Why is social media important?
A huge swath of the 240 million social media users in the U.S. turn to social media for health advice and advice about specific practitioners.
- In a survey by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group, 41% of respondents said that social media would affect their specific choice of doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
- In a Mediabistro study, more than 40% of consumers said that information obtained through social media affects the way they deal with their health.
How to approach social media marketing as a medical practice:
1. Put someone in charge of it.
Social media should be a major part of your marketing effort. You need someone capable and dedicated working on it. If no one in your practice’s staff has time, you can always hire an outsider with expertise.
2. Choose the right social media platforms.
Choosing the right social platform depends on your specific social media marketing goals. Facebook and Twitter get the most medical engagement among the major social media platforms. If your main social goal is to get new patients and keep patients informed, Facebook is the right platform. If your goal is to be a thought leader, Twitter is the right platform. Also, Facebook has more users than all other social networks combined, and over 65% of people over 65 use Facebook. Only 10% of people over 65 use Twitter.
3. Make your social media goals S.M.A.R.T.
Tangible social media marketing goals align with your overall marketing and business goals. All your social media goals should have the following five attributes:
- Time Bound
Here are two examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Broad Goal: To obtain more patients by providing responsive online services.
- Specific Goal: At the start of this quarter, our practice will roll out a Facebook Chatbot to answer users’ general health questions and sign them up to our email list. We will add 25% of the prospective patients we interact with to our email list.
- Specific Goal: Our practice will hire an online reputation management firm that will make sure we receive more positive Facebook business reviews. Our goal will be to have a least 10 five-star reviews by the end of the quarter.
Measure success with relevant metrics.
Relevant is the most difficult attribute on the S.M.A.R.T. list. Marketing metrics are very important to measuring success. But some metrics aren’t accurate measures. For instance, imagine an orthopedic surgeon practice that publishes a piece about a type of knee surgery for injured athletes. The piece receives a lot of shares on Facebook.
While shares are good for the practice’s social media exposure, they don’t have any direct value. Conversions and click-throughs, on the other hand, bring patients to your practice. When prospective patients click on calls-to-action like ‘schedule appointment’ buttons and ‘subscribe’ buttons (to newsletters, email updates, etc.), they are a step closer to becoming your patients.
Post Compelling Content Consistently
Keep your audience engaged by posting compelling content consistently. An engaged audience likes and shares your content and visits your website more often. Keep in mind that today’s social sharer or website visitor is tomorrow’s patient and or referrer. Create compelling and fresh content with images, infographics, and video.
Mix it up by posting informational content, questions and polls, case studies, relevant quotes, and anything else that’s valuable to your audience.
Providing potential patients with tips and informational content in their social feed from a medical expert will save them a few search engine trips. A further benefit to posting great content is that you build your credibility in your field.
Add the Human Element
Patients, future patients, and others can connect with you when you respond to their comments or meet them on Facebook messenger or another platform’s messaging.
And you can show that your practice is involved with the local community by posting photos and information about it.
This could be posts about your practice’s charity work, sponsorship, or participation at local events like October fests.
And you can show your practice’s friendly staff in profile pictures and or event and holiday pictures (at office party or other events).
Connect with Other Medical Practices
Social media relationships reflect in-person social relationships. Your social media relationships are grown by connecting with other medical practices in your field. A healthy network of social media accounts strengthens your reputation with your audience. The more you like, comment on, and share content other practices post, the more likes, comments, and shares they will give you.
Don’t Be Too Salesy
Build brand awareness, but always offer valuable content that engages and informs. In your social posts, Try to mix it up. Don’t fall into the trap of posting ads all the time. And make sure your content gives value first. For example, include calls-to-action at the bottom of your blog posts.
Maximize the Impact of Your Posts
Cross-promote your content across all your social platforms if you have more than one. Post preview blurbs containing short summaries or key snippets from the articles, blog posts, or other content, along with links. Post content that’s relevant to your audience’s demographics. For example, a pain treatment practice’s Facebook audience is mostly over age fifty. A blog post about lower back pain will be much more likeable and shareable than one about managing arthritis.
Optimize Your Social Profiles
Like your business listings, all your social profiles should include a consistent name, telephone number, hours, address, and logo across your social media accounts. This avoids confusion for those who need to locate or contact you.