Growing Your Practice on Social Media
In the United States, approximately 80% of adults are active on social media. Given this information, it is likely that a good percentage of your patient population and target audience can be found on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Social media is a necessity for private businesses, and healthcare providers are faced with the question of how to use social media to grow their practice.
Reaching your patient base on social media may not be as easy as it sounds. In fact, growing a social following is one of the most common challenges businesses face. Having the proper strategies in place can help create consistency and social marketing goals for each quarter in 2021. These goals should be easy to measure and track, but most importantly, set the stage for attainable growth.
Social Media Strategies for Growing Your Medical Practice
If you struggle with growing your social media presence, here are some tips to increase your reach:
- Optimize Your Profiles. Having completed profiles with a recognizable username makes it easier for patients to find you. Using your practice name is ideal, or the physician name, if they are the only physician at the practice. Write a biography or “about” section that shares information vital to your practice – specialty, location, and any unique, defining features work best. Be sure to include your practice’s website. A thorough introduction acts as an introduction for new patients and ensures existing patients that the account is yours and legitimate.
- Choose Your Platforms Wisely. Growing your account will only be effective if you are present where your target audience is most active. With so many platforms available, it is easy to be overwhelmed with content creation and posting schedules. Looking into the demographics of your existing patients will give you a better idea of where you can find new patients. For example, 69% of social media users are on Facebook, whereas only 37% of users are on Instagram. 68% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 are on Facebook, but only 23% are on Instagram. (Pew Research Center) Looking at the age range of your patient base can give you a better idea on where to focus the most effort. Dedicating time to create content on a platform where your target audience is not spending time will not prove effective.
- Bring Value. Posting for the sake of posting will not grow your practice. Creating posts that are educational, valuable, and relevant to your audience is a much better tactic to reaching new patients. This will establish yourself as a leader in your field and act as a resource for those needing information. One of the best ways to grow is to give new and existing patients a reason to follow you through trustworthy and reputable content. It can be as simple as sharing relevant information about the COVID-19 pandemic, reminding patients of essential vaccinations, or through educational blog posts about treatments you offer and conditions you treat. It is important to remember that the tone of voice in your content is crucial for social media, as well as avoiding jargon and keeping your posts concise.
5 Challenges Healthcare Providers Face on Social Media
Every business faces challenges on social media, especially if you are in healthcare. Some are particularly specific to the medical industry, while others are challenges any business owner struggles with.
- Finding the Time. Building a social media presence takes time. Finding the time to post relevant, valuable content and to engage with like-minded posts and profiles isn’t always easy, especially if you are managing a practice and seeing patients all day. Social media management is crucial to an effective strategy. Patients won’t be as engaged if you post at random times and only occasionally respond to comments or questions. For physicians, delegating these tasks to a staff member or social media partner is a good way to make sure they don’t fall off your radar.
- Sharing Testimonials Without Violating HIPAA. An excellent strategy for social media is to share patient testimonials from satisfied patients. It’s a great way to share your expertise in your field; but it is important to not disclose any personal information about the patients. This includes using their name, location, images, or anything that could be used to identify the patient. If sharing testimonials is a part of your social media strategy, be sure to have a legal patient marketing consent form. This gives the patient the right to sign off on whether the doctor can use their testimony for marketing purposes. Oftentimes, when a patient is very pleased with their treatments, they are willing to provide a testimonial and even an image. Always double- and triple-check for potential privacy violations before posting.
- Having Patients Share YourContent. Posting content and sharing information isn’t enough, unfortunately. The best way to grow is for your existing followers and audience to share the content you are posting to their network. The more it is shared, the broader your reach. Quality, relevant, and shareable content is more compelling for your patients to share than perhaps general updates and information that is not timely. Graphics and visuals do best for this form of content. In general, people only retain 20% of what they read, however, they retain 37% of what they see. Humans are very visual, so attention-grabbing images, charts, and graphs make for high-quality, sharable content.
Physicians and practice administrators are busy running their practices and giving their patients quality care. It can be beneficial to outsource your social media marketing and work with professionals who understand how growth is possible and can manage physician’s online profiles. The team at Valet Health is experienced in creating growth strategies, excels in building ad campaigns, and takes the time to monitor and manage comments, questions, and reviews that come in through your social media profiles.