Don’t dive in without a plan
Don’t simply join every social networking site without first giving your strategy thoughtful consideration. Determining how you want to use the social media will help you tailor communication to your audience, Corey explains.
What are your goals—communicating with residents and alumni, attracting new applicants, or both?
“Our goal was to get information about our program out there for applicants,” says Bjorn Peterson, MD, second-year resident at Regions Hospital.
By posting pictures from graduation events, pearls from interesting case conferences, information about the area, and unique experiences that residents have had on certain rotations, Peterson says an applicant can get a sense of the program, the residents, and the quality of training.
Keep your goals in mind when deciding which sites to join and spend time building up a presence. Twitter offers the ability to send real-time updates to residents, so it is a great way to quickly disseminate information to large groups of people, Corey says.
However, if your goal is to get potential candidates interested in your program, consider posting a video about your program on YouTube. It can include a virtual tour of the department, feature interviews with residents and key faculty members, and showcase your facility.
Privacy and other legal concerns
You’ve probably heard horror stories of residents posting inappropriate comments or less-than-professional photos on social networking sites. This may make you apprehensive about putting your program out in the Web world, but the risks are smaller than you might think, say Peterson and Corey.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and most blogs allow you to assign administrators to the profile. Only these people can post communications coming from the program. As long as you chose trustworthy individuals to administer the site, you don’t have much to worry about.