How to Engage Your Patients Through Social Media
Is your social media falling flat? Don’t sweat it; many hours have gone into perfecting the use of this not-so-secret weapon. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram strategies are outlined in detail below. Once you understand how they all work and which will suit your practice best, learn how to handle them and other factors such as SEO, reviews, and more!
Facebook, Google+, & Twitter
What works: Images, videos, calls to action, industry-related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, poor business/related/share-worthy balance.
Videos and images are best used to catch the eye of social media readers, though video works a little better to hold the reader’s attention. Whether it’s redirecting patients to your website or getting them to stop and look at an interesting piece of content titled by your business, images and videos are your anchor.
The three best ways to get traction from your patients are to:
- Get them to go straight to your website or practice
- Get them to like/follow
- and/or get them to share your content
Let’s say three patients see your posts about you having a sale on your Botox services. These posts are not likely to be shared, so those same three people will see all your posts, and that’s it. Once patients start liking and sharing your posts, you’ll start to see new eyes on your page. This is where industry related/general share-worthy content comes in.
As a Direct Primary Care physician, get your patients excited to see and share the Botox pros video you created and you’ll have a better chance that someone who wants Botox will come across them. Having a good mix of these types of posts is extremely important.
Once you’ve gained the attention of your patients with a photo or video, a call to action is a great way to guide them to their next step.
“Do you have wrinkles on your forehead and wish they were gone? Contact us today and we will help eliminate them!”
As seen in this above example, a call to action can be used for almost every type of post. Tell your patients to check out your website for a business related post, or tell them to read the article or video you’re sharing. Though industry-related or share-worthy content may not lead your patients straight to your website, the posts are more likely to gain likes and shares.
Every time your post is shared, someone new has the chance to see you. That’s brand-recognition! When the time comes for that person to need a DPC physician, they’ll remember the interesting posts you shared and seek out the name they remember seeing or hearing about.
On the other hand, lengthy content, bland posts, and a poor balance of business/industry/shareable don’t work well on these media channels. Lengthy content is an especially bad choice for Twitter’s 140 character count limit. As for Facebook and Google+, people just don’t have the attention spans to read posts that are more than a couple of lines long. Keep them short and concise! Don’t post bland, filler content like, “Happy Friday!” unless people have a reason to share it. “Happy Friday, here’s a hilarious cat meme” can improve brand recognition, but only if shared- use humor to your advantage.
Find your balance between business and shareable content. Too much boring business related posts and call to actions can lead to a stagnant viewer count, while too many share-worthy posts may lead to your prospects not understanding how your DPC practice works.
What works: Images, videos, industry related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, and it may not suit your vertical.
Pinterest, like Instagram below, is all about the pictures. If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know that it’s a very visual sight to behold. The hook of Pinterest is that people are looking for ideas. A DPC physician can benefit from Pinterest because you may share how you helped a patient lose weight for an affordable monthly price with your practice’s name attached- don’t forget about brand recognition. Once people get the ideas from you, they’ll come into your practice to request the services you featured, and ultimately become a member of your practice.
What works: Images, projects.
What doesn’t work: Mostly everything else.
Instagram is a strange beast. The entire point of this medium is to compel readers to follow you and talk about what you offer. This works great for verticals like DPC practices. In this vertical, you can post images of services, staff, the practice, and progress photos of your patients (with their approval of course). Seeing these images and sharing them can work well to compel potential patients to seek you out.
Instagram posts can’t include links, so just like Pinterest, the aim here is brand recognition. Can you consistently post interesting enough images for your readers to stay interested? Yes, you can.
Now that we’ve covered the main social media channels, let’s discuss other ways they can be used. Facebook, Google+, and other media channels support reviews. Aside from the engagement from posts, reviews can make or break a practice. You may be thinking “I can’t control what people rate my practice”, and you’d be right. However, you can control how you respond to patients. You can turn around even the angriest rater by replying to their review in a quick and professional manner. See our other articles to learn about the importance of reviews!
Forbes discusses social listening as finding where your audience is discussing topics related to your brand. People are talking about cars somewhere, and these are great topics for your dealership. The short and sweet of this is that you need to be researching your competitors and your peers. What are people talking about, liking, and sharing, and how can you get in on it? You’ll want to shape your social media strategies around what’s getting the best traction everywhere else. Get researching!
This likely isn’t the first time you’ve read about the importance of SEO, and it definitely won’t be your last. When you search your practice’s name or keywords related to your work, how high on the results page does it appear? The more you and your patients are mentioning your name and other keywords in relation to your practice, the better your SEO results will be.
Finally, take a step back and look at what you’re doing. Naturally, you’ll want to look for what’s working and what isn’t. Whether you’re counting likes and shares by hand or using Google Analytics to track the information for you, understanding your trends may just be the most important part of the process, so what are you waiting for?
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