Live streaming on social media another tool to reach patients, families
Angela C.Mattke, M.D., FAAP
Mastering the Media
Ever-increasing numbers of parents and children are getting pediatric health information
via social media. As a result, their medical information is coming from friends, acquaintances
and celebrities. Why not have it come from you?
As a board-certified pediatric provider, you are uniquely positioned to leverage social
media to educate others about important pediatric health issues such as evidence-based
treatment, vaccination, child safety or other areas you are passionate about.
Live video streaming platforms on social media allow pediatric providers to reach
beyond the clinic and engage with patients and caregivers wherever they take a mobile
phone. Facebook Live is one such platform that affords great opportunity to share
your voice and hopefully improve both individual and community health.
Launched in 2016, Facebook Live allows you to schedule and promote broadcasts, then
livestream them to a wide-ranging and engaged audience. Facebook Live is more than
just a one way flow of information. Rather, viewers can pose questions and provide
feedback in real time.
With Facebook Live, pediatricians can meet with patients and families where they are and when they are able. Using your social media follower base or your medical institution’s,
if available, will allow you to target your distribution. Additionally, Facebook Live
videos are archived on Facebook and can be viewed and shared after the live broadcast.
If the real-time aspect of Facebook Live is daunting, you could record common and
generalizable discussions held with patients such as anticipatory guidance, flu season
information or safety tips. Once recorded, videos could be archived on a personal
or institutional Facebook page and shared with patients as appropriate.
Before embarking on a Facebook Live show, consider the following to increase the likelihood
Create a regular time and schedule for your show.
Tell viewers ahead of time. Create Facebook Events and write a compelling description
about your topic and show.
Promote your live video on multiple social media platforms to increase engagement.
Choose topics that will engage your audience and provide valuable education. Consider
following a monthly theme advocating for pediatric health.
Be prepared. Create an outline of key points and questions.
Stay on the subject and stay positive. Some viewer questions may be off topic, controversial
or even intended to troll you, especially on topics such as immunizations or public
Ask your viewers to follow you and receive notifications when you go live.
Consider bringing a guest expert to help you review the topic.
Greet your viewers and respond to their questions and comments by name.
Make sure you have a strong internet connection and no institutional firewall blocking
Medical research has shown that strong, consistent recommendations by a trusted health
care provider can increase the likelihood of compliance with the recommendations.
By amplifying your voice through live broadcasts on social media, you not only increase
the likelihood of reaching your own patients, but you also may positively impact people
you will never meet.
Dr. Mattke is a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media. For over two
years, she has hosted a biweekly show called #AsktheMayoMom on Mayo Clinic’s Facebook