Best Practices for Physicians on Social Media

This January, our strategist, Jessica Greenwood, had the pleasure of presenting at the Emerald Coast Medical Association 2019 CME Beach Retreat. The topic? To Tweet or Not To Tweet. Recent data suggests 90% of healthcare providers using social media for professional purposes are there only to observe. Reasons given for this lack of engagement vary but the top two are fear of negative repercussions and simply a lack of time. With 42% of #patients indicating they’d like to friend or at least follow their healthcare providers on social media, physicians have an opportunity to reach their patients in new and effective ways. To help, 3SMS compiled some best practices that Jessica shared with conference attendees.


  1. Do not give medical advice on social media.

  2. Act online as you would in your office.

  3. Pause before you post. “Post”, “Share”, “Tweet” are permanent, even if you delete them later.

  4. Understand what you post now might haunt you in the future. See #3.

  5. Make it easy for patients to know you’re on social media. Put your icons at the top of your website, create a custom hashtag, invite patients to follow your page.

  6. Understand privacy settings, especially for personal pages.

  7. Remember that health literacy is relevant online too.

  8. Have a “No Wrong Door” policy. Engage patients on social media and then redirect to the office or Patient Portal.  

  9. Add value. Focus on patient education, research updates, and relevant health news.

  10. Remember that if you want to be part of the conversation, you have to show up.


Participating in social media as a healthcare provider is feasible. It just requires some forethought, a little strategy, and regular maintenance. And the ROI? A loyal brigade of patients and families who become your most powerful marketing tool.


Need help getting started? Drop us a line. 3 minds 2 reach 1 solution for you.

Updated: January 2020

3 Social Media Strategists, LLC

Boston, MA.