There are a lot of situations in life where less is more. But not when it comes to your medical practice’s social media presence.
According to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by the Social Media Examiner, 90% of marketers said social media is important to their organizations. With that many businesses and practices using social media, you better believe you need to think long and hard about how you are going to stand out. If you only post once in awhile, have boring posts, or don’t think strategically about engaging with your audience, your practice will get lost online.
To stand out, you must take marketing your medical practice on social media seriously. This means being on several platforms, posting multiple times a day, and effectively utilizing social media advertising. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Cast a Wider Net to Drive Traffic Back to Your SiteWe’re not going to tell you to be on ALL of the social media platforms. However, we are going to tell you to be on all of the platforms that your current and potential customers are on. If there is an opportunity to raise awareness, attract interest, and develop relationships, we highly encourage you to create a strong presence on that social media platform.
The more platforms you are on (and that you manage well), the more exposure your practice will have. Not to mention, each platform is best used for different types of content! According to the Social Media Examiner report, “The top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic.” A whopping 89% of marketers surveyed stated that their social media presence generated more exposure for their businesses/practices.
Twitter:While there have been some rumblings about the relevance of Twitter, it is still alive and well. Twitter is a platform for you to share your opinion, offer insight, and share helpful links that relate to your practice. Given that you are limited to 140 characters per post, you will need to keep your messages short and to the point. The other thing with Twitter is that you need to post often and consistently. A tweet’s lifespan is less than a matter of hours, so don’t be afraid to repost the same message multiple times during the day/week.
Facebook:Facebook is known as the workhorse of social media platforms. The Social Media Examiner report states that “Facebook is the most important social network for marketers by a long shot! When asked to select their most important platform, 55% of marketers chose Facebook.”
While the platform gets some flack for its ever-changing algorithms, it is still the ideal social media platform for creating local posts and generating blog traffic. However, to get the most traction on Facebook, you need to invest some dollars into Facebook advertising. As with all social media platforms, it is important you post often and consistently on Facebook. As a medical practice, this means you need to post five to eight times per week. If you’re interested in creating more of a community around your practice, you could even create a private Facebook group where patients can ask questions, chat with each other, etc.
LinkedIn:LinkedIn may not have been one of the top social media platforms you thought of when thinking about promoting your medical practice. However, in today’s world, people want to check references and ensure they are making an informed decision - particularly when it comes to their health! By having a professional and complete LinkedIn profile, you can strategically build your professional reputation.
People will be able to connect with you or simply view your profile to see your level of experience. You can also use LinkedIn to build your professional network within the medical industry. If you’d like, there is also LinkedIn Pulse where you can write original blog posts, as well as LinkedIn Company Pages where you can create a page for your practice. This page allows you to post before and after pictures, share testimonials, post videos, share blog posts, etc. This is another way to push people to your website.
Instagram:The Social Media Examiner states that “B2C marketers are significantly more likely (63%) to increase Instagram activities than B2B marketers (48%). The fact is, Instagram is a fantastic way for you to connect with current and potential patients. Because many medical practices have yet to use this platform, you have a unique opportunity to beat the crowd and showcase your personality, build relationships, and meet new people. The key is to offer value, answer questions, and be authentic.
When someone visits your Instagram profile, they should get a sense of what it would be like if they were one of your patients. Take this opportunity to share quality pictures, introduce your team, and position yourself as an industry expert. Ideally, you should post on Instagram one to three times a day during the business week. Instagram ads are also on the rise and are a great way to target a specific audience.
Pinterest:If you are hoping to drive traffic to your website and you have quality content to share, Pinterest is a helpful resource. Pinterest allows you to share content directly from your practice’s website and makes your content easy to search. Make sure you write clear and focused descriptions, use quality vertical photos, and share links that work!
Pinterest is not a platform that you have to worry too much about when or how often you are posting, but as with all social media platforms, it is important to post regularly and consistently! To improve your patient’s experience, don’t create too many boards and be sure to keep your boards organized and relevant (ie: Don’t have multiple boards with one post related to the topic or create boards that have random topics like traveling).
YouTube:Video continues to grow in relevance and appeal for medical practices. YouTube is a way for you to create a channel where your current and potential patients can come to learn more about your practice, staff, and procedures. When linked to your website, YouTube is a strong supporter of SEO and can significantly boost traffic and engagement. By sharing your videos on social media, you will offer your audience a variety of content types which will also enhance their experience.
While video is one of those things where more is more, it’s understandable if you can’t produce a high-quality video every week. Creating an engaging and professional video once a month or once a quarter will be well worth your time. Just be sure to share it multiple times on all of your social media platforms and even send it out via email.
Posting StrategyBefore you can go about posting multiple posts a day, it is important to develop a strategy of what you should post and when. There is still a fear among practitioners that posting multiple times a day on a platform will come across as spammy. But the truth is, with the complex algorithms of all social media platforms, even those who are actively following your account are not guaranteed to see every post you share! To get the most out of your social media platform, we recommend doing two things:
Try Different Types of Posts:While we want you to post multiple times a day, that doesn’t mean you have to post the SAME post or even the same TYPE of post throughout the day. There are many different types of posts you can share throughout the span of one day: photos, quotes, before and after comparisons, infographics, blog posts, videos, tips, meet the staff, FAQ, etc. While you want your posts to be unique and visually engaging, make sure they are consistent with your brand (ie: don’t use seven different colors and five different fonts.)
Try Different Times of Day:The truth of the matter is, your patients are on social media at different times of the day. While the process of finding the best time to post is trial and error, your analytics tools will help you make informed decisions. Keep in mind that your patients may be more likely to look for a new medical practice over lunch, in the evenings, or on the weekends. Pay attention to when they interact with your posts and then schedule your content during those times. Don’t be afraid to mix it up every once in awhile!
More Social Media Advertising = More Traffic to Your Site = More LeadsOne thing is for sure in the digital marketing space - the more money and time you invest in quality and targeted social media advertising, the more quality traffic will be sent to your site. The result? More leads. While we would all like to believe that you don’t have to pay to play, the truth is, you do. The key is to keep your advertising efforts focused and specific. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to advertise on social media.
Boost Posts on Facebook & Instagram:Once you have given a post a couple of days to maximize its organic reach (and it has done well) it is a smart idea to boost that post by using the “boost post” feature. By boosting a post, you have the opportunity to select how many people you want to reach, how long you want it to run, and who your ideal audience is. The objective is to get your content in front of more people.
Create Facebook/Instagram Ads:When you need to generate interest in a particular event or special, a great option is to run a Facebook or Instagram ad. This content would be much more focused than a general post, would have a very specific goal, and call to action. You get to choose how much you want to spend, who your target audience is, and you have access to in-depth analytics on the campaign’s results. Keep your ads visually appealing and use compelling content.
Whether you’re currently using social media for your medical practice or if you’re still researching which platforms to pursue, take our advice - more is more. Position your practice as an industry expert and a trusted resource on as many platforms as possible. Keep in mind where your audience hangs out, what type of content is most relevant to them, and how often you can realistically post. Use the information you collect to create meaningful posts that will direct current and potential patients back to your website. Make sure you maximize your content by resharing it and even running ads!