Establishing and maintaining a social media presence for your practice across multiple platforms can be challenging, let alone maintaining even just one. Maybe you only have a Facebook practice profile, maybe you became comfortable enough with that and decided to explore the world of Twitter. Or maybe you are really bold, or perhaps more social savvy, and have ventured out to promote your practice via Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
Maybe you are satisfied with the number of followers you are acquiring every day, but if your posts are not reaching any of them, then what is the point? You are working hard to put quality content out there, but for some reason it just isn’t producing the results you had hoped for.
Regardless of where you are at in your knowledge, experience or level of activity with social media, it is certainly not uncommon for a social media manager to become frustrated at some point and feel that the time invested in this activity is a complete and utter waste. Despite all their hard work, they aren’t attracting a consistent number of followers each week, or maybe they feel that their posts aren’t getting the number of likes, clicks, or shares they were hoping for. So how can you get more people to click that ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ button and look to you as the industry expert when they have a question regarding their health? What type of content will keep current and potential patients from scrolling right through your posts? Let’s take a look.
Why are your fans and followers not engaging with your posts?
Well, the most obvious answer is they do not contain the information your audience needs or is looking for, or maybe the posts are just flat out uninteresting! Since it is likely one of the two scenarios is the reason you aren’t experiencing the success you had been hoping for by becoming active on social media, here are some tips that will encourage people from scrolling past your posts or becoming a new fan (and potential patient) of yours.
- Know How to Use the Platform! If you aren’t following social media etiquette, because you are either uneducated about protocol or are just someone who likes to do it ‘your way’, then it is likely that your post engagement will be perceived as amateur or annoying. You should also be mindful that your main post for the day not be exactly the same across all of your platforms, (should you be using more than one.) For example, you will want to add your hashtags to your Instagram and Twitter posts, but typically more than one hashtag on Facebook can cause your post to look cluttered.
- Know Your Audience. It seems like it would be common sense to post information, articles, etc. that are relevant to your audience, but this is a concept that is commonly overlooked or doesn’t even occur to the staff member in charge of your social media content. It stands to reason that if the majority of your followers are of an older demographic as opposed to young parents, or largely female rather than male, that the majority of your posts include information that is pertinent to their age, situation, lifestyle, etc. Obviously, all of your posts aren’t going to appeal to every single patient or potential patient, but if you are familiar with the main demographic of your followers and post information largely relevant to them, then you will may start to see an increase in your social media engagement. As your audience expands and your demographic possibly becomes more diverse, so should your posts.
- Use Pictures, Photos or Other Images. If the majority of your posts consist of what you may think are interesting statements or facts, then you may begin to understand why you aren’t generating more interest in your social media content. Including a link or video will definitely boost your number of clicks, but research has shown that 87% of Facebook posts shared in 2014 included some type of image. Post real live snapshots of your staff members in action, inside as well as outside of the office so that your patients can get to know you better, which can strengthen your patient relationships. There are also image editing apps available that will allow you to customize your own images with messages and a color scheme that allows you to stay consistent with your practice branding.
- Don’t Leave Your Patients Hanging! If a patient comments on a post or sends you a message via one of your social media platforms, be sure to respond in a timely manner. This shows that you are being attentive to the things they are interested in, which will build trust and encourage them to engage more regularly, which can directly impact and improve patient retention as well as allows your practice to be more visible to the friends or fans of your patients. Pay special attention to any messages you may receive through your social media outlets. Many people are becoming more comfortable with communication through social media, and it’s not a secret many people spend a significant amount of time in this space, so it may be more convenient for them to ask you a question or make a suggestion through social media messaging. If it looks like it may take some time to look into their issue or give them an answer to their question, send them a quick message letting them know you will get back to them as soon as you can!
- Have a Social Media Drawing or Give Away. Everyone loves free stuff! Promote your give away in the office and online. Telling your patients about it during their visit may encourage them to get connected to you online if they aren’t already which is a good way to boost your number of followers. And of course, announce the drawing, entry deadline and prize or prizes to be won on all of your channels. Make sure to use a free randomizer to pick your winner to ensure the outcome is fair. After your winner has been chosen and comes in to claim their prize, make sure to get a picture of them with their loot and then post it to your social media platforms! This could be another great strategy for improving patient acquisition as the friends of your followers will see the cool stuff your practice does and just may want to check you out!
- Don’t Bombard Them With Salesy Posts. The sure-fire way to scare off your fans and followers is to constantly post advertisements about your practice, or posts that feel like they are getting a sales pitch. Mix it up by posting fun facts that may or may not be relevant to your area of expertise. Just make sure they are interesting and something you have possibly found yourself wanting to know more about. Remember they are people and more importantly friends, so treat them as such. It’s okay to post a special you may be running now and then–people are always looking for ways to save money–but just make sure that’s what it feels like to them…a gift you are giving them!
- Ask Questions That Invite Feedback? Yes! Let your patients know you value their opinion. Getting feedback about your practice via automated patient surveys is great, but asking questions where a lot of people seem to be spending their time these days is a great way to encourage engagement and build your patient relationships. This question could be serious or fun. Mix it up. You could ask them what their current health concerns may be that you could provide guidance or information about to set their mind at ease or offer support or solutions for. You may want to avoid asking questions about your service or their office experience here, as you may have some disgruntled patients who decides to voice their opinion for everyone to see and you may find yourself needing to make some social media apologies. Rather, you could ask them what ideas they have for healthy dinners or even ask what their favorite movie is that is currently in theaters if you wanna keep it on the lighter side. Again, you may want to consider your demographic as you try to be creative here.
- Ask and You Shall Receive. People want to help people. So ask your patients to spread the word about your practice. Or invite them from time to time to share one of your posts. Just be mindful how often you do this. As long as patient satisfaction is high and your patients feel valued, they won’t have any problem telling their friends and family about your practice and how awesome you and your staff are. You could offer a discount on future services for each person they refer to your practice. And don’t forget to encourage your patients to share special practice events, (such as the drawing or give away) or an open house, etc.
Have fun! Connecting with people and seeing how your posts engage and impact your followers should be fun. Try not to be too focused on the numbers if they are not where you hoped they would be. Building a social media following takes time. Just be consistent and follow these tips and you are sure to see practice growth and success!