In today’s digital world, social media is having a profound effect on the way information is being conveyed and shared within the healthcare industry. More and more breaking news, clinical studies and new industry reports are being shared and tweeted through social media. Clinical nursing professionals are signing up, creating accounts, sharing information and increasing their presence across social sites. If you haven’t already joined in the movement, now is the time for you to get involved. Here are some simple tips on how to get started with social media and become a part of the social conversation.
Create Your Social Persona
If you’re not already using social media, get started by joining some of the more prominently used social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Signing up for these sites is quick, free and requires minimal information. One rule of thumb to remember when creating your account and building your profile is that honesty is the best and most respectable policy. The more real you are with your profile information, bio, etc. the more likely people, brands and organizations will want to follow you.
To Follow or Not to Follow
After you have created your profile, you’ll want to decide who to follow. Think about your interests, websites you enjoy, writers you respect, thought leaders you admire, and seek out their social media accounts and profiles. Once you find those accounts, you can then follow and/or subscribe to their social media profile to receive their latest updates, tweets and posts. As you begin to follow more accounts, people and brands, you will eventually find more accounts of interest and slowly build up the number of sites adding information to your social feed.
Search and Research
Each day, every minute, and every second, there are millions of messages being sent out from various social media accounts. Those messages can range from breaking news from the @CDCgov regarding the latest information on influenza, to new blog posts from healthcare bloggers like @MarkGraban. You can search and research relevant information related to your interests by using hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that have the hash sign (#) in front of them. For example, if you wanted to see what’s happening in healthcare news, you would search #Healthcare. This can be done across almost all social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+, just to name a few. You can also get more detailed results by using a more specific hashtag such as #InfectionPrevention, which will pull up all specific posts, articles and messages related to infection prevention. Social search is a wonderful tool that can help you find people, businesses, and organizations that fall into your specific interest group.
Share and Retweet
One of the best ways to become more involved with social media is through sharing, retweeting and forwarding information. On Twitter, when you want to share a tweet that you found interesting, you retweet it, meaning you re-send that very same message. If you share a message on Facebook or on LinkedIn, you are sharing that post and update with all of those individuals that you are connected to. Most original authors love when you share their content and may even show appreciation for your efforts by thanking you via social media in a tweet or message. Also, through sharing and retweeting, those who follow you will appreciate your sharing relevant and useful content they may find interesting as well.
Join the Conversation
It’s important with social media not only to get active, but to be vocal. Consistency is the key to staying engaged. Check your social sites often to engage with other users, comment on interesting posts and share your thoughts on the latest news, updates or findings. The more engaged you are as a social media user, the more likely you are to attract and grow your following and increase your social influence. When attending healthcare-related events or tradeshows, find out the hashtag for the event and send out tweets, posts or photos using that hashtag. You’ll be amazed by the connections you will make!
These five tips are just a starting point. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your own research, and read other people’s posts before diving into the deep-end of social media. Everything takes time, and social media is constantly changing with new updates, sites and rollouts every day. Start slow, build up momentum and confidence and find what interests you most. The social world is out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.
This article was originally posted on Medline’s Clinical Blog and re-blogged with permission – view the original post here.