Developing a strong social media presence for your practice isn’t as quick, simple, or easy as you may assume. But then again, neither is baking a three layer cake with vanilla buttercream icing. But both, when done correctly, can be tools to help bring communities together, and build connections.
To bake a cake you wouldn’t just start with whatever you had on hand. No, you would need a recipe. The same can be said for building a social media presence. You wouldn’t start by just posting at random, sharing whatever content you feel like. Instead you strategize, plan, and use a trusted guide...ie a recipe...to jump-start the development process of your social media presence. Experts in the culinary world will tell you that every good recipe comes in three parts, each part is an essential segment that leads to a successful end result, a cake, or in this case...the starting point for the social media presence of your practice.
The first part to our recipe is the "List of Ingredients." While the cake may have things like eggs, milk, or sugar, our social media presence comes with a slightly different list.
Developing a Basic Social Media Presence
- Professional profile photo, can be an appropriately sized company logo or image.
- Correctly sized cover photo for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
- Current business information, contact information, address, phone number, open hours, etc. Each platform is going to be different, just check ahead of time and make sure you fill out as much as possible.
- Individualized web address for each platform. (Example: facebook.com/solutionreach).
- Link to your website.
Social Media Presence
- Branded content across network, easily recognizable imagery and color elements.
- Industry experts and trusted resources to share/connect with.
- Consistent posting of value added creative.
- Creative use of video and images.
- Participation in Industry related conversation through hashtags and trends.
There are, of course, other ingredients available to add to your social media presence. While they may not be a part of this recipe...they may be in the future.
The second step to our baking activity is the core aspect of the process. The "Preparation." We know the recipe for our cake may call for eggs...but without this section, how are we to know that the whites are separated from the yolks during the preparation of the buttercream? These ingredients would be useless without knowing just how to best execute with them.
To continue to develop our basic social media presence we will need to get started first with the profile basics.
Step 1: Start with the profile picture, making sure that at least 60 percent of it is directly related to your practice. This can be of the staff, the provider, or of a small version of your logo. Once your profile photo is up to date, follow the same process and update your cover photo.
*If updating on Facebook, you can also update the cover photo to a small video.
Step 2: Go through the entire profile of the platform you are setting up and fill in as much information as possible where applicable. The Facebook page will have the most sections, including a section for a company/practice “story." If you have a simple background story of the founding of your practice, then this is a great place to share that and create a connection with your patients. Make sure that the hours, contact info, website, and platform web address are updated before you leave your profile.
Social Media Presence
Step 1: Content is everything. Create content that reaches out and engages your patients, helping to create a community on your social media pages. Build trust through consistent and regular posting, this can be one to three times daily at times you determine via Facebook, or up to eight times on Twitter.
Step 2: Mix it up using various forms of content. Try a poll, a slideshow, an infographic, sharing an article from an industry expert, a blog post, engaging through gifs and memes. Keep your patients involved by coming up with campaigns that feature THEM. Share their photos with their permission and tag them in the image so that the patients not only see the value, but also feel it.
We have the ingredients we need, we followed steps to prep the profile and the presence...and we are ready to share. So share! The last and final step of our social media recipe is the most fulfilling: Give your patients a slice of your social media by telling them about it. Encourage them to follow and engage with you on your social media platforms. Ask for reviews, have contests, post signs in your practice. But don’t give up. Social media is a process, and like baking, it is more of a science than guesswork, use the tools you have and check out this handy guide for more info.
P.S. I couldn't help but include a link to one of my favorite cakes! It's vanilla with buttercream. Yum! Enjoy!