In my opinion Google+ is THE social media platform for Doctors and medical professionals that want to grow their Practice's online presence. If for some reason you and your Practice is not on Google+, get there now.
So how can you make Google+ work for you? These simple fundamentals are not designed to teach one how to use Google+, but to help it grow your Practice.
BECOME A GOOGLE+ USER
This is number one on the charts because it is many times the most overlooked. Google+ is a true social network. Google+ users are the most interactive amongst all the platforms and they are using Google+ to share ideas and build relationships. Google+ users do not want another company pushing product down their throats, they have Facebook for that. They crave shares and ideas as much as you do. So build circles, join communities, and engage with other like-minded users. Be sure to leave comments and hand out well-deserved +1's. You will find that as you engage with others, others will engage with you and your Practice.
FORMAT YOUR GOOGLE+ POSTS
When done right, your Google+ posts will help with your your Practice's SEO and ranking. With this in mind it is important to format your posts in a way that makes Google happy. Dustin Stout provides a great infographic (see image right) that lays out the fundamentals of a great Google+ post better than I could ever explain.
Remember this is Google's brain-child so content is still king. While Stout's infographic gives you the basic blueprints of laying out a post, you still need to provide the backbone of good, engaging content.
USE CREATIVE IMAGES
Using the right photo or image in your post is crucial in engaging users. The image doesn't always have to represent the content, but it shouldn't be too far off either. There are a ton of resources out there to obtain high-quality, professional images and photos. Here are a few you can't go wrong with:
CROSS UTILIZE THE +1 BUTTON
The key to successful Google+ utilization is a solid strategy. With any social media you should ask yourself, what exactly am I doing here? Most Practices use Google+ as a way to drive traffic to their website or blog. In this case, the utilization of embedding a +1 button on your website and/or blog is very important.
A +1 click on your Practice's website results in two very beneficial promotions for your Practice. First, it will share the article and website with the users followers, and secondly, it tells Google that this page has merit (how much merit is up to Google).
Google is constantly merging it's local search results with Google+ businesses. Google+ Local is a continuous work in progress for Google, but it has two purposes very important to Independent medical practices - to help Practices increase their online visibility, and to help others find, connect, and review local area businesses.
More than likely your Practice is already on Google Local pages. If this is the case it is important that you claim it and verify it as soon as possible.
Google+ is a key resource to the online success of your Practice, and should be a major focus to every medical professionals marketing strategy.