Do you still struggle with embracing the idea that social media is the most impactful way to market your practice? Do you really understand what type of content you should or should not include in your posts, tweets, blog entries, etc.?
Maintaining a social media presence that is engaging and interesting to your fans and followers can be challenging. But it is critical that you do–it’s the way the majority of your patients are communicating and finding information.
Before you jump in, if you are new to social media marketing or need to brush up on the basics and do’s and don’ts, you will want to refer to the elements of Social Media Etiquette 101.
Understanding and practicing even the basics of social media marketing will help you create a more dynamic and unique online presence, while improving conversion and page rank on Google– and ultimately your digital-footprint.
Your ability to communicate and market effectively to your patients is the key to the success of any professional services business–particularly in today’s digital world. As you attempt to engage your patients on a consistent basis, you should establish different objectives you would like to address and gear each post individually to accomplish them.
The first rule of thumb for social media marketing is to never go solo. If you want to do it right, your best chance at being most effective in the social media realm would be to make it a team effort. Secondly, every piece of content you post should not try to accomplish every business or marketing goal. So what type of content is most intriguing to your patients? What types of things do they want to hear from you in order to keep them engaged in between visits to your office to ensure loyalty and encourage them to stay on top of their health?
The 6 Characteristics of Great Content
1. It Is Engaging. Your patients are real people who like to have fun, smile, be uplifted, have interesting conversations. Keep it real. Mix up your promotional practice posts with a fun contest offering a reward for guessing how many M&Ms are in the container. Post a funny picture, saying, or story about the doctor or a staff member. Or maybe just share an inspiring ”quote of the day.”
2. It Provides Value. Share educational posts that your patients would find interesting or can see a direct benefit from. Discuss topics like: “What to do if you experience pain or discomfort in the hours or days that follow your visit” or “Facts about your follow up care you should know.” These types of posts will keep your patients engaged in between visits and they will begin to view you as a source of credible and interesting information.
3. It Shares Practice Culture. Let people see the culture of your office and staff outside the office as well as inside. For example, if the staff takes an afternoon to go get their nails done as a bonding experience, (or maybe they actually like to be around each other outside the office,) post a picture of it! Allow your patients to connect with you as individuals and friends as well as their service provider.
4. It Boosts Clout. A great post can boost clout for your practice which comes with positive results. When you poise your practice as a credible and useful source of information you will increase your company’s search engine and social media clout which in turn will raise the company higher in results when compared to your competitors. In addition, your ability to provide impactful information as opposed to hype and promotion will be directly related to your growth and success over time.
5. It Demonstrates Passion. A great post should reflect what you and your employees are passionate about with regard to your desire to serve your patients provide a positive experience for them every time they visit. This will cultivate feelings of trust, loyalty and appreciation for what you do for them every day. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have on your patients and practice.
6. It Strengthens Relationships. Your most effective posts will be those that invite two-way communication. If a patient asks a question, take the opportunity to engage with them by providing an answer to their question for everyone. Include your patients in your posts as much as possible (with permission of course.) As a general rule of thumb, try to include a client in at least one out of every six pieces of content you post.
What if your patients are posting “selfies” while at their appointment? Is liability an issue? How do you ensure you are staying HIPAA compliant with sensitive patient information that could be within camera view?
This is a legitimate concern. However, you should always be aware of the information showing on screens, white boards, or sitting on tables, clipboards, and other surfaces. Treat them with care and privacy, keeping all records out of view at all times, regardless of the concern with “selfies” or other office photos that could be taken. On the flip side, a patient who snaps a picture of him or herself while in your office receiving treatment is making the choice to put his/her privacy at risk of others seeing.
What if your patients are posting negative comments on your social media outlets? Knowing how to respond can certainly be a challenge but be sure not to let your emotions overcome you and allow yourself to say something you could regret. Stop…take a deep breath…and refer to the conflict resolution suggestions in Social Media Apologies 101 Part 1 and Part 2 .
As you jump into understanding the impact that an effective social media marketing strategy can have on your practice, just remember: Even more important than the quality of your service is your ability to communicate with your patients how and where they are communicating. Conveying your expertise and passion for what you do for your patients every day is what will determine the ultimate success of your practice social media.
*For more ideas and strategies on what and how to post on a variety of social media platforms that would best fit your practice and give your practice that competitive edge, check out this webinar.