Medical marketing & social media – ethics & guidelines for doctors & private practices

Medical marketing & social media – ethics & guidelines for doctors & private practices

Running a private medical practice involves more than just clinical activities. It’s crucial for consultants and managers to stay up to date on any changes to relevant regulations, such as the new General Data Protection Regulations, coming into effect in May 2018. It is also vital that the activities of the practice are conducted in line with guidance from the authorities (such as the GMC and the BMA). Services need to be marketed appropriately, especially when growing a practice. This week, we’ll be taking a look at what needs to be considered when assessing and implementing your private practice’s medical marketing and social media strategy.

Social media

A cost-effective medical marketing method, a huge part of many people’s lives, and a main way of communicating for many businesses. However, for doctors there are issues that need to be kept in mind when communicating in a professional capacity with patients, clients and colleagues over social media. These platforms are easy to use and can generate great levels of interested in your practice, but there are guidelines that need to be followed in relation to their ethical use.

  • Confidentiality – GMC guidelines state that doctors must be honest in all communications with patients, clients and colleagues. When using social media doctors need to be aware that a patient’s network may be able to see any communications between the two parties – confidentiality, therefore, is key.
  • Stay professional – Act with integrity, be honest and be trustworthy. As well as being good rules to play by in business, doctors are professionally obliged to act in this way in line with good medical practice guidelines.
  • Know your sites – Designated Medical’s MD, Jane Braithwaite, has written previously about the need to understand social media. Facebook and Twitter are of course two of the most popular sites for businesses and are the best platforms to use to connect with potential patients and clients, with LinkedIn providing a channel for communications with colleagues primarily.

Doctors need to assess the possible risks when using social media, and have a good understanding of the fact that misusing this tool could impact adversely on patient-doctor relationships and your professional reputation.

Medical marketing & advertising

The use of social media may involve more than just communicating with patients. As mentioned above, it is also a great tool for marketing and for advertising your practice. However, there are GMC guidelines to keep in mind for this area, too:

  • Any adverts for your practice must be factual and should not take advantage of your patients’ lack of medical knowledge.
  • The marketing of certain services and specialities is subject to specific guidelines. For cosmetic surgery, for example, surgeons need to make sure that their marketing makes it clear that a medical assessment will be conducted before any treatments are carried out. Treatments and services cannot be offered as prizes, and surgeons must be upfront about the results of any cosmetic procedure. This is crucial in terms of managing patient expectations.


Designated Medical


Our team at Designated Medical know how important it is to work within these guidelines. As part of our thorough induction process are required to read and sign our in-house medical marketing and social media policy. We also have a talented digital marketing team, who specialise in social media strategy and management and search engine optimisation. You can read more about the services available here.

For more information about how we can help you grow your practice through online marketing contact us here or call 020 7952 1008.


Why You Should Outsource Your Social Media

Why You Should Outsource Your Social Media

‘Website visitors are 4 times more likely to use social media than search engines to find what they want’

Speaking from personal experience, I found managing multiple social media accounts time consuming and an exhausting process. Managing my followers and unfollowers alone can be a headache, not to mention keeping track of my tweets and recognising the difference between a potential customer or a brand who is completely irrelevant.

But most of all, I feel the biggest problem with social media is consistency. 

I’ve seen comments in Facebook marketing groups from multiple entrepreneurs and startups who are struggling to keep up with their brand awareness, sporadically tweeting every few days. After a few weeks with minimal engagement, the realisation kicks in that it will take time and effort to kick start your business.

That’s where Designated Medical come in. Our digital marketing team specifically use their skills in marketing startups, small businesses and also private medical centres. We have proven results in increasing,

  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • Twitter Followers
  • Brand Awareness
  • Business Blog Views
  • Shares Using Infographics

So let’s take a look at a few questions from a small startup and see how we can assist them.

I need to set up multiple accounts but it’s just too time consuming?

We can create business accounts for all the major social media channels and ensure brand consistency is optimised throughout. For example;

  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin

I already have a Twitter account but I have minimal engagement and I don’t understand the key hastags to use for my sector?

We will research hashtags for your sector to ensure targeted engagement and will post consistently on topics relevant to your business on a daily basis.

I’m not sure which social media platform would be the most suitable for my brand?

When you sign up with Designated Medical, we create a FREE marketing plan to cover all aspects of your business. You can expect to find out;

  • Where to find your customers
  • The best Hashtags
  • Which content is most suitable for your site
  • Your competitors
  • When is the best time to post on social media and which platforms to use
  • Meetings or events in your sector that you may wish to attend for networking purposes

This sounds costly, is it more expensive than hiring a full time social media executive?

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your social media is you pick the hours you wish us to work. No need to worry about things like taxes, accommodating a new member of staff, keeping them active for 8 hours a days when they’re on a salary.

As a private medical centre who may not have the budget to hire a full time member of staff, this could be invaluable to you and your growth. Simply pick the hours you feel comfortable with!

Would you like to find out more and have a quick chat with one of our experienced digital marketing executives? Get in touch today on 020 7952 1460 or email us at

January Stay Connected

Subscribe To "Stay Connected" our Monthly Medical Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!