Social media: the rules of engagement
Optometrist and lifestyle blogger, Lizzy Yeowart, on the importance of ensuring a positive impression online for the practice
02 December 2019
Most businesses today, including opticians, have an online presence.
Patients are consumers and can choose which practice they take their business to. The practice website and social media pages might be their first encounter with the practice, so a positive first impression is vital; everything posted by a member of the practice team should be as professional and polite as if it were face-to-face with a patient on the shop floor. Replies to patient comments or questions should be carefully thought out and courteous. Derogatory remarks and ‘text-speak’ must be avoided.
Everything posted by a member of the practice team should be as professional and polite as if it were face-to-face with a patient on the shop floor
It is likely that some or all members of the practice team will have personal social media accounts. Although the way an individual uses social media in their private life is a matter for their own personal judgement, they should consider whether the content they upload could compromise public confidence in the practice and the profession.
Lizzy's social media guide
- Website and social media pages are a virtual shop window to the practice
- Everything posted online by a member of the practice team should be professional and polite. Avoid using ‘text-speak’
- Decline friend requests from patients to a personal account
- All social media users should review their privacy settings on a regular basis.
If staff members have friends who are also patients, they must be aware of the boundaries required to maintain a professional relationship. They should not discuss patients, fellow members of staff or practice procedures. If a patient makes contact for professional purposes via a team member’s private profile, they should be redirected to the practice website or social media site. Friend requests from patients to a personal account should be politely declined.
All social media users should review their privacy settings on a regular basis. However, irrespective of these settings, social media sites cannot guarantee confidentiality. It is important to be aware that patients, colleagues and other contacts might be able to access personal information. Remember that information about location can be embedded within photographs and other content posted by others. Once information is published online, it cannot be removed completely as other users can distribute it more widely or comment on it. Online information can be easily accessed by others and even anonymous content can be traced back to its point of origin.
Other articles in this series
- The ABC of GDPR: Demystifying the regulation and what it means for the practice
- A smooth journey: A clinical technician’s take on capturing images
- Making accurate claims: Identifying the essential points for the practice team
- The DNA of effective complaint resolution: Taking a systematic approach when handling complaints
- Passing the baton: Discussing teamwork and the handover in practice
- Ethical dilemmas for the practice team: Scenario-based assessments.