We’ve talked you through how to present yourself on social media, and explained the benefits of bringing your professional self to online communities. Now you’re ready to dive into engaging with the health care community on social media. So where do you go to get started? Here’s a guide to the different social media platforms where health care professionals are active. We also have tips on how these platforms work and what the biggest opportunities are for engagement on each.
- Facebook: The most ubiquitous social network, Facebook offers opportunities for engagement through peers, organizations, and Facebook Groups. However, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm makes it easy to miss vital content. When you follow a page for an organization or news source, consider visiting its page, clicking the arrow next to the “Follow” button, and selecting “See First” from the dropdown menu to help ensure you see the content that page shares. Despite the News Feed challenges, Facebook is great for broadcasting to the masses, including your personal network. And joining one or two Facebook Groups that are relevant to your work can help you make new connections and tune into major conversations. Start with the active and growing AASLD Ambassadors and Emerging Liver Scholars Facebook Group.
- Twitter: A popular but niche microblogging service, Twitter has a real-time feed that makes it easier to see everything that’s going on with the accounts you follow. Opportunities for engagement include hashtags and interactions with peers and organizations. Twitter is especially useful for live commentary during conferences, events, and breaking news. Major hepatology accounts on Twitter include @AASLDtweets, @HEP_Journal, and @CDChep. For a list of popular hepatology hashtags, take a look at the very bottom of Table 1 in this article. Twitter can’t match Facebook’s number of users, but it can help you connect with dedicated professionals and get involved in new communities.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn focuses on professional networking, so it’s a great place to grow your network, identify your colleagues’ connections, and share your professional insights with an audience of interested peers. LinkedIn also offers a native long-form publishing (i.e. blogging) platform for sharing more involved content, and Groups for connecting with peers who do similar work. LinkedIn is the perfect forum for showcasing your professional expertise to interested colleagues and for growing your network of professional contacts.
- Sermo: Sermo is a confidential online community created exclusively for MDs and DOs to talk about “real-world medicine.” While it lacks the same visibility as public platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, Sermo makes it easier to connect with professional peers and have candid, productive conversations about best practices, the ins and outs of the health care business, and new developments. It offers real-time engagement and dialogue in an experience similar to that of Facebook.
- Doximity: Sometimes called “LinkedIn for doctors,” Doximity is another social network, with a large member base of physicians, medical students, and clinically practicing health care professionals. In fact, last year Doximity claimed that it reaches 70% of all US doctors. (The platform has a US focus.) It’s also particularly well suited to use on mobile devices. Members use Doximity as a centralized professional portal for collecting contacts, sharing basic professional information in their profiles, messaging with peers, keeping up with new developments in medicine, and sometimes even job hunting.
- ResearchGate: ResearchGate is a network focused on scientists and researchers in the health care field. Members use it to collaborate, share their papers, ask and answer questions, and connect with peers working in similar areas. When you set up a ResearchGate profile, you select the topics and organizations that are relevant to you, so the network can help provide you with useful information and contacts, helping you track the latest news and research.
- Reddit: Reddit is a very niche platform, with just 2% of US adults regularly using the site. Users on Reddit share links, which other users “upvote” or “downvote” based on how useful or interesting they are. The most “upvoted” content filters to the top of the index. “Subreddits,” topic-based communities within Reddit, focus on a multitude of different subjects – including Meddit, a medical community. Reddit isn’t intended for reaching mass audiences or building a personal brand or community of followers. Instead, it’s great for quickly gathering the top medical news and stories of the day, and for sharing high-value news and insights of your own to an interested community.
Health care professionals have plenty of options for involvement on social media, and each platform offers its own unique benefits, functions, and opportunities. Choose where to invest your time based on your personal goals for career growth. For most people, that will take the form of a hybrid approach in which you use different platforms for different objectives, like networking, keeping up with the latest research, and building your personal brand.
AASLD News will continue to feature 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.