Social media marketing has become extremely important for businesses of all sizes across all industries. Social media marketing for medical practices is no exception. However, the nature of your business and the people you are communicating with will have a massive impact on how you approach social media marketing and the different networks you set up accounts on. After all, creating viral videos may be the aim for retailers, but it certainly shouldn’t be your target as a medical professional; that’s for sure. That said, we have put together this guide to reveal everything you need to know about social media marketing in the healthcare sector.
Why Social Media Marketing?
Before we go into social media marketing for medical practices, it is first important to establish why this is important for medical practices and doctors today. One of the main reasons social media has become such a popular and important tool for doctors and medical practices, in general, is because it enables you to demonstrate your commitment to your patients. Today, patients expect high levels of service from their medical providers, just like they do in any other industry. As service providers across many different sectors use social media to engage with people digitally, this type of communication has become the norm. If you are not active on social media, it can give the impression that your medical practice is behind the times.
When it comes to patient satisfaction today, access to care and communication are two of the main issues. If you establish an active presence on social media, you give the impression that your practice is available 24/7, and this can help to increase patient satisfaction. After all, a lot of businesses use social media as something of a customer service channel, answering questions and providing advice. You should never discuss patient-specific issues, of course, but you can answer general questions.
Another reason social media has become so important for medical practices is that it gives you the ability to market yourself in a merit-based manner. The days in which you could simply place an advert listing your qualifications in the newspaper are long gone. Nowadays, when people are looking for a certain service, they conduct web searches, look through online review websites, and head to social media for advice. This means that providing useful tips, articles, and information via social media is vital.
It is important here to recognise that everything is linked. Your efforts on social media will have a profound impact on your search engine optimisation efforts, too. After all, if you share useful information via social media, it helps to establish you as an authority in your field. It demonstrates your commitment and credibility to your patients. This will help you to get more website searches and website traffic too, and this helps you to become a force to be reckoned with online.
You can even use social media as a professional networking tool too. You can reach other professionals in the field with ease and you can make connections with others that can be mutually beneficial.
Choosing the Right Social Networks for Your Medical Practice
The first step when it comes to building a solid and effective social media strategy for your business is to determine what social media networks you are going to establish your business on. There are so many different social media networks available today, so establishing yourself on all of them is simply not possible. A lot of companies try to set-up accounts on as many social network websites as they can, but there is no need to do this. Instead, you should focus your efforts on a couple of social media websites only. This will enable you to build your presence effectively. You simply need to do a bit of research to find out where your target patient base is, and then you can establish yourself on these websites.
For healthcare providers, most tend to stick with Facebook and Twitter, as both have a considerable amount of medical engagement. Nevertheless, LinkedIn is also used for professional purposes. Instagram is becoming more and more involved in the medical field too, though, so that gives you food for thought as well. Choosing your networks will all depend on who you are trying to reach and what sort of messages you are trying to get across. For example, LinkedIn is an effective platform if you are looking to connect with colleagues. Instagram is ideal for connecting with patients only. Facebook is effective when you are looking to deploy ads that are targeted to a specific demographic of your patients. Twitter typically has benefits both in terms of a general audience and a professional one.
As mentioned, some research needs to be done to find out what social media networks your audience is using. We will give you a bit of insight into this to give you a helping hand. For example, let’s say your social media demographic is those with a degree. Every one in two college graduates has a LinkedIn account.
What about if you are searching for patients based on their income level? Facebook is the only platform whereby the lowest earning bracket has the highest reputation. Of those earning less than $30,000 per year, 84% are represented on Facebook. When it comes to the highest earners, Twitter and LinkedIn come out on top. For adults earning $75,000 or more per year, 30% are present on Twitter and 45% on LinkedIn. Income is more diversely spread on Instagram.
You then may want to search for patients based on their age. If you are trying to reach an older audience, for example, you won’t need Instagram or Twitter right now, as only 8% of those over the age of 65 use Instagram and only 10% use Twitter. Facebook would be a good place to get started, as 65% of this age bracket are present on this social media platform.
Hopefully, this has helped to give you an understanding of how you can determine what social media accounts are going to be most effective for you when building your strategy.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
One of the most difficult elements of social media marketing for medical practices is ensuring that the use of it is consistent. Results are not going to happen over-time, which is why you need to have a dedicated approach. This involves putting a strategy in place and it also involves consistently monitoring your results so that you can get better and better all of the time. Here are a few tips to help you when putting your social media strategy together…
- Make social media someone’s job – You need to identify the social media champion in your medical practice. Of course, another option is to hire someone externally. A lot of people opt for the latter approach because they simply do not have the time to spare from within their practice when it comes to online marketing. Either way, the importance of having one person manage your social media efforts cannot be underestimated. This will ensure you have a consistent voice, and therefore, a consistent brand. If you have a bunch of different people posting messages, it can quickly get confusing. You need to ensure you are giving off a high-quality impression, and this is the best way to do so.
- Stay actively engaged – One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when it comes to social media is not staying active. If you are going to build up an engaged following, you need to make sure you post on a regular basis and do so consistently. Posting ten times one day and none the next day won’t help. You need to post high-quality content on a consistent basis if you are to build an organic following. While purchasing followers may be tempting, don’t do it. This is being cracked down on and it won’t increase your conversions.
- Use social media management tools to manage your efforts – The last piece of the puzzle is to make sure you use one of the social media management tools that are available in order to manage your efforts. This will enable you to see how you are performing on the social media networks you are using. You can see the level of engagement with your different posts. You will get valuable data you can use to improve your social media marketing efforts. You will also be able to schedule posts for those times when you are out of practice and not able to get to the computer.
As you can see, social media is a critical marketing tool for medical practices today. However, in order to take advantage of this, you need to make sure you establish yourself on the right social media networks and put together a solid social media marketing strategy. Our team at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing would be more than happy to help you with this. Contact our office today to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!