Shine on social media like ModaMD: Real World Ophthalmology

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An overview of Jesse Berry’s advice for starting and growing a social media account

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/escapejaja)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/escapejaja)

Whether you’re a seasoned ophthalmologist passionate about educating on a large scale or a medical student aspiring to share your journey on a public platform, social media is a great way to connect! In today’s virtual world, social media has allowed so many of us to explore interests and build relationships, both professional and personal.

3 Takeaways to Start a Social Media Account

  1. Have a clear goal
  2. Be intentional about your audience
  3. Use measurable outcomes to track your progress

Real World Ophthalmology recently released a podcast with ocular oncologist Jesse Berry, the mastermind behind the well-known Instagram account, @_moda_md, with over 80 thousand followers and growing. In this episode titled “How to be a Shooting Star (Not a Falling one) on Social Media,” Berry highlights several aspects to consider for medical professionals interested in establishing a social media presence. We outline some of her main points here but be sure to listen to the full episode for detailed tips to navigate social media!

What are the benefits of social media?

Social media has the potential to fulfill various capacities. It is a unique avenue to spread information and share your life with young and aspiring physicians and students. It can serve as a professional springboard to garner patients for your practice. Berry finds social media to be an exciting platform to mentor and educate professionals at earlier stages in training as well as the general public.

The Three Pillars for Anyone Starting a Social Media Account

Be clear about what you are trying to accomplish on social media.

What’s your goal? Is it to educate? Is it to share your life? Is it to get patients into your practice? This will help establish your purpose and space on the platform.

Be intentional about your audience and who follows you.

For example, if your goal is to engage and direct new patients to your practice but most of your followers are friends and family, it might be difficult to expand your practice. Hashtags can be very helpful to reach your target audience if used correctly, as Berry explains in the podcast episode. Be aware that there will likely be people who you do not know viewing your content.

Use metrics that you can review and track your progress.

Metrics are important in the growth stage when you are working toward your goal. You can use strict measures, such as Instagram’s metrics, or softer gauges of growth, with numbers of comments, likes, and followers. Once you reach a point of satisfaction with the size of your audience, you may prioritize retaining followers and engagement.

Tips for Content Creation

Having multiple, high-quality posts that are ready to be released ahead of time can make things much easier when you start. This will ensure that you are meeting your goals for post frequency and schedule.

You may require less planning for your posts over time as you get accustomed to the platform and become comfortable in your space.

Utilizing new and fresh content ideas will keep your account relevant and popular.

On days that you are feeling more creative, take multiple photos and videos to save in a folder for use on days when you have less inspiration.

Allot more time for educational content, as it typically takes longer to create with multiple rounds of editing and reviewing required.

Number of Platforms: Quantity vs. Quality

Each platform has its own pros and cons, and Berry’s advice is to pick one or two platforms to dedicate your time to. Many physicians and students have recently thrived on Instagram, which has multi-modal capabilities of photo, video, text captions, direct message, and more. “MedTwitter” tends to foster a more formal interactive style for people to share accomplishments and recent research findings. TikTok is an avenue for fast growth with an algorithm that suggests videos for viewers, but this growth may not be as sustainable as other platforms with traditional following feeds.

These tips apply to anyone at any stage in their career interested in pursuing social media on a large scale.

Listen to the full Real World Ophthalmology episode on Spotify, Apple podcast, Cast box or on realworldophthalmology.com for more detailed tips from Berry on using hashtags effectively, working with brands, and more.
Meghana Chalasani is a third-year medical student at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Tune in to the Real World Ophthalmology Podcast to learn from the experts in the field. Real World Ophthalmology is a platform made for and by early career ophthalmologists and trainees to enhance education and practice.
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