The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

What social media do medical professionals use?

Learn the differences between the major social media platforms and discover which ones your practice should be on.

Healthcare practice owner reads about social media for medical practices

At a Glance

  • When choosing a social media platform for your practice, it’s important to consider patient demographics and preferences, as the popularity of platforms varies — for example, Facebook is most popular with older generations while TikTok skews younger.
  • Each major social platform has pros and cons regarding content types, engagement rates, advertising options, and ease of gaining a following that should factor into the decision of where to focus efforts.
  • While Facebook has the widest overall reach, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube boast higher engagement rates which may make them better choices for actively engaging patients and prospects.

As you ramp up your practice marketing efforts, you may start to look for medical practice social media tips. Which platform should you prioritize? And with so many from which to choose, that’s a fair question. The key to choosing the best social platform for your medical practice isn’t to head where your colleagues are — it’s to head where your patients are going.

According to Tebra’s Patient Perspectives report, 75% of respondents would follow their healthcare providers on Facebook. But other platforms included Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. And overall, 1 in 4 patients said they would follow their provider on social media if they posted regularly. 

Depending on your patient demographics, communication style, and budget, certain platforms may lead to better connections with patients and prospects than others. Before making a decision, it helps to put each platform in context. 

Patient Perspectives Report

Every major social media platform at a glance

Generally, most social networks skew male and are dominated by Millennials and Gen Z. Notable exceptions include TikTok, which skews female, and YouTube, which has a fairly equal gender distribution. Recent studies have not yet included data for non-binary, fluid, or genderqueer users. Both cater to a wider age range. Facebook is popular among older generations. 

All of these factors can play a role in which platform would work best for your practice. 

But engagement rates and content types matter, too. If you hate recording videos and can’t outsource the work, TikTok or YouTube may not be the best place for your practice to try to build a following. Likewise, if you prefer short writing and a more conversational atmosphere, Twitter might be ideal. 

FacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokTwitterYouTube
Content type(s)Text
Video
Live video
Images
Polls
Groups
Images
Short video
Text
Video
Images
Polls
Documents
Short video
Live video
Text
Short video
Images
Polls
Video (any length)
Live video
Age range33-4418-3424-3410-4925-3418-65
SexSkews maleSkews maleSkews maleSkews femaleSkews maleFemale and male
Average engagement rate0.15%0.60%3.16%4.25%0.05%2-4.00%

Facebook

Facebook has been around since 2004, and it’s only natural that this legacy social media platform garners a lot of traffic. As of 2022, 70% of US adults still used the platform regularly.  

Businesses benefit from having a Facebook business page, even if they don’t use it very often. For example, since Facebook is considered a “high-quality” website by Google, having a Facebook page that links to your website can boost your overall SEO. A business page also opens the door to using other tools, like Facebook Ads and Groups. 

This platform also integrates well with Instagram and the messaging tool WhatsApp, which are owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta. 

Facebook pros:

  • Integrates with Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Offers a wide variety of tools
  • Business pages look professional and can highlight reviews
  • Great for Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers 
  • Gives access to advertising options
  • Helps website SEO

Facebook cons:

  • Low engagement
  • Paid advertising can be expensive
  • Fewer Gen Z users

Instagram

Instagram is the most popular social platform for both Millennials and Gen Z, making it ideal for catching the attention of adults and young adults looking for a primary care doctor, therapist, or other healthcare providers. 

As a predecessor to platforms like TikTok, Instagram allows healthcare providers to be flexible with their content, as you can post photos as well as videos. Another advantage to Instagram is that it links directly with your Facebook business page and you can leverage ads for both platforms from the same dashboard. 

Instagram pros:

  • Decent engagement
  • Good for cross-posting with Facebook
  • Great for Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X
  • Access to advertising options

Instagram cons:

  • Requires more resources for photos and videos
  • Paid advertising can be expensive
  • Difficult to grow an initial following 
Optimize Operations

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a career-based platform, so it’s easy to see why many Millennials, Gen Xers, and younger Baby Boomers are active on it. Unlike other social platforms, users head to LinkedIn to post about their expertise and network with other professionals. 

Users are also very active, as LinkedIn has an average engagement rate of  3.16% — far higher than Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

It’s possible to gain traction not only with a medical practice page but also with your personal LinkedIn account. ”

Furthermore, it’s possible to gain traction not only with a medical practice page but also with your personal LinkedIn account. This means that no matter where you go or what you do with your practice, your reputation is linked to your name. 

If you want to do more than attract patients, such as publish thought leadership pieces and connect with colleagues, this is the place to do it. 

LinkedIn pros:

  • High engagement rate
  • Networking opportunities
  • Great for Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X
  • Access to advertising options
  • Post life is longer than on other platforms (about 2 days as opposed to 1-24 hours)

LinkedIn cons:

  • May be more focused on colleague collaboration than new patients
  • Expensive advertising rates

TikTok

Despite the controversy over TikTok, the platform continues to grow and attract a wide audience. More popular among Gen Z users than any other demographic, TikTok is an intuitive video app with a high organic engagement rate. In other words, more users are commenting, liking, and sharing content without a company investing advertising dollars. 

How does that compare? TikTok’s engagement rate is 4.25% versus Facebook’s 0.15%. While “free” or organic reach is declining across social media platforms, TikTok provides the highest rate. It is also replacing Google as a search engine among Gen Z. For that reason alone, this social network is worth considering. 

TikTok pros:

  • Strong engagement rates
  • Short videos 
  • Great for Gen Z and Millennials
  • Content can be less polished
  • Skews female

TikTok cons:

  • Faces ban threats
  • More expensive than other platforms
  • Short video only

Twitter

Twitter is another social media network with an uncertain future. After Elon Musk purchased the platform in 2022 and implemented significant changes, many staff and users fled the platform. But some decided to stay. 

On Twitter, you’re likely to see more users between the ages of 25-35 and many in their 40s. ”

In particular, you’re likely to see more users between the ages of 25-35 and many in their 40s. This is in part because Gen Z users prefer Instagram and TikTok. Boomers tend to stick to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

If you prefer short-form writing and interacting with other users over videos and images, Twitter might be the place for you. All you need to get started creating content on this platform are words and your expertise, making it attractive for someone just getting started with social media. 

Twitter pros:

  • Multiple post options
  • Highly conversational 
  • Great for Millennials and Gen X
  • Access to advertising options

Twitter cons:

  • Low engagement rates
  • Lack of content moderation controls
  • Uncertain future following Musk acquisition 

YouTube

YouTube is one of the largest social media platforms in the US, second only to Facebook, and serves a whopping 74% of the population. In fact, the same study shows that usage is generally the same across gender and age. The only significant difference is that YouTube use drops significantly after the age of 54.

In other words, YouTube is an opportunity to reach a vast audience. For medical practices that serve patients from all walks of life — such as chiropractors and therapists — it can be a prime tool to highlight your expertise. 

YouTube pros:

  • Strong engagement rates
  • Short and long videos
  • Good for video SEO
  • Popular with all demographics
  • Access to advertising options

YouTube cons:

  • Higher cost investment
  • Takes time to amass a following 

Jumpstart your social media strategy

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these 15 best medical practice Facebook pages

Download the report
Get the free guide
Unlock the secrets to building a profitable and sustainable healthcare practice with our eBook, "How to Optimize Operations and Increase Margins as You Grow."
Optimize Your Practice for Profitable Growth

You Might Also Be Interested In

75% of people look online to find a doctor. Patients take a critical look at web presence, online business profiles, and reviews when they decide to pick a health provider. Learn where your practice should be online in the Patient Perspectives report.

Subscribe to The Intake:
A weekly check-up for your independent practice

Kelsey Ray Banerjee

Kelsey Ray Banerjee is a professional content writer in the healthcare, marketing, and finance space. She has worked in the back office of a psychiatric practice, and with family members working in mental health for 2 generations, she understands the challenges healthcare professionals face when it comes to marketing and admin. She believes access to efficient healthcare is essential for society’s well-being, and loves being able to write content that can positively impact a practice and its patients.

Get expert tips, guides, and valuable insights for your healthcare practice