Using Facebook to develop your brand: 4 suggestions for radiologists

Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the United States, offers radiologists numerous ways to develop their brand, according to a new commentary published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“Facebook offers users the possibility of reaching millions of viewers who otherwise could not be reached,” wrote authors Hilda H. Tso, DO, and Jay R. Parikh, MD, of the department of radiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “Compared with the cost of historical forms of marketing, such as flyers and commercials, the cost of marketing on Facebook is relatively low. In contrast with classic advertisements such as print, television, radio, and billboards, which have finite lifetimes, marketing materials posted to Facebook can be available indefinitely.”

The authors covered numerous suggestions for radiologists looking to leverage Facebook and develop their brand. These are four of those suggestions:

1. Stand out by branding your radiology practice or department

Branding your practice or department can help it stand out, Tso and Parikh explained.

“Practicing outstanding clinical radiology is simply not enough to distinguish a practice from the competition,” the authors wrote. “As a package, the patient experience, referring physician experience, imaging quality, and report quality all must be superior.”

A radiology group can use a Facebook page to share pictures of its employees, patient satisfaction scores, various American College of Radiology accreditations and even data about specific operational metrics. Facebook is used by patients of all ages—if they look up your practice or department, don’t you want them to find a functional page featuring helpful information?

2. Don’t be afraid to brand yourself

If you think Facebook shouldn’t be used to spread the word about specific radiologists, Tso and Parikh noted, you miss out on a huge opportunity to increase your visibility.

“Some private practice and academic radiologists may be reluctant to consider personal branding as they are part of a group,” the authors wrote. “However, radiologists should consider developing a personal brand as part of the Imaging 3.0 culture transformation intended to help improve radiologist visibility. Radiologists are stereotyped as doctors who sit in a dark room all day. Effective personal branding can overcome this stereotype and help put a face to the field of radiology.”

The first thing radiologists should do is create a new Facebook page for themselves, one that's separate from their personal Facebook profile. This helps keep personal information—family photos, political opinions and so on—away from the page the radiologist is using to connect with patients. The next step, the authors added, is adding a “professional photo, details of one’s educational background and a personal mission statement.”

3. Connect with referring physicians, industry colleagues

Connecting with your brand’s “target audience” strengthens your brand, the authors explained. This includes referring physicians, radiologist colleagues and patients. Relationship between radiologists and referring physicians are important, especially in this modern era of value-based care, and simply “following” a referring physician on Facebook and “tagging” them can do wonders for such a relationship.

Facebook can also help radiologists interact with their peers, sharing articles back and forth and discussing radiology through various comments and posts. Facebook also allows users to build custom groups, and numerous groups already exist that focus on radiology. “A closed or secret group allows more open discussion of patient care issues, products, and practice policies,” the authors wrote. “Secret and closed groups on Facebook empower radiologists to keep up to date with standards of practice and the newest technology.”

4. Connect with patients

Connecting with patients can also be beneficial for radiologists looking to develop their brand. A radiologist can use his or her own page to discuss best practices, reach out to patients, spread helpful information about radiology and more.

“If a radiologist is active on Facebook and able to brand himself or herself effectively and establish credibility through online conversations, patients may be more likely to seek that radiologist’s services than the services of a colleague,” the authors wrote.