you are still looking for your first post, simply borrow from our friends in the technology industry and post, “hello world.” Your friends and followers will take it from there.
Over the next several months, AASLD News will feature a series of articles designed to encourage AASLD members to become familiar with and engage in social media.
Learn more about AASLD’s Social Media Essentials Project and start socializing today.