Becoming a Leader on Social Media

By Audrey Laine Seymour, Communications Manager at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center

Stock image of social media icons

At Mayo Clinic, staff is encouraged to use social media, and training and resources are available to help us use it safely and effectively with confidence.

But how do researchers and physicians (or anyone) become leaders on social media when there are millions of people on each platform? Raising your profile on social media takes time and strategy. To elevate your personal brand, it’s important to devote a few minutes each week to building your account. Here are some tips.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Use Symplur’s Healthcare Hashtag Project to identify top hashtags in your area of expertise. (It’s a free, open platform for patient advocates, caregivers, doctors, and other providers that connects them to relevant conversations and communities.)

When you use hashtags, you’re adding your content to the larger conversation on that topic. You’re joining that community. Be sure to use the top hashtags, so your posts and tweets are seen by the largest relevant audience. (Tip: Don’t use more than two hashtags, or it may be seen as spam.)

In the image below, you see the top three hashtags for Colorectal Cancer. You also see a list of colorectal cancer influencers, which brings me to my next tip.

Follow the Most Active and Most Followed Users in Your Area of Expertise

Researchers studying colorectal cancer should follow the users in Symplur’s list. You should also follow your colleagues in your area of expertise. For example, Michael Wallace, MD, is a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Follow him, and then take a look at his “following” list to find others you should follow. The images below show @mikewallacemd’s Twitter profile. He is following 1,539 users. You could peruse those users to identify others to follow on your own account, such as Gastroenterology on Twitter, the flagship journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (or @AmerGastroAssn on Twitter.)

Repeat the process by going to the accounts and profiles of other top influencers, and follow them as well. Some of those will be from journals in your specialty. Soon you’ll find you have a great source of the latest medical and scientific news that’s relevant to you.

Elevate Your Personal Brand…and Your Cancer Center’s

If you aren’t sure what to share, start by retweeting or resharing posts from your cancer center, your colleagues, and relevant journals. As you become more comfortable sharing more content more often, you will effectively build your personal brand as an expert in your field. By doing so, you will subsequently help elevate your cancer center’s brand as a trusted resource for medical information.



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