Practice Management Blog

7 1/2 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in Healthcare

Social media has become an indispensable marketing tool for healthcare practices, bridging the gap between practitioner expertise and client engagement and helping you stay top-of-mind.

However, navigating these dynamic platforms requires more than just a presence – they demand a strategic approach, and it can be hard to know where to focus and where potential pitfalls lie.

Whether you’re a seasoned social media user or just starting out, we’ll guide you through 7 (and a half!) common social media mistakes to avoid in healthcare, so you can transcend the basic do’s and don’ts to ensure your efforts pay off.

Let us show you how to sidestep the missteps, so you can effectively leverage these platforms within your allied healthcare context.

Mistake #1: Not Getting Social Media Consent from Clients

The first misstep often lies in overlooking the critical need for explicit and documented client consent before featuring clients in social media content. Find more on the topic of consent in this article from Nature.

The importance of this can’t be overstated. Without obtaining permission, your healthcare clinic risks violating privacy regulations, which can lead to legal repercussions and damage to your reputation.

Privacy laws – such as HIPAA in the United States and the Data Protection Act in the UK – are stringent about client confidentiality. When these regulations are breached, even unintentionally, the consequences can range from hefty fines to a loss of trust among your client base.

But, gaining consent goes beyond obvious instances of featuring a client in a post.

Be vigilant about accidental breaches of privacy.

This includes seemingly innocuous details like a client inadvertently appearing in the background of a photo, or a piece of paperwork with a client’s name visible on a desk. These situations might seem minor, but they can have major implications for client privacy and your practice’s compliance with regulations.

Mistake #2: Not Having a Social Media Policy for Staff

The risks of not having a well-defined social media policy for your healthcare practice are many.

This policy guides staff members on how to use the practice’s official social media accounts and sets boundaries on their personal account activities (especially when they represent the practice or discuss professional matters).

Think about creating a consistent voice.

A social media policy helps create a consistent voice and message across all platforms, which is crucial for maintaining your practice’s professional integrity and brand. It also provides staff with clear guidelines on handling client interactions online, ensuring that all communications comply with privacy laws and ethical standards.

Power Diary’s Practice Operations Manual can be instrumental in addressing this need. It provides templates for developing your policies and procedures, ensuring that all staff members are on the same page, understand the boundaries and expectations of their online conduct, and contribute positively to the practice’s online presence.

Mistake #3: Creating Posts Without a Plan

Consistency is key in social media engagement; without it, even the most well-intentioned efforts can fall flat. Practices often start with enthusiasm, posting frequently, but this momentum can quickly wane without a clear plan, leading to long periods of inactivity.

Inconsistency can diminish the practice’s online presence and credibility. A more strategic approach ensures that posts are published regularly and are aligned with the practice’s goals, values and messaging.

One effective strategy to maintain consistency is batching content in advance. This involves creating a series of posts at once and scheduling them to be published later. Batching allows for a more efficient use of time and resources, ensuring a steady stream of content that keeps the audience engaged and informed.

To implement this strategy, consider using:

  • Content calendars: Use a content calendar to plan posts weeks or even months in advance. This helps to envision the overall strategy and ensure a balanced mix of content types.
    Scheduling tools: Platforms like Meta Business Suite, Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social allow practices to schedule posts in advance. This means content can be prepared and set to go live at optimal times for engagement, even outside of office hours.
  • Analytics tools: Use social media analytics to understand what content resonates with your audience. This data can guide future content creation, ensuring it’s both relevant and engaging.
  • Collaboration tools: Tools like Trello or Asana can facilitate team collaboration in content creation and approval processes, ensuring that all posts are vetted and aligned with the practice’s standards. Here you can compare the best project collaboration tools.

Mistake #4: Not Monitoring Your Competitors

Keep an eye on the competition. This isn’t about imitation – it’s a strategic approach to staying informed about industry trends, understanding what resonates with your audience, and learning from the successes and failures of others in your field.

Understanding what other practices are doing on social media can provide valuable insights. It can reveal emerging trends in client engagement, innovative communication strategies, or new services that are gaining traction. This knowledge can help you stay relevant and competitive.

Here are some simple strategies to effectively monitor competitors:

  • Follow competitors’ social media accounts: Regularly check the social media pages of other healthcare practices. Observe the type of content they post, how they engage with their audience, and the response they receive.
  • Use social media listening tools: Tools like BuzzSumo or Mention can track mentions of competitors or industry keywords. This helps understand the broader conversations happening in your field and identify trends.
  • Evaluate engagement and content strategy: Look at how competitors’ content performs in terms of likes, shares, saves and comments. Evaluating these can provide insights into what might work for your audience.
  • Attend industry webinars and conferences: Stay updated with broader industry trends. Often, what’s discussed in these forums trickles down to social media strategies.
  • Set Google alerts: Create alerts for competitors or industry-specific terms to stay informed about major news or developments.

Mistake #5: Not Offering Value to Your Followers

A significant misstep in healthcare social media is the tendency to focus solely on promotional content. While it’s natural to want to highlight your services and achievements, an always-promotional approach can lead to a disengaged audience.

Social media users typically seek content that adds value to their lives, not just advertisements.

The key to a successful social media presence, especially in healthcare, is to balance promotional material with content that provides real value to your followers.

This approach fosters engagement and builds trust and credibility with your audience.

Value can be provided in various forms:

  • Educational content: Share informative posts about common health issues, tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, or updates on the latest research. For example, a post about effective strategies to manage seasonal allergies, complete with advice from your experts, can be both informative and relevant to new and potential clients.
  • Community engagement: Participate in health awareness campaigns or local community events. Sharing your involvement or insights online can make an impact on your audience.
  • Q&A sessions: Hosting Q&A sessions on social media platforms can be a great way to engage directly. This provides your followers with valuable information and makes your practice more approachable.
  • Client stories: With consent, sharing client success stories or testimonials can inspire and reassure others facing similar health challenges.
  • Interactive content: Polls, quizzes, or health challenges encourage interaction while providing value.

Mistake #6: Not Responding to Comments or Direct Messages

One of the most critical yet frequently overlooked aspects of social media management in healthcare is engagement – that is, responding to comments and direct messages. Active engagement isn’t just about posting content; it’s about fostering a positive online community and building relationships with your audience.

Engagement on social media is a two-way street. When followers take the time to comment on your posts or reach out via direct messages, they’re initiating a conversation and expecting a response. Ignoring these interactions can damage your practice’s online reputation and relationships with potential clients.

Here are some examples and tips for effective social media engagement:

  • Prompt responses: Make it a priority to respond to comments and messages. This shows that your practice values its followers and is attentive to their needs.
  • Personal interactions: Tailor your responses to each individual. Personal interactions make followers feel heard and valued.
  • Encourage conversations: Ask open-ended questions in your posts to encourage comments. Engage in these conversations by responding thoughtfully to comments.
  • Monitor mentions: Keep track of mentions of your practice on social media and engage with these posts. Check your notifications regularly to see if anyone is talking about your practice.
  • Share user-generated content: With permission, share content created by your followers, such as testimonials or stories. This provides authentic content for your page and encourages more users to engage with your practice.
  • Schedule regular check-ins: Regularly check your social media accounts for any new interactions.

Measuring engagement is crucial. Free tools like Meta Business Suite provide analytics to help you track how many people interact with your posts and the type of engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.). Monitoring these metrics can help you understand what content resonates with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Mistake #7: Not Activating 2FA on Your Social Accounts

Security is a paramount concern in all aspects of practice management, and this extends to social media. One often overlooked but critical aspect of social media security is the activation of two-factor authentication (2FA).

2FA is an additional security layer that requires not only a password and username but also something only the user has on them, i.e., a piece of information they should have immediately on hand – such as a code sent to their phone. This makes it significantly harder for potential intruders to gain access to social media accounts.

The risks of not implementing 2FA are substantial.

Social media accounts without 2FA are more vulnerable to hacking and unapproved access. This can lead to a host of issues, from the spread of misinformation to the exposure of sensitive information, both of which can severely damage a practice’s reputation and client trust.

Implementing 2FA is typically straightforward:

  • Access security settings: Go to the security settings of your social media account. This is usually found under the account settings or privacy section.
  • Select Two-Factor Authentication: Choose the option to enable 2FA. Most platforms will provide a step-by-step guide through this process.
  • Choose your 2FA method: Common methods include receiving a code via SMS or using an authenticator app.
  • Follow the setup instructions: Complete the setup by following the instructions provided by the social media platform. This usually involves verifying a code sent to your phone or linking the authenticator app to your account.
  • Verify and test: Once set up, perform a test to ensure that 2FA is working correctly.

Activating 2FA significantly enhances the security of your social media accounts. This simple yet effective measure is a crucial step in safeguarding your business’s online presence and maintaining the trust of your client community.

Mistake #….½: Replying Before You’ve Had Your Morning Coffee

Don’t respond impulsively.

Don’t react to comments or messages, particularly negative ones, without taking a moment to compose a thoughtful, professional response. This is akin to replying before you’ve had your morning coffee – when you’re not fully alert or in the right mindset.


Successfully navigating social media in healthcare takes strategy, empathy and attention, from ensuring client consent and establishing staff policies to engaging thoughtfully with your audience and securing your digital presence.

The key is to be present on social media and connect meaningfully and responsibly with your audience. As you refine your approach, consider embracing tools that can streamline your efforts. Download Power Diary’s social media schedule template and get started now!

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