Today, social media is a necessity for all small business owners, including medical practices. As a healthcare professional, the question of how to increase patient volume in medical practice is a big consideration. With 2 billion active monthly users , social media platforms such as Facebook are crucial to help you reach patients where they spend time online.
We explore useful tips and best practices for social media marketing, to help you attract new patients and engage your existing community.
Essential Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing For Medical Practices
1. Define Your Goals and Choose Your Platforms.
With the plethora of social media platforms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – but it all comes down to being clear about what goals you want to achieve from your social media marketing, and choosing the right channels to reach them.
Social media for physicians will vary from those for dentists, physios, or specialists. If you want to be perceived as a thought leader or connect to the industry, engage with professionals and publications on Twitter or LinkedIn; if you’re a medical centre looking to gain new patients , choose Facebook.
And while it’s not a traditional social media platform, be sure to list your business on Google+. G+ helps boost your SEO, and having a profile also helps potential followers see your brand as more professional when they search for you on Google or emails you via Gmail.
2. Always Bring Value To Your Community.
The best way to establish a trustworthy reputation for your medical practice on social media is to always bring value to your patients and give them a reason to follow you.
Adding value can be as simple as sharing information about current illnesses going around, reminding patients of essential vaccinations, giving tips on how to stay healthy, or updating them on practice news such as opening hours or staff changes.
Tone of voice is also important for your social media marketing. Remember your audience and speak to them: try to avoid jargon, and keep your posts concise – the ideal Facebook post length is 40 characters while on Twitter you have up to 140.
3. Be Timely, and Consistent.
Social media is all about engaging with the right audience on the right platform, at the right time. Your Facebook post will get 75 percent of its total potential engagement within the first 5 hours of posting , and for Twitter it’s less than 3 – so it’s crucial you time your posts well to reach as many people as possible.
- Best time to post on Twitter: Twitter users mostly use the platforms during breaks and commutes, with the optimal tweet times being 12pm, 3pm, and between 5-6pm.
- Best time to post on Facebook: Facebook users are typically more active later on in the week, with engagement being 18% higher on Thursday and Friday, and 32 percent higher on weekends.
- Best time to post on LinkedIn: as a business tool, LinkedIn users are frequently online in the middle of the working week. The best times to post are between Tuesday – Thursday, between 7-8am, at midday, and at 5-6pm.(Source here )
Remember: these figures are a guideline only. Once you build your community, it’s important to delve into your data (via Audience Insights on Facebook, Twitter Analytics , or Company Page Analytics on LinkedIn) to see what time your audience is online.
4. Engage with the Right Organizations.
When it comes to attracting new patients using social media marketing, other organization accounts can help you expand your reach to a relevant audience; similarly, your community will find value in their content. Share any community updates, such as disease awareness days, or spread the word on your own fundraising activities and community events. Don’t forget to tag the respective organizations as well, so they can potentially repost your content.
5. Encourage Reviews.
According to recent studies, 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. Online reviews also help boost your SEO. Online reviews are today’s word-of-mouth, and are essential if you want your practice to be trusted by new patients.
To build up your reviews, include a reminder in all your aspects of communication to current patients, whether it’s a block at the bottom of your email newsletters, an incentive on a business card, or a flyer in your reception.
6. Be Consistent.
Social media is an ongoing investment, and requires regular upkeep to keep your community engaged. Maintaining your post frequency, tone of voice, and consistently encouraging reviews will help solidify your practice’s positive and helpful reputation online.
Work smart: free tools such as Hootsuite offer dashboards where you can see all your channels at a glance, and schedule your posts in advance. You can also work with your team to set up guidelines and a roster where a different member takes over the social media each week.
Over To You
Effective digital marketing is critical to growing your medical practice, and social media is a core part of this. With the right platforms and consistent posting, your social media channels will help expand your practice’s presence online.
What are your tips for medical social media marketing?