The best ways to use social media for marketing your medical practice
Looking to promote your medical practice through social media, but don't know where to begin? Columnist Will Scott has some handy advice for marketers just starting out.
With nearly 2 billion active monthly users, it’s safe to say that Facebook should be a part of your business and marketing strategy. If you’re in the medical industry, it’s even more of a necessity.
By using Facebook to interact with patients, physicians can highlight procedures and products — and, most importantly, they can build trust with their current and potential patients. While likes and reactions are great, the goal is to create posts that engage and inform. That way, you can more easily spread your brand, authority, and expertise to patients that are trying to find it.
Getting your posts shared is easier said than done, right? To help break down just how to craft updates that will keep your patients engaged, here are some helpful practices to integrate into your social media business plan.
Develop a consistent voice
The first step in planning your social media strategy is to make sure you stay consistent with your voice. Having a list of prepared responses ready for commonly asked questions will help your team engage with users to build your brand. This is especially important when dealing with sensitive topics in the medical industry like procedure specifics, insurance, or recovery questions.
Connect with your audience on their time
According to data from Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Facebook users check in and use the platform every day, and 55 percent visit several times per day. With this in mind, you definitely don’t want to go days without updating your practice’s page. You should also be strategic about when you’re posting in order to get the biggest reach. Use scheduling tools (available on most platforms) to post throughout the week at different times of the day, and track which time slots get the most engagement.
Keep posts short and watch the jargon
According to HubSpot, the ideal length of a Facebook post is around 40 characters. Have a sophisticated new procedure that you’re proud of? Go ahead and post about it — just keep it simple and write for your audience. That means steering clear of medical jargon. Colleagues may appreciate an update that has standard medical abbreviations common to your practice, but this could potentially turn off future patients.
Vary your tone now and then
Although the bulk of your posts should focus on how you can help solve customers’ problems, don’t make every post promotional. Your patients don’t need to read about every service or product that you offer; they just want to know that you’re listening to them. Have fun with some of your posts. Discuss topical health issues and connect to the local community. Use Facebook Live to show off your team in action. Just remember to mix it up, giving your patients both fun and educational content to explore.
Always be present
By being present in your social media campaign and responding to patient inquiries, your current and potential patients will trust you as someone who genuinely cares about them. According to a survey conducted by Convince and Convert, 42 percent of users expect a response within an hour on social media. To keep everyone on the same page, set an internal response time goal, and hold team members accountable for maintaining that time.
Highlight community service
Promoting your work in the community is a great way to humanize your online presence. Have a flu shot drive coming up? Are your employees participating in a fundraising campaign? Create an event page to drive users to take action offline, link to informative articles about the campaign, and post images and videos that highlight your team’s participation in the event. It will further align your practice as a contributor to your local community.
Use Facebook promotions and ads
It may seem like Facebook ads are unnecessary — why pay when you can post for free? However, by using Facebook’s Ads Manager and the Audience Insights tool, you can target the users you specifically want to reach, from age to income level. Whether your focus is on brand awareness, lead generation, or website traffic, Facebook promotions and ads can help you reach your target demographic, allowing you to engage with more qualified leads.
Furthermore, the organic reach of Facebook posts has gone down markedly over the last few years.
Analyze your results
Set smart, achievable goals, and make a point to analyze them every month. How do users interact with your posts? What types of posts get the most reactions and comments? Measure key metrics like engagement and reach to determine what works, and throw out what doesn’t.