The presence of doctors on social media is a little tough to digest upon. Especially when the trust factor stands the test of doubt from general public. Not only that, unless the social media initiatives of the doctor are outsourced, it would be difficult for them to have an updated online presence, squeezed in between their schedule. And even if they do, the whole point of personalization from the doctor is lost!
Shattering all these myths, Dr Ashley Mulamoottil, Medical Director & Chief Surgeon, Mulamoottil Eye Hospital & Research Center at Kozhenchery, Pattanamthitta has made such a strong impact on social media, which would even make marketers green with envy. With a Facebook fan following of over 3 lakh, he has become one of the most famous Malayali on social media.
The idea of using social media has its roots in the many calls he used to get on his hospital phones from patients who had several queries regarding their eye problems. Hence, back in 2006, his team started a section on his website titled “online consultation” but few could avail of this feature as they weren’t aware of the website. But, this posed a serious limitation, he could not deliver an eye care message that would reach to all the persons who had corresponded with him. He also decided against emailing them, as it would cause unnecessary spam. So, Facebook became a workable choice.
[pullquote id = “lhipull” class = “center_lhi”] The obvious choice for mass communication and reach then soon became Facebook in 2009-10. All I had to do was create a page and place a link on my webpage and also on frequently accessed sites like indiavideo.org. We went on to being the most liked Doctor on Facebook and rivaled malayalam superstars in terms of “likes”! [/pullquote]
Communicating on Facebook
On his official Facebook Page, Dr Ashley responds personally to all the queries asked. At the time of writing this story, he had answered almost all the sensible queries asked to him, though he admits it is difficult to answer 200-300 messages a day! Rather than going for general content found on the net, he comes up with content and pointers of his own which would be of importance and value to his audience. Ranging from specific queries on Myopia, astigmatism and cataract to general points on eye care, he shares quality content which is well received from the public.
Take for example this video of a worm attack, that has received more than 20K shares, 2.9K likes and 500 comments. The astounding number itself give us a clear idea on the impact his content is making among the public.
Spreading knowledge through YouTube videos
When someone is utilising Facebook so effectively to increase his own personal brand while providing value to the community, it would be stupid not to expect that Dr Ashley would be using YouTube to its maximum potential. Partnering with one of the Official YouTube Channels of Indiavideo.org (with Invis Multimedia being his Digital Consultants), Dr Ashley is again using the power of quality content to spread his knowledge and treatment methods around.
He explains the various aspects of Ophthalmic surgery and other eye-related concerns via well explained videos. As if that wasn’t enough, he creates the content in both English and Malayalam to cater to both the local and global audience.
“I see video as the future and plan to provide more video based eye care tips as these can be easily shared and thus accessible for a wider audience,” shares Dr. Ashley on his future plans on social media.
Live webinar on eye care
This was something that just made my eyeballs pop out. I have to agree this wasn’t something I would have expected from a doctor in Kerala. Especially in a scenario when even most of the big brands here have failed to realize the importance of social media in brand building and goodwill.
Last year, Dr Ashley conducted a live webinar on eye care. The same was live streamed on Indiavideo.org’s Youtube channel and also on his website. Live questions were invited from the public via a Facebook Plugin installed on the page. Needless to say, the response was so good, the pre-decided one hour event got extended to close to two hours!
Challenges and the road ahead
Along with time being the most important challenge, Dr. Ashley shared that he is seriously limited in the use of social media in a profession like his, where it is unethical and immoral to ‘prescribe medication’ without a personal examination of the patient. But, he can leverage social media for sharing information on preventive eye care, follow up, provide second opinion, guide treatment, etc. The other challenge with social media is its limited access for the elderly population, but the doctor shares that they would make their kids write to him!
Apart from more videos in his future plans, Dr. Ashley wants to create a health channel online where he can upload videos on topics like “general health care” , explain and de-mystify “surgical procedures” in addition to “explaining and showing how common medical tests are done”. The channel will feature several experts in various fields of medicine who are willing to spend a bit of time creating awareness and not expecting any monetary or other tangible material benefit.
“I plan on interacting with these experts “on camera” and provide videos of the same for public viewing, downloading or embedding,” shares the excited doctor for his online health channel.
The Indian market is still in a scenario where quality use of social media as an engagement platform is rarely seen. A personalized touch to your online voice and pure content that provides value to your target audience is all you need to make a strong presence. Not a marketing budget of millions, as proved by this doctor!
Do you have any other similar examples of people, not exactly from the “business” field, make their mark on social media? Would love to hear about them. Please do let me know in the comments below.