At our April meeting Marketing Consultant Jane Buswell of Business Fulcrum Ltd took us through the demanding world of social media stopping to explain about the many parallels between face to face networking and social networking; about how the internet influences purchasing decisions and why doctors might consider using social media.

In information packed talk she also covered keywords, schedulers and Twitter Lists – there were many notes taken about getting our ducks in a row! As a gift to IWIM Jane has shared 14 reasons why you might be doing social media and related internet activities:

1. Promoting health literacy – in the absence of patient friendly accurate information your patients are more likely to come across amateur misinformation.

2. Growing your practice – if someone searches for a specialist in your expertise and your geographical location will they find you?

3. Advancing your career – do a Google search of the top consultants in your field. My guess is that the top results link not to academic articles or textbooks but to patient friendly videos, interviews, blogs and resources.

4. Managing what patients see about you. A currently active web presence will outdo a dated negative comment.

5. Sharing your passion and your expertise – it’s a service to others and it’s not spam. No one has to follow your blog or social media updates if they don’t want to.

6. Disseminating knowledge and advancing science are likely to be the main reasons you publish. But even the best academic journals have a low readership to the internet. Why not be active in both areas?

7. Studies suggest that patients forget 50% of what they are told in a consultation. Why not put frequently asked questions or posts about common issues on your website? You can then link to these via social media.

8. A successful academic career depends on people recognising your work and your name so it would perhaps be sensible to stop thinking about social media and internet activities as unsavoury self-promotion…

9. Expanding your horizons and keep up your continual professional development by connecting with like-minded peers at home and abroad.

10. Finding collaborators.

11. Helping to recruit the best partners by showcasing the major benefits of your professional environment and the accomplishments of your team.

12. A lot of medical publications and news sources are on social media so stay in the loop via their posts on social media rather than keeping up with research and healthcare news by visiting each source on an individual basis.

13. By doing 12 (above) you will also be seeing what your patients are reading and therefore more prepared when they refer to it.

14. Learning from easily attainable analytics which shows which posts are most popular – this helps you hone your marketing approach in terms of subject, approach and format.

If you’d like to find out more about what Jane does pop onto