• Online Networking Group and Social Media Etiquette

    Ah…the do’s and don’ts of social media. If it’s not enough that we’re already online sharing our lives away, there are certain rules to follow when it comes to being a part of the online world – especially for professionals like us as practice managers.

    Just like at our clinics, there is specific etiquette to follow so that we can maintain, at the very least, a level of decorum within our professionalism. With the way social media and online networking groups are growing, there are a few Do’s and Don’ts I highly recommend you follow.

    Be You

    It might sound like a really simple and easy concept to follow, but so many people get caught up trying to be the best or the most perfect person online that in the end, they’re representing a persona that’s not really them. Think of it like online dating – when you’ve been talking with someone who’s a potential partner, what would your reaction be when you finally met, and their profile picture was completely different? Same goes for online networking – be yourself all the time.

    Your contacts will appreciate you for it.

    Patient Privacy

    Just like you wouldn’t disclose patient information to other people whilst at the clinic, don’t do it behind a keyboard. If you’re a part of a large number of groups, there is a possibility someone will know exactly who you’re talking about when it comes to gossip – this goes for patients and staff members alike. Medical practices and their doctors are known in the public eye for keeping their records confidential – you need to make sure it’s kept that way.

    Stay Professional

    Don’t mix business with pleasure. Always keep your personal social accounts separate from business ones. Images, opinions, personal activities and re-posts might not be indicative of who you are to a fellow professional, so one rule of thumb is, mix business with business and pleasure with pleasure only.

    Stay Kind

    Yes, each social network has its own petty annoyances and grievances, I’ll be the first to admit it, but if you’re having issues with your GP or fellow staff members, online networking groups and social media platforms are not the place to name and shame. Everyone has different feelings and opinions and it’s important to respect this in the online world.

    Basically, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, the internet is not the place to say it either.

    This goes for other comments too. Sure, it’s great to share jokes and be sarcastic, but not everything is clear online and sometimes people may not realise you’re cracking a joke – this is when they rely on emojis or text speak like ‘LOL’ to show they’re not being serious. However it’s still not guaranteed readers will get it – your sense of humour isn’t always universal.

    Copyright Issues

    Please don’t be that person that copies template designs and wording from other clinics’ marketing packs or websites. Not only does it infringe on copyright, but it really diminishes the hard work put in by a fellow practice manager. Trust me, you’ll feel so great after creating your own designs for your clinic, whether you do them yourself or you have a team of people working with you on the project.

    Supportive Behaviour

    Always remember the importance of being a good networker from both sides. If you have the opportunity to help someone, remember what it felt like to ask for assistance and how even the smallest form of support was important.

    Being supportive is about being there, right? Online networking groups (well, networking groups in general, back in the day) are built on the foundation of helping others regardless of career status or job position. We shouldn’t be excluding others, and it’s just so incredibly helpful and supportive to share your wisdom with those who want it.

    Privacy and Carefulness

    Basically, this one is about avoiding over-sharing. Sharing what was for dinner last night or how your new potted plant is thriving on the verandah is fine, but over-sharing is the quickest way to lose people in your network. Your profile in your networking groups and social media accounts is a big part of your personal brand – whether you like it or not, and this affects your clinic, your staff members and your GPs. Don’t dilute everyone with irrelevant posts – networking is meant for professionalism. Post items relevant to practice management and the medical industry.

    This brings on an item I want to ensure you remember – nothing is ever deleted from the internet. I’m not a tech expert by any means, but I do know that even if I were to delete a post, it will remain on the internet for someone to find.

    So think before you share!

    The world wide web has tremendous power when it comes to connecting with people and networking with those in your field. So it’s incredibly important to remember proper etiquette when engaging with others and to think about the effects your online activity has.

    Do you have any other etiquette tips you would like to share?

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